Home Virginia Politics Why Do Virginia’s Top Republicans Keep Finding Racial Controversy?

Why Do Virginia’s Top Republicans Keep Finding Racial Controversy?


As Jonathan Capehart writes at WashingtonPost.com, Bob McDonnell has eviscerated his own image more effectively than his political enemies ever could:

McDonnell came to office as the smiling conservative. A candidate who eschewed hot-button social issues in favor of jobs and the economy. He and his successful campaign were touted as a model for Republican candidates around the country. But McDonnell’s slavery-denial document reveals a snarl behind the smile that should serve as a warning. Antebellum attitudes are thriving in the Age of Obama.

Let’s be clear — this was not a case of Bob McDonnell accidentally stumbling into a controversy or the result of an outside event — say, a racially-motivated crime that made confront a crisis not of his own making. No one & no thing forced him into this. Just as George Allen did before him, Bob McDonnell voluntarily, on his own, without provocation, made a public issue of his own racial feelings & positions.

It is simply amazing that Bob McDonnell, 2010’s Face of the Future of the National Republican Party, has chosen of his own free will to step onto the same path of racial controversy as George Allen, 2006’s Face of the Future of the National Republican Party. Getting to be a pattern, isn’t it?

  • Glen Tomkins

    The Rs would not have won a single national election since the Civil Rights Act, had they not always succeeded at finding a way to appeal to racism.  Back in the day, they could praise “states’ rights” (as in, the “struggle for independence” that VA set out on in 1861), or talk about “real Virginians”, and the racist minority knew perfectly well what they were talking about, while folks in the moderate majority could still vote for them because their ears were not attuned to the dog whistle appeals to racism.

    The only thing that’s changed, the only reason that a proclamation praising states’ rights causes controversy now, is that the damn dog whistle is broken.  Moderate humans can hear the racist appeals now, and humans don’t like racism.

    The other element here is that even “states’ rights” is no longer, all by itself, laying aside the racism-friendly code meanings, an innocuous, historical-interest-only, eccentricity.  Now that we have teabaggers preaching nullification, and our own AG joining many other Republican AGs in the push to have nullification vindicated in the courts, suddenly disunion talk isn’t just a historical curiosity anymore.  It’s like it’s 1861 all over again, and moderate humans really don’t like the sound that whistle makes.

  • Elaine in Roanoke

    Bob McDonnell is simply a shorter, prettier, more evangelical version of George Allen. Gov. Wimpy has lost – for all time now – the patina of “moderation” he used to hide his extremism.

  • How ridiculous you all sound. Dog whistles? Appealing to racists to win elections? Last time I checked, the Republican party in Virginia won by being the liberal/moderate party in the 70s and 80s, not by being full of racists. It was the Democratic party that was in control of the state from reconstruction through the 70s, and every Jim Crow law, miscegenation statute, and the like was passed by Democratic legislatures and Democratic governors, well past the Civil Rights Act era. We never controlled either house of the legislature until 1999.

    It is pathetic the lengths you all will go to whitewash history.

    There doesn’t have to be any racial controversy here – we’re coming up on the sesquicentennial of the Civil War – reinstating a civil war history month, regardless of what it’s called, is not racist. If he’d called it the “Glorious Battle for Slavery History Month,” I’d concede you all have a point. But he didn’t do that.