[If title reference is unclear, see here.]
Virginia is the gift that keeps on giving, at least to pundits (whether ink-stained wretches or talking heads). First, “Charlottesville,” site of pitched and unpitched battles between alt-right lowlifes and antifa thugs, and now what Chris Cillizza, a Washington Post alum now pontificating for CNN on the perfidy of conservatives, who is “stunned” at the “full sky-is-falling moment among Virginia Democrats.”
Nationally, Cillizza laments, “Democrats have sought to adopt a zero-tolerance policy toward allegations of sexual assault and race amid the Trump presidency and the #MeToo movement. To have not one, not two, but three statewide elected officials in a swing state battling a variety of these charges — and with none currently signaling they will step aside — is a political nightmare for the party writ large.”
Before this week Cillizza would no doubt have boasted that “Democrats have adopted a zero-tolerance policy toward allegations of sexual assault and race” (how does one allege race?), not that they have sought to. But leave that aside. His familiar list of “What. The. Actual. Hell.” horribles — Gov. Northam’s in-it-not-in-it photo; sexual assault accusation against Lt. Gov. Fairfax; Attorney General Herring’s admission that he too went brown-face at a frat party in the 1980s — does not even deign to mention that just before all this hit the fan Gov. Northam provoked a firestorm of criticism by defending a right to postpartum abortion, allowing a newborn who had survived a botched abortion to die.
He also neglects to mention what may well prove to be the most significant contribution of the Virginia Democrats’ implosion: a dawning national recognition, long known by conservatives, that Democrats’ tirelessly (and tiresomely) signaling their virtue by demanding that everyone always must “believe the women” and remove all Confederate symbols, etc., from public spaces and even personal histories is based on partisanship, not principle. To sacrifice Northam, Fairfax, and Herring to those “principles,” however, would result in something that they regard as far worse than being subject to legitimate charges of hypocrisy: handing over the Virginia governorship to a Republican, the Speaker of the House of Delegates.
The number of Democrats willing to do that is about as large as the number who would continue to support removing a statue of Robert E. Lee if they were certain it would be replaced by one honoring, say, Ronald Reagan.
ABC News notices the same thing: “Democrats mute calls for Va. resignations with power at risk.”
The subdued response from national Democrats shows how their zero-tolerance approach has put them in a bind. The party has prided itself on policing its own and hoped to contrast that record with the GOP’s tolerance of misbehavior by President Donald Trump. Now the party will have to decide whether to stick with its principles or retain its political power.
For the Dems, zero-tolerance has now become