I have been following Virginia politics for a few decades now and this week is without a doubt the most bizarre week I have ever seen. All three elected statewide officials are in trouble, and I mean they may have to resign trouble. All are members of the Democrat party.
And who is to blame for their current predicament? I for one blame/credit Republican Delegate Todd Gilbert. A Republican from Shenandoah County.
It started last week, the last week of January. Democrat Delegate Kathy Tran sponsored a bill, HB 2491, which would remove virtually all restrictions on third trimester abortions. Planned Parenthood’s dream bill. Gee, I wonder if Planned Parenthood ever gave her money? If they haven’t they probably will now.
In a subcommittee Delegate Todd Gilbert asked her if this Bill would allow abortions seconds before delivery. Tran hemmed and hawed, and mumbled something about a valuable witness not being able to testify. But Gilbert persisted with his questions, and Tran admitted that yes, the baby could be killed right before delivery.
Well, not to be outdone, Governor Northam on Wednesday was asked about it on his radio show. Northam suggested that the bill was rather mild. And criticism of the bill was “blown out of proportion.”
Northam went one step further than Tran. He said that the baby could be aborted/killed after being born! One concession he did grant was that the baby should be made ‘comfortable’ as the adults in the room decide the fate. Thumbs up the baby is resuscitated, thumbs down it is death.
Well, rumor has it that one of Northam’s classmates from medical school was so outraged by Northam’s support for infanticide that he or she leaked to the press the school’s yearbook. In it, on Northam’s page, is a racist photo of a man in a Klan hood and a man in blackface. Gee, I wonder how it got there.
By the end of the week Northam seemed to admit that yes he was in the photo. He wouldn’t say whether he was the guy in blackface or the guy with the Klan hood on.
On Saturday Northam changed positions. He announced that after looking at the picture again, and discussing it with family and friends, and maybe some lawyers and political consultants, concluded that he was not in the photo.
However, he did acknowledge that he did once, while impersonating Michael Jackson, put shoe polish on his face. An act that is considered racially offensive. He added that he learned not to put too much shoe polish on your face because it is nearly impossible to get off.
That brings us to Justin Fairfax. He is the Lt. Governor of Virginia. Like Northam a Democrat, a rising star and someone that most Democrats would rather have as Governor. Fairfax, an African-American may even be politically to the left of Northam. So, Democrats called on Northam to resign. Makes good political sense. Get rid of the politically toxic Northam and get the rising star Fairfax.
No way said Northam. I don’t think you need to be a conspiracy theorist to believe that Northam dug up dirt on Fairfax. And guess what? A day later a story surfaced that Fairfax had attacked a woman in 2004. Fairfax denies the story.
That brings us to the third in line for the Governor’s mansion, Democrat Attorney General Mark Herring. Herring called for Northam to step down. Herring denounced Northam for appearing in a racist photo.
By the middle of this week Herring admitted that like Northam he also engaged in a racist act. He too went in blackface to imitate a rap artist.
No doubt Northam’s allies spread the dirt on Herring. Maybe they even have pictures. I wonder if Northam had these pictures in the safe just in case they would be needed one day.
So, you see it all comes down to a series of questions posed by Todd Gilbert.
(Author David Shephard is currently running for the House of Delegates in the 13th district)