Lefties Confront Stewart. Stewart Wins.

Corey Stewart struggles to be heard.

Corey Stewart struggles to be heard. Photo credit: Washington Post.

Corey Stewart is one of those politicians that you either love or love to hate. He’s a conservative populist who built a state-wide reputation on his pugnacious, in-your-face opposition to illegal immigration. And as the prominent Virginia politician to align himself mostly closely with Donald Trump, he is surely loathed by many.

Whatever you might think about Stewart, though, he’s entitled to speak his views like anyone else.

It’s one thing to denounce him as a bigot and a white supremacist — his enemies are entitled to free speech, too — but quite another to disrupt his campaign appearances. Lefties may think they’re accomplishing something by shutting him down, but it’s probably not what they think — they’re engendering sympathy for a not-very-sympathetic guy.

Stewart visited the Peoples Republic of Charlottesville a couple of days ago to defend the statue of Robert E. Lee, which City Council had previously voted to remove. On social media, he had urged people to “defend Virginia’s heritage,” and likened those who wanted to remove the statue to tyrants and Nazis, according to the Washington Post.

His appearance was met by protesters who drowned out his interviews and conversations with shouts of, “White supremacy has got to go!” Hoisting signs saying, “Ban Bigots,” and “No tolerance for white supremacy,” protesters yelled at him to go back to Prince William County. As he left, they shouted, “Whose town? Our town!”

If anyone has that kind of treatment coming, it’s Stewart: His rhetoric toward illegal immigrants has been harsh and uncompromising. And if Charlottesville lefties want to vent online or hold their own demonstrations, I’m fine with that. But I have to say, Stewart handled the disruption with class.

“Stewart took it in stride, frequently grinning and trying to chat up his detractors,” the Post writes.

Stewart welcomed the protests and the attention they would bring, believing  they would buttress his pitch as a conservative standing up to an intolerant left and “political correctness.”

I’m calling them out for who they are,” Stewart said. “It’s really a symptom of the left and their unwillingness to listen to alternative points of view.”

Score one for Stewart.

Lefties in Charlottesville and elsewhere make much of their desire for “inclusiveness.” But their version of “inclusiveness” and “tolerance” includes only those groups friendly to their point of view. A truly inclusive viewpoint would say, “Sure, we’ll keep the Robert E. Lee statue because many people still revere him as a hero. We’ll build statues for our own heroes and heroines. Our community can tolerate them all because we embrace the diversity of cultures, sub-cultures and viewpoints.”

But that’s not the Left’s approach. They want to expunge the heroes of their ideological enemies. They want to exclude other points of view from the public realm. Their viewpoint is relentlessly negative. Erecting a statue of a politically correct hero would be a positive action. But if anyone has proposed doing so, the effort hasn’t gained enough steam to be noticed. The Left’s advocacy of diversity applies to race and ethnicity only. It is a pinched and intolerant view that excludes anyone who thinks differently, including dissenting views of blacks, gays and other minorities.

I part ways with Stewart because I think there are ways to justify restrictions on illegal immigration without demonizing millions of people who came to this country not to create mayhem but to better their lives. It is possible to both sympathize with the aspirations of those who want to live here even while saying firmly, sorry, this is a nation of laws, and if you want to live here, you cannot enter and stay in this country illegally. We can deal with the issue in a humane way.

Corey Stewart is not the guy I want to be making the stand against political correctness in Virginia. But he’s the one doing it, and the Left is making him look good by comparison.

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18 responses to “Lefties Confront Stewart. Stewart Wins.

  1. Protesters aside, surely, a town can, through the democratic process, decide for itself if they want to remove a statue. Perhaps, Corey can pay for the cost to remove and relocate it to Prince William.

  2. He is certainly better than the hiding reps I have. At least I know where he stands and whether or not I disagree with it or not.

  3. Stewart is an interesting character. White nativist and also anti-Dominion on Possum Point and coal ash pits.

    Not sure I would go so far with Trumpism. The campaign fired him as its Virginia coordinator and Stewart has said he was Trump before Trump. So he’s Trump before Trump and then gets fired by Trump. I can’t explain this. Can you?

    Other than this, the post here is the same other blather about “lefties” being “too vocal” and not “civil.”

    What’s amazing about Trump is how he has reformed and reenergized the Left. A few weeks ago, I was on a train to New York with a number of women from 60 to 90. They had marched against Trump in DC. I spoke with one 82 year-old woman who had been at the early civil rights marches.

    Now, I know that’s something James. A. Bacon wouldn’t understand, but the protests of that era brought about very needed change in race relations, women’s rights and ending a pointless war. So what if they are loud. Are they supposed to be civil, little preppies in Khaki pants or skirts and Gant shirts, saying “Excuse me, Sir, but please hear my humble argument? Thank you, more knowledgable and senior White Man.”
    Was that the way UVA used to be before it went coed? Glad it’s not that way now. My experience in high school in the DC area and in college in Boston was somewhat different.

    • There’s a huge difference between being “loud” and shutting someone else down. But that’s probably a distinction worth noting only if we’re talking about a Trumpista shutting down a liberal Democrat.

    • “So what if they are loud.” And who shouted loudest in the coalfields of Virginia? The protests over conditions at the mines? Or the protests over anti-coal regulations at Hillary rallies? The bottom line is, Trump won the popular vote across the Rust Belt — does that fact shout down or silence the opposition to gutting the CPP and OSHA? No, and that’s the difference, as Jim says.

      “Was that the way UVA used to be before it went coed?” No, I was a student “marshall” at Carrs Hill the night William Kunstler incited a mob to get ugly on the steps of Mr. Shannon’s home, then led the mob off to trash the UVa ROTC offices. We defended freedom of speech at UVa that night yet wondered if we had done the right thing.

      “Stewart is an interesting character. White nativist and also anti-Dominion on Possum Point and coal ash pits.” Is that “interesting” only because it defies the expectation that any white nativist must be a Dominion Energy shill? Or vice versa? What exactly is your point, PG?

      • Acbar, it’s hard to imagine you as a student protester, but I guess times do change.

        A small point on the “Dominion shill” point. I don’t think Peter was accusing Stewart of being a Dominion shill. He was contrasting Stewart’s anti-Dominion stance on coal ash with his otherwise conservative positions.

        Implicit in Peter’s statement, of course, is the idea that white nativists and pro-business conservatives are in the same ideological camp. They are not. I think Trump’s election proved that decisively. Big business likes importing foreign labor, and it tends to be open borders.

  4. “lefties”? , “people’s Republic”? “tolerance”?

    Pot. Kettle Black!

    I have zero sympathy for the “rights” of Nazi sympathizers, skinheads, KKK, racists, xenophobes, and any/all who harbor similar views. If people want to shout them down – so be it.

    the other thing I’d mention – the extremes on BOTH sides have their issues -and when folks point fingers at one as an “example” of an entire class of people – that’s not exactly tolerant nor true.

  5. From the stories I read about Stewart’s visit to C’ville, I think Jim is right; he handled it with aplomb.

    See, us lefties 😉 can give credit where credit is due!!

    But protesters aren’t supposed to disrupt campaign events? Sez who? I’ve never been an “activitist” because it’s not my style + I consider(ed) it a waste of time. But a local government decides to take down a symbol they feel doesn’t represent their (baby step) efforts towards making all feel welcome, they have that right, right?

    Just like Corey can visibly and vocally reach out to his base, and make crystal clear to anyone who hasn’t yet realized, who Corey’s base is.

    Re coal ash – Corey did do a pretty good job representing his constituents, but I followed it carefully and came to think a lot of it was about embarrassing McAuliffe.

    • The best response to free speech is more free speech. And in terms of outdoors events, unless its near a hospital or old folks home or after normal bedtime hours, yelling back at a speaker seems protected. Although, what would have happened had protestors tried to drown out President Hillary Clinton’s inaugural address? 😉

      As to disrupting an indoor event, I think the sponsors can fairly have the antagonists removed.

      Is there is a difference between legal visitors and immigrants and those who have overstayed their visas or unlawfully crossed over the border into the United States? I know the distinction is not grasped by all.

  6. Corey Stewart is an embarrassment to northern Virginia. And he thinks these sorts of antics are going to win him election as Governor? Of course there’s some support out there in RoVa for a “white nativist.”

    PG has an interesting thought, comparing those who shouted Stewart down in Charlottesville to civil rights marchers in the 60s. Both felt they had no legitimate way to protest with civility. But the raison-d’etre of the civil rights protests was to demonstrate the breakdown/absence of law and order at the State and local level in the South to the rest of the nation and to the federal government. There was no such breakdown, no such absence, in Charlottesville. I suppose we should all take heart that “What’s amazing about Trump is how he has reformed and reenergized the Left” to do such things as shout down so vile a political creature as Stewart — but that does not justify denying his freedom to make a fool of himself. I hope they save their energies for the vigorous defense of free speech the left will need to deliver if the White House continues to Trumpet “alternative facts” and disparage anyone who dares disagree on the Sunday talk shows.

    At least, in the process of all this, Corey Stewart is doing a good job, as kvd2 notes, of “mak[ing] crystal clear to anyone who hasn’t yet realized, who Corey’s base is.”

  7. Dear Jim,

    I think Corey Stewart could be our next Governor. He has good instincts.

    Sincerely,

    Andrew

  8. A couple of clarifications:

    A.) The Charlottesville Blue Ribbon Commission presented the City Council with two options regarding the Lee Statue: the statue could either be moved to McIntire Park or the statue could remain in Lee Park and be recontextualized. The City Council voted to remove the statue from Lee Park. They will discuss moving the statue when staff brings back recommendations. Far from “erasing history”, the idea of the Commission (and probably the Council) is that Lee Park is the premier central green space in the City of Charlottesville where many events are held. Rather than have the statue in a prime public area where one would expect people of all ethnicities and races to gather, why not move it to a less prominent place in the city? I don’t think it’s unreasonable to move the statue. Why is that so objectionable?

    B.) Did Stewart have a permit to hold a rally in the park? I’ve not seen any evidence that he did. If not, then he’s no different than you or I expressing an opinion in a public park. I can understand showing some deference if this was an official rally in which the speaker obtained a permit to use the space. I don’t see any real issue with either his or his opponents’ behaviors if it’s just him showing up in a public park.

  9. Missing in this discussion of moving the Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville is the process. There were two options, one – which I, who consider myself rabidly middle of the road, thought was best – was to “transform in place,” or put up more complete signage and perhaps other monuments in the same park as the Robert E. Lee statue to illustrate there were at least two visions of the history behind it. That garnered two votes and “remove” (Can we say “Leexit?”) garnered two votes on the five-member council. The fifth member utilized the leverage of abstaining to get his budget priorities boosted and apparently the Leexit forces were more willing to bargain.

    Here is the bigger picture of the statues:

    These attacks by GOP governor hopefuls are a predictable response. They are playing to the Alt-Right by attacking — specifically — someone in the center of the Lee Statue issue. Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer voted NOT to move the statues and instead do a better job interpreting them (which I submit was the best option). But when the Alt-Right (or the Alt-Left) listens to fake news; when it wants it all to be simple while the world is actually very complex; when it shouts down any honest discussion, it ends up hurting the “little guy” it claims to care about.

    See, for example, that Donald Trump is working to remove constraints on Wall Street which of course gave us the last recession which hurt — not Wall Street — but Main Street, especially the small towns where so many Trump supporters live. After Trump is done dismantling controls, we’ll likely get another recession because job loss has NOT been caused by immigration, it’s been primarily caused by Wall Street demanding automation…and now there will be fewer constraints on Wall Street.

    See, for example, the history of racial gerrymandering to ensure a Black is elected under the Voting Rights Act., like Bobby Scott’s Richmond-to-Norfolk district. As Sandra Day O’Conner and — guess who! — Ronald Reagan told us clearly, it’s led to a jamming of all usually Democratic-party-voting Blacks into the same district which just about ensured that all surrounding districts went Republican. Over time, that gets magnified as politicians “see” their personal benefit, and today we have gerrymandering so absurd that neither party can move to the middle and actually do anything except create gridlock. The left is scared of a primary attack from the further left and the right is scared of a primary attack from the further right. See David Bratt just right next door in Virginia’s 7th District for example. Who gets hurt? Both poor Whites and poor Blacks.

    See, for example, the Jim Crow period in American history. Those laws — presented by the Democrats of 100 years ago, including the politicians who participated in these statues erections — were aimed NOT at Blacks, but at Whites. Those laws, by the moneyed power structure of the time, kept Whites supporting the moneyed power structure of the time by giving poor Whites someone to look down on, Blacks. As long as the South was building separate but (allegedly) equal ANYTHING, the poor, both Black and White, were being hurt because it always costs more money to build two whatevers than it cost to build one. Yet, since we, as humans, all want to be “superior” in some way, shape or form and those old Democratic politicians gave it to Whites– as the Republicans are now with, for example, their absurd travel ban which is actually making Americans less safe because it’s an ISIS/Al Queda recruiting tool.

    See, for example, the actual Civil War. According to the 1850 census, 93 percent of White southerners did NOT own a single slave. Almost 400,000 of those poor boys died to “defend” something they didn’t have and were very unlikely to ever obtain because the people voting for secession were the rich, moneyed class — which we would call Wall Street today.

    Which brings us back to poor Whites supporting someone who had never once cared about the little guy (and indeed conned them successfully in Trump University and Trump Network) and whose actions since obtaining office have been to stomp on the little guy while even more enriching himself and his already-millionaire friends. Just please, look at his conflicts of interest, including his Russian holdings while failing to release his taxes; please look at he and his staff’s pitching his daughter’s clothing line; but primarily look at his Goldman Sachs cabinet which even includes the “Foreclosure King,” so named because of the billions he made slamming the front doors of poor, especially elderly, homes — Black and White.

    What we learn from history is that we fail to learn from history. Sad but — again — true.

    • Extremely interesting and thought provoking comments. One question: What, if any, difference is there between Trump and the Clintons? Both seem quite interested in their own betterment. From a Gary Johnson supporter for what that was worth!

  10. As a person who has voted several times for the Libertarian, I can sympathize. This year the huge number of Trump lies and massive negatives (like “great” businessman who went bankrupt six times; like 20 years ago the Deputy Mayor of NYC saying, “I wouldn’t believe Donald Trump if his tongue was notarized;” like the Trump University scam; like…) caused me to vote Dem. Hillary and Bill, I’d argue, feathered their nest but they didn’t NOT pay taxes for 18 years on something that should be illegal and might actually be. I keep expecting Trump to be indicted for something, not the least of which is treason.

  11. As a Sarvis supporter back in the day, I too would self-identify as rabidly middle of the road. Which leaves one unrepresented by either mainstream national or State party these days. Thank you, Salz, for the catalog of panderings at the expense of the little guy. Your characterization of Jim Crow is particularly apt given current events.

  12. The commentary is interesting. I typically think a vote for 3rd party is a vote to not choose who will eventually govern and some responsibility for who eventually wins. It’s about WHO WE DO ELECT – not who we choose to not elect.

    I understand it but it basically can result in the worst of the the two evils that will end up being in charge and I can’t believe those who voted 3rd party can be happy with what we have right now.

    As soon as I say that, I will fully admit that the two political parties have a stranglehold on who will run and get elected and the two parties – are infested with hacks and lobbyists protecting and promoting their interests not what really helps citizens and of course now, more than ever, Govt is considered the enemy – something to neuter.

    If we ever did get a 3rd party leader – they would probably function more like a Prime Minister with the real power vested in the legislature and their influence limited to what they would sign or not and/or be overridden.

    I cannot envision this country continuing as a strong leader of the world under than scenario… just one of the gaggle… of others.. unable to agree
    on the risks of leading the world.

    If pushed hard – I’d still choose that over some guy (or gal) with grandiose tendencies who would try to use the power of the Presidency in wholly inappropriate authoritarian ways.

    We’re getting a lesson in just how fragile our Democracy really is.

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