OK, so we’ve gone through a period of stupid feigned outrage over a Republican party official’s innocent “twaddle” mistake. Where’s the outrage when a rival campaign actually has no compunction about directly calling a female candidate for Congress, and sitting Virginia Delegate, a “Raging Bitch”?
We haven’t given Twaddlegate(tm) any coverage here, because it is truly a tempest-in-a-teapot manufactured into a scandal. RPV Treasurer Bob FitSimmonds yesterday on a Facebook post took exception to “sexist twat” being bandied about concerning why Republicans should support Barbara Comstock because she’s a woman. Yes, you read that correctly. He referred to the line of argument as “sexist twat,” not Barbara Comstock, and not any other woman. (In his apology, FitzSimmonds admits to having searched his mind for the word “twaddle,” a word for silly argumentation, before inexplicably landing on “twat”). You see, “sexist twaddle” is what FitzSimmonds thought of an argument about why we should vote for candidates on the basis of their gender. DESPITE WHAT YOU MAY HAVE HEARD TO THE CONTRARY, HE AT NO TIME CALLED BARBARA COMSTOCK, OR ANY OTHER WOMAN, THE “T-WORD.”
Nonetheless, Republican opponents of FitzSimmonds (he’s a Cuccinelli guy, and a strong backer of conventions over primaries) smelled blood in the water and saw an opportunity to at least embarrass FitzSimmonds. We cannot prove it, but I can imagine, given the individuals who had immediate first-hand knowledge, that calls were soon placed to the offices of the consulting firm formerly known as Marcus & Allen (of Boyd Marcus fame) and to certain well-known opponents of the so-called “Cuccinelli crowd” on the RPV State Central Committee. Thus, taken together with the breathless outrage of a few well-timed bloggers, a “scandal” was born, with successive waves of GOP heavies today making themselves look foolish for competing to come up with the best denunciation of the twat/twaddle mixup.
If Bob FtzSimmonds had actually called a woman the t-word, I might have agreed with the gnashing of teeth seen all over the internet and in the halls of the House of Delegates. But he didn’t. He was attacking a line of argument, but fell short in the dictionary department. Anyone who has taken the time to get the entire context of the remark is being intellectually dishonest if they say otherwise. The real problem with this, though, is not just the dishonesty, but that when FitzSimmonds’ opponents started lobbing molotov cocktails, he wasn’t the only one to get burned. We all pay the price for this nonsense.
Contrast that with the campaign of Rob Wasinger, the newly-filed candidate for the 10th district seat to succeed Frank Wolf. This morning, a person who has been Wasinger’s press secretary called a female commenter on The Bull Elephant a “Raging Bitch.” Later, when called out on it, this individual (who goes by various names apparently, but in this instance “Scott Weinberg”) had this to say about Barbara Comstock, widely regarded as the frontrunner for the 10th district race:
Later, called out again over that comment, Weinberg doubles down:
I admit it. I did use the word raging bitch to describe one of the candidates for Virginia 10. And I now wish to apologize to all raging bitches, globally (domestically and abroad); I did not mean to insult them by comparing them to Barbara Comstock
As it turns out, Weinberg was Wasinger’s press secretary when Wasinger announced his candidacy, but as of today claims he no longer is press secretary, though he appears to have an ongoing role with the campaign. What does the candidate, Wasinger, think about how Weinberg has been representing him online since his campaign’s launch? Well, when approached about it by a senior GOP official, Wasinger dismissed it–apparently because he thinks nobody reads blogs in Virginia:
Well, without even touching on your mistaken impression of the reach of the Virginia blogosphere, with all due respect Mr. Wasinger, I disagree. This is a “biggie.” If you cannot fix this problem, and pronto, you have no business being in Congress.
John told me he met Wasinger. However, John told me Wasinger was aware of the behavior of Weinberg on the blog comment sections. Wasinger told John he figures only a 1,000 or so people read these blogs, so no biggie.
Now, I will sit back and wait for the outrage factory to pick up on this. Surely we’ll get the House of Delegates to issue strenuously worded letters calling for Weinberg’s departure from the Wasinger campaign. I have no doubt senior party officials will absolutely trip over themselves to issue stinging press releases demanding that Rob Wasinger clean house. And we’ll definitely have a firestorm of indignation from paid consultants who will spin up all the Republican groups to call for Wasinger’s resignation from the State Central Committee.
Oh, wait. Wasinger’s not on the State Central Committee, and isn’t part of the “Cuccinelli crowd.” He’s only running for Congress. So, ya know, never mind.
Last night, 10th District Chairman issued a gentlemanly letter urging 10th District candidates to keep it clean (h/t: BearingDrift.com):