McKenzie's recent jab at me is best seen as a
back-handed maneuver to distance himself, and the Times-Dispatch,
from Bob McDonnell and the far right wing of the
don't throw me in that briar patch!"
Bre’r Rabbit, in the Uncle Remus stories
of Joel Chandler Harris, 1881
a Richmond Times-Dispatch editorial, entitled
"Then and Now", of
September 12, 2003
and learn a lesson in What You See Is Not What You
a rough race for an open-seat special election in
late 1996, Barnie Day, a political junkie and later
a Delegate from
, lashed out at the defeated Republican.
“Sooner or later,” said he, “the state
Republican Party is going to understand that attack,
junkyard dog politics isn’t going to sell in
. I don’t
know how many lessons it’s going to take.”
other day Day gave a red-meat speech to a group of
hardened Democrats. Partisan
it most definitely was.
And — maybe — mean.
Bob McDonnell. Bless
his heart. Bob
McDonnell, running for Attorney General, the man who
sits in judgment of our judges, the man who cannot
remember if he himself has ever engaged in sodomy.
Think about it.
He can’t remember.
He can’t recall.
Think about that for one minute.'
doesn’t take too long to think that’s “attack,
his heart. Once
upon a time Day gave his political enemies
finger-wagging advice — apparently finger-wagging
nearly seven years later he himself fails to heed.
initial reaction to Ross Mackenzie’s piece and his
comments about the "mean", "red
meat", "partisan" address I made a
few weeks ago to the Central Committee of the
Democratic Party of Virginia was as follows:
you must know
— as surely you do — that attorney general
hopeful Bob McDonnell chairs the House Courts of
Justice Committee and routinely grills judicial
candidates on their private behaviors.
(Read your own clip file on Verbena Askew.)
must know, too — as surely you do — that he said
he couldn’t "recall" if he himself had
ever engaged in sodomy.
this be mere hypocrisy or quantum amnesia doesn’t
isn’t "attack" or "junkyard"
politics to point out a simple truth.
If you weren’t such an ideological
knuckle-dragger you could see the difference.
was my initial response.
But then I think:
No, Ross Mackenzie is way, way too clever for
is something fishy going on here.
would he so blatantly repeat a charge against
McDonnell, and give it wider currency, if he
didn’t want it repeated, if he didn’t want it to
have wider currency? Why
would he do that?
were many better ‘attack’ examples in the speech
than the observation on McDonnell.
After all, it was pretty much a slash-and-burn
partisan as I knew how to make it.
(I was addressing the Central Committee of
the Democratic Party, for crying out loud, what else
would it be?) But
the crack about McDonnell was a throw-away line.
Nothing to get your panties in a twist about.
I think to myself: What’s
going on here?
then it came to me: Steve
Baril. As in,
Steve Baril, The Other Republican Candidate For
some time I have thought that maybe my imagination
was at work, but now it is clear: An ever-so-subtle,
but real — and in the context of things,
significant — editorial shift is underway at the Times
what’s afoot here. Mackenzie
and Company want the shots taken at McDonnell.
They just don’t want to take them
dear readers, take a deep breath.
As hard to believe as it is, what follows is
Times Dispatch is — finally — putting a
half-step distance between itself and the right wing
of the Republican Party of Virginia.
have been other indicators.
You have to read closely.
But the trace evidence is there.
It shows in the columns.
It shows in the house editorials.
Not there yet -- still willing to hide
discomfort with McDonnell and his ilk behind a
speech I gave to hardcore Democrats — but the
shift is unmistakable.
brings me back to Steve Baril.
He’s raising a lot of money.
A lot of the legal heavyweights around town
— and around Virginia — like him.
A lot of them.
And, apparently, so does the editorial staff
of the Times Dispatch, there being no other
explanation for the ‘Then and Now’ editorial.
that’s okay. But
why not be a big boy about it and say so?
game is up, Ross.
hey, don’t you feel better?
You can come out of the closet now.
You don’t need to use some bear-baiting
speech I made. You
want to derail McDonnell, and you’re not by
be afraid. You’re
going to have a lot of help.
Come on out. It’s
September 25, 2003