Sunday, February 6, 2022

Jeff Schapiro's Bad History Lesson


Richmond Times Dispatch columnist Jeff Schapiro quotes (perhaps with the intention as an homage) Karl Marx line history repeats itself first as tragedy then as farce.  He attempts to link Republican victories in 2021 with Democrat victories, are you ready for this, Democrat victories in 1885! 

The first sentence in his column, “Virginia Republicans were partying like it is 1885.”  I understand that progressive like to re write history, but this is downright insulting.

Virginia Republicans had no real power in the 19th century.  Schapiro admits later into the column that Fitzhugh Lee, elected in 1885 was, unlike Glenn Youngkin, a Democrat.  It reminds me of the time CNN claimed Ralph Northam was a Republican. A brazen lie that can fool the masses. 

Schapiro claims that while Lee was not a Republican, he was a “conservative Democrat”.  Well, in 1885 Republicans had a candidate for Governor, John Sargeant Wise, he lost, but Schapiro suggests that Republicans were still happy.  Indeed they “celebrated” the victory of Democrat Lee.  This is ahistorical nonsense.

Schapiro believes that conservative Democrats were the bad guys back then (the Republicans of today).  There is a reason he goes back to the late 19th century and not the early 20th century.  It would be inconvenient for him to talk about what the progressive Democrats did.  I will give you a hint, it was so horrific that for the rest of the century Democrats stopped calling themselves progressives. 

Schapiro writes: “What is new is old: 21st century Republicans by deed and dogma are harkening back to the late 19th century when Virginia, as they are doing now in partially restoring Republicans to power angrily rejecting racial, social and cultural advances, as too much too soon.”

Well, that statement is false. Virginia did not restore Republicans to power in the 19th century based on racial grievances nor did they in November of 2021.

Secondly, I don’t know how opposing “cultural advances” gets you back to 1885.  And I doubt Republicans will want to jettison electricity, which will be necessary if you really want the 1885 experience. 

As far as “harkening back to the 19th century”, why is that necessary.  In 2009 Republican Bob McDonnell was elected Governor, and Republicans kept the House of Delegates, the same situation as today.  Surely, Glenn Youngkin has more in common with fellow Republican Bob McDonnell then he would with 19th century Democrat Fitzhugh Lee.

Schapiro continues to feebly link Democrat policies of poll taxes and literacy tests to Youngkin’s resistance to 45 days of early voting, and ballot drop boxes. 

The comparison with poll taxes and ballot drop boxes off Lee highway is ridiculous.

I have been told that Jeff Schapiro was once a reporter.  Well, he should dust of his press badge, go to a Youngkin press conference and ask, “Governor Youngkin why are you so hell bent on taking the state back to 1885?”

Sadly, with the state of our media and educational system, that question wouldn’t cause a single eye to bat or roll.  It would simply cause the other reporters to lament, why didn't I think of such a great question.

Saturday, December 25, 2021

Why Youngkin Won and McAuliffe Lost

Considered to be an upset by most of the political pundits, Glenn Youngkin defeated Democrat Terry McAuliffe and will become the first Republican Governor Virginia has had in 12 years. After a long dry spell Virginia Republicans have come back, and back big time! Come January Republicans will control all three statewide constitutional offices. I proudly contributed, worked and voted to get Youngkin elected. 

 So why the upset? How did Youngkin win? Well, here are my key resaons for Virginia, at least for election night 2021 turned red giving Youngkin a Republican House of Delegates; finishing with 52 seats. Here are my reasons for the Younkin victory: 

Being a former Governor didn't help McAuliffe. 

Virginia has a long, and in my opinion, great tradition of one term Governors, in fact the tradition is enshrined in our state's constitution, a Virginia governor cannot succeed himself. However, the constitution does not prevent them from running in the future for the Governor's office, Terry McAuliffe was eligible to run in 2021, that is, he could run to succeed Ralph Northam. I think Virginians are happy, indeed I would say downright proud, of the tradition of one term Governors. The only Governor in modern Virginia history to make it back to the Governor's office was Mills Godwin, a truly great Governor. However, his second election to the office was quite close. He defeated Henry Howell 50.7% to 49.3% Officially Howell ran as an independent. At the time Howell was considered too far left for Virgina Democrats, so they didn't nominate him, in fact they didn't nominate a candidate, simply quietly voting for Howell. Howell was far left by the 1970's standard, but today he'd be a moderate Democrat. For example there is no evidence that he believed in anything like critical race theory, gender neutral bathrooms, or porn in the school libraries. Seems it was his support for organized labor that earned him the label of a liberal. It struck me that despite Godwin's popularity and Howell's radicalism, it was still close. Godwin squeaked by, but the lesson is that it is tough for a former Governor to make it back, even a popular one like Godwin. The bottom line, unless the Governor is popular, or better yet known for some great achievement Virginians aren't going to bring them back. So when the media described McAuliffe as a "former Governor" it didn't help him. By default Virginians would probably want to give someone else a shot at the job.


"Youngkin is Trump in a fleece vest."

McAuliffe seemed to have only one play, tie Youngkin to Trump. It makes some political sense, Trump lost Virginia big, so the desire to link fellow Republican Youngkin to Trump is understandable. The problem with the strategy is that it was not believable. Exit polls showed Virginians had a favorable view of Youngkin, unlike Trump. In addition to linking them both as Republicans, McAuliffe tried to make a link in two dishonest ways. He used a sound bite of Youngkin claiming that Trump inspired him to run, "Donald Trump is the reason I got into the race." Youngkin simply meant that he like Trump was a political novice, and business executive, and like Trump he could enter government and make change. McAuliffe tried to claim Youngkin was inspired by Trump's political views to run. The second way the McAuliffe campaign tried to link the two is the claim that Trump "endorsed Youngkin". McAuliffe even sent out mailers making the claim. I received one of these mailers with the headline "Trump Endorsed." But I then noticed this came from the McAuliffe campaign. Trump didn't endorse a candidate in the nomination battle. Once Youngkin became the nominee Trump said nice things about him and in a sense endorsed him in the general election. But of course, Trump was going to back the Republican gubernatorial nominee. That is not the same as endorsing a candidate. There is very little similarity between Trump and Youngkin, both in terms of substance and style. Glenn Youngkin is a traditional family man, I think married to the same woman, that is never divorced, he is known to be a man of faith, and his personality and demeanor can in no way be described as Trump like. Youngkin came across like a normal person, quite earnest and sincere. As they say he was comfortable in his own skin, or in his case a fleece vest jacket. The bottom-line McAuliffe hurt himself by exaggerating a connection between Youngkin to Trump. It made some sense, after all Trump is unpopular in Virginia, but the comparison was such a stretch that it called in to question McAuliffe's sincerity. It also seemed McAuliffe had nothing else on which to attack Youngkin. From the minute Youngkin became the Republican nominee in May, McAuliffe tried to tie him to Trump. The amazing thing, that from that day to election day there was no evidence that I am aware of that shows the strategy was working. Yet McAuliffe kept on crying Trump. What's the definition of insanity, doing the same thing over again and expecting a different results.   I don't think McAuliffe is insane, simply that he had nothing else to hit Youngkin with. 

 Governor Northam's Shutdown 

 In response to the covid pandemic Governor Ralph Northam issued orders in late March 2020 curtailing private business operations and shutting down schools, forcing the school districts to open virtual learning. This shutdown lasted to some extent into the summer. History will judge whether the long shutdown was a good idea, but there is no doubt that it crippled many small and mid-sized businesses in Virginia. From a political standpoint the shutdown left a bad taste in the mouths of many small business owners. And those people probably had second thoughts about voting for another Democrat candidate for governor. The more significant fallout from the shutdown came from parents who got a good look at what their children were being taught in school. Since the school buildings were closed the parents were in charge of administering the school's curriculum to their children. This was a wakeup call! Most parents, like most adults, have accepted that they will be subjected to indoctrination at work, but they will not accept their kids being subjected to indoctrination. Clinging to his base perhaps McAuliffe denied that the schools were indoctrinating kids in schools. Even denying the existence of critical race theory. As bad luck (for him) would have it, a memo from his administration confirming the theory and its use in Virginia schools surfaced.

 "Parents have no business telling schools what to teach."

If there ever was a killer moment or gaffe in this race it came in the second and final debate. In a question on education McAuliffe opined angerly, "Parents have no business telling schools what to teach." Youngkin smartly seized on it, and within 24 hours his campaign ran ads using the quote. The reasons we have elected school boards is to give parents a voice in how schools are run, and yes what is in the curriculum. In addition to being elitist McAuliffe's statement runs against the notion of schools being accountable. The remarkable thing is that McAuliffe doubled down on the comment. Perhaps he felt he needed to stick close to the teacher union, but it probably would have been better to walk back the statement. Offer a clarification and clearly state the importance of parental involvement. Instead, he stuck with the teacher union line that the parents are out of control.

Biden unpopularity was a factor.

 Virginia elected Joe Biden, and after one year they have had enough. An exit poll had Biden's approval rating at 46 percent. No doubt about it, Biden helped turn out Republicans and depressed voters that usually vote Democrat but are disappointed in the last Democrat they voted for. Now McAuliffe is not responsible for Biden's unpopularity, but he is responsible for his embrace of Biden. He could have tried to distance himself, instead he invited him to come to Virginia and campaign. Ironically, McAuliffe needled Youngkin for not inviting Trump to Virginia to campaign with him. Youngkin was wise not to take the bait. Trump stayed out and that was to the benefit of Youngkin. However, McAuliffe should have followed Youngkin's example and not invited Biden to come to campaign. Trump might be politically toxic in Virginia, but Biden is not held in much higher esteem in the Old Dominion.

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Reverend Robert Wright Lee's 15 minutes Of Fame

Andy Warhol once remarked that everyone has 15 minutes of fame. Well, certainly we shouldn't begrudge anyone the spotlight for a mere 15 minutes. Well, enter a political activist with a famous last name. He is a liberal Episcopalian minister and Black Lives Matter advocate, Reverend Robert Wright Lee, IV.

Lee has obviously discovered that with the cynical use of his last name he might be able to increase his 15 minutes. And maybe advance his utility as an activist.

Lee has been one of the leaders of the movement to remove the Lee statue in Richmond. Yes, he says he loves his ancestor, but justice must be done. No doubt his last name has come in handy, it can be used to enhance credibility.

On Thursday Governor Ralph Northam described Lee as the General's "great grandson" as he made his announcement of his order to remove the Lee statue. Rev. Lee quietly stood next to the Governor (Known as coonman in college).

The message was clear. A Lee descendent' is ok with removal of an historic Virginia landmark, so you should be to. How reassuring!

One possible snag. The honorable Reverend Robert Wright Lee, IV is not a descendent of Robert E. Lee.

He was described by Richmond news channel 6 as a great-great-great-great nephew. He may be related to a sibling of Lee's. Put it this way, nothing General Lee did in his time on earth made it possible for this guy to be born. He doesn't come from Lee's off spring.

Elizabeth Warren may be genetically closer to a full blooded Cherokee Indian than Reverend Lee is to General Lee.

While he is a member of the Lee family, to describe him as a 'Lee descendent' is misleading. None of the people he descends from is Robert E. Lee.

In checking his website I discovered Lee is an author. He has written a book on combating racism and dealing with his white liberal guilt. On his website A blurb about the book offers this statement:

A descendent of Confederate General Robert E. Lee chronicles his story of growing up with the South’s most honored name, and the moments that forced him to confront the privilege, racism, and subversion of human dignity that came with it.

Clearly, he is using the family name to promote his own political views. I read this article, "Lee descendent gives his blessing to remove symbol of white supremacy and racism."

Reverend Lee was given the name Robert, no doubt in honor of General Lee.

He gives his "blessing"? First, Why should Reverend Lee carry any weight on the subject? He speaks for no one but himself. He was blessed with a great last name and it is disgraceful to use it to advance a personal cause. It reminds me of the time Ron Reagan, Jr. (he is not really a Jr.) was given a show on MSNBC.

He had no talent, but he had a useful last name for MSNBC. I think Reagan's show last little more than 15 minutes.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Never Trumper Asserts "Trump is Willing to Sacrifice Lives to Try And Save the Economy and His Chances For Re-Election"

The latest talking point from the left is that President Trump is willing to "sacrifice" Americans lives to protect his re-election chances. The left's theory is that he has to reopen the country to prevent the economy from another depression, and hence any hope of being re elected.

So, like a virus, this nutty theory is running around, and like the sun rising in the east CNN's token Republican Matt Lewis advances it. In his column on the "Daily Beast", Lewis pushing this exact theory. It is amazing how the left daily sticks to the same page.

In the first sentence of "The Party of Life Embraces Trump's Death Cult", Lewis, who voted for pro-choice Joe Biden, asserts,
"Donald Trump is willing to sacrifice lives to try and save the economy and his chances for re-election."

The unsubstantiated charge says more about Lewis and the left. That even while millions of their fellow Americans are thrown out of work, they grow more concerned about losing an election and raise paranoid theories that Trump might benefit politically from the national emergency.

The gist of the story, Lewis sums it up:

"Unfortunately, we have skipped over that nuanced discussion and gone straight to Republicans rationalizing the idea that we can just wipe out a million or so people to fix the economy."

He claims that by reopening the economy, Trump will sacrifice "millions of lives." This is stupid for a number of reasons. First, once the economy is reopened, which the President is flexible on regarding the timing, no one has to leave the confines of their isolation. If someone feels vulnerable or sick they should stay home.

Social distancing and hand washing (and hand wringing) can continue.

Secondly, most people won't acquire the virus, after they go back to work. And the vast majority of people that do will live. Some even feeling nothing more than a minor, short flu.

The disease is serious, but it will diminish soon. It is rare in many parts of the country, and for millions of Americans if faced with a choice between a bad flu and a great depression would choose the flu. Trump represents those people. Hardworking, tough determined people.

Look at our history. When did a bad flu stop us? The settlement in Jamestown was wracked with disease; malaria, survey, dysentery, yellow fever... And the amazing thing, and as a Virginian I take great pride in the fact, people kept coming.

Lewis even implies that Trump likes the daily media coverage, which a national emergency brings, Lewis writes of Trump:
"This is a man who responded to a pandemic by thinking, “How can I be on TV more?” It’s truly depraved."

I suspect that this is a statement by someone, suffering, not from the Chinese flu, but from an equally vile, and unwanted condition - Trump Derangement Syndrome.