Charles Pierce, ever perceptive, has nailed the essence of what’s going on in Virginia. In regard to the Northam situation, he says:
1) That the “revelation” of the yearbook photo is question has been a very successful ratfck by conservative oppo creeps who held onto it until the hue and cry over Northam’s comments on a defeated abortion bill had been twisted far beyond what he actually said, and thereby weaponized fully.
2) That the national Democratic Party, and national Democratic politicians, have learned nothing from the ACORN and Shirley Sherrod debacles and can be spooked into condemning one of their own with surpassing ease.
3) That the ratfck over Virginia Democratic politics is by no means over and the national Democratic Party better D up quickly against this kind of thing, because the only thing asymmetric in this particular asymmetric conflict is the way the Democrats still fight it.
The Democrats have been at the receiving end of attacks like this for decades, and it’s time we woke up to this fact. Today Pierce notes the troubles that all 3 of Virginia’s executive branch officers face:
However, the truth is, someone is going to have to make a tough call here. If all three of these guys resign, the governorship goes to the Republican speaker of the Virginia House, and this whole thing would smack of having been a slow-motion coup d’etat served up by conservative ratfckers who struck gold [my emphasis]—and, it must be said, abetted by a lot of national Democrats, including most of the prospective presidential field, who had no dog in this fight at all. (Why did Tony Evers, the new Democratic governor of Wisconsin, feel obligated to weigh in?) One of these three guys is going to have to stay in his job and stand the gaff for having done so.
A case could be made for Northam stepping down. If the charges against Justin Fairfax are borne out, he should leave as well. But if we hand over Virginia’s executive offices to the Trump Republicans over the fact that Mark Herring—at the age of 19— did a stupid, teenage kid thing, 39 years ago—does anyone think the damage that would follow would be worth it? Herring has gotten out in front of this, has confessed all, and has asked for forgiveness. So before everyone starts clamoring for Mark Herring’s head for his actions 39 years ago: are you ready to take responsibility for what happens to the people of Virginia if this right-wing ratf*ck succeeds? Are you ready to have Donald Trump crowing about how under his magnificent leadership Virginia has once again moved into the Republican column? Are you ready for the damage a Republican governor and his Trump fanatic state legislature will do to health care, voting rights, and environmental concerns?
For once in our lives can we play a situation like this in such a way that Republican ratf*ckers don’t win?