Are We Better Off WITH “Sideshow Bob?”


    Recently, Not Larry Sabato analyzed the Virginia House of Delegates district of Del. Bob Marshall (R-Prince William/Manassas Park), and concluded that it most resembles New Mexico politically – a solid Obama/Kaine/Democratic district in presidential years. The implication, of course, is that “Sideshow Bob,” as I call him (because of his many insane, extreme antics and general tomfoolery) should be one of the top targets for Virginia Democrats in 2013. Of course, that assumes we get our “presidential year” voters out in odd-year Virginia elections, and that’s easier said than done. But still, wouldn’t it be great to boot Bob for good? Seems like a no-brainer, right?

    Then I saw this article and it got me thinking, are we actually better off WITH “Sideshow Bob” Marshall in some ways than without him? First, read this from the HuffPo piece:

    Virginia Del. Bob Marshall (R-Prince William), the author of the state’s fetal personhood bill, says he has always been a bit of a thorn in the side of the mainstream Republican Party. But since the 2012 election, he said, the party is “more overtly gun-shy” about dealing with abortion, and the pressure from GOP leadership to back off of his socially conservative agenda is constant.

    It doesn’t happen more than seven days a week, 52 weeks a year,” he told The Huffington Post sarcastically in an interview. “Through committee assignments, being shoved aside … I’ve had to deal with things the hard way.”

    He added, “The Republican consultants have advised ducking these social issues for years. The social conservatives don’t get any credit when they help Republicans win, but they get blamed by the consultant class when they lose.

    First of all, I’ve just got to say, hahahahahahaha. Poor Sideshow.

    Second, more seriously, what this tells me is that “Sideshow Bob” is a major problem for Virginia Republicans, one they must expend a lot of energy on to try – and often fail – to keep under control. And why are Virginia Republicans even trying to keep “Sideshow Bob” under control at all? It’s not as if they disagree with him on making abortion illegal in most or all circumstances. Since it’s not substantive, it must be politics: e.g., Virginia Republicans know that the issues “Sideshow Bob” insists on pushing, year after year, are simply killing them with Virginia women. Perhaps even worse, if that’s possible, the “Sideshow Bobs” of the world – add to the long list people like Rick Santorum, Ken Kookinelli, Todd Akin, Richard Mourdock, Dick Black, Eugene Delgaudio, etc. – are generally killing the Republican “brand,” making them seem (correctly, as far as I can determine) that they want to be in everyone’s bedroom and doctor’s office, telling you what you can, and more to the point can NOT, do with your body and your private life. And that doesn’t just hurt them with women, but also with a lot of men as well.

    So, why shouldn’t Virginia Democrats just sit back, heat up some popcorn, and enjoy the “Sideshow Bob” (and Dick Black, Eugene Delgaudio, etc.) Show for many years to come? Only one reason, albeit an important one: these guys do damage, not just to the Republican Party, but to a lot of Virginians (e.g., the heinous “Marshall-Newman” amendment enshrines anti-LGBT discrimination in our constitution). For that reason alone, we should almost certainly toss political considerations aside and do everything we can to boot Bob in 2013. Still, the political part of me keeps salivating at the thought of keeping this clown around for many, many election years to come.

    • BatCave

      where candidate recruitment should have been high priority for the party, based on the composition and voting history of the district.  But what a surprise, we have no candidate. If we can’t even find a candidate to run in a district like this, our hopes of ever winning majorities in the House and State Senate are doomed this decade.    

    • From NARAL Virginia:


      Chairman of Senate Education and Health Committee will not hear notorious bill before November 29th deadline

      Last week, in less than 48 hours, more than 700 pro-choice Virginians took time out of their Thanksgiving holiday to urge Senate Education and Health Committee Chairman Sen. Steve Martin (R-11) to pull the infamous and dangerous “personhood” bill from the committee’s agenda.  After the outpouring of opposition, state Sen. Martin has indicated his committee will not hear H.B.1 before the November 29th deadline. Without a hearing the bill, which passed both the House of Delegates and the Senate Education and Health Committee during the 2012 General Assembly session, effectively expires.

      “This is a huge victory for the women of Virginia,” said Tarina Keene, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia. “I am extremely grateful for the hundreds of Virginians who fought back against extreme ‘personhood’ legislation, and I am relieved that some Virginia legislators have finally decided to listen to the people they represent.”

      Unfortunately, Virginians will still have to face continued attacks on women’s rights and health during the 2013 General Assembly session. Personhood advocate and bill patron, Del. Bob Marshall (R-13) has already pre-filed several bills to limit access to reproductive health services and infringe upon a women’s right to control her own body, including legislation to slash insurance coverage of birth control – used by approximately 1.5 million Virginian women. He could even resurrect the personhood bill in the upcoming session despite the wishes of his own party; he has suggested he may do so. Regardless of the wild unpopularity of these legislative attacks on women’s health and the upcoming 2013 elections, Del. Marshall has indicated he will continue his anti-choice crusade – even attaching amendments to unrelated legislation, if necessary.

      “It is extremely disappointing that Del. Marshall continues to reject Virginians values, priorities, and needs to push his own ideological agenda,” said Keene continued. “Earlier this month Virginia voters spoke loud and clear when they told politicians that they would not stand for continued attacks on women’s reproductive health and rights. NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia will remain vigilant in opposing any legislation, amendment, or regulation that puts political ideology before the health and lives of Virginians. I assure you – and as Virginia’s 13 point gender gap in this past month’s election indicates – women did not stand for it this year, and they will not stand for it in 2013.”

    • Tom

      I expect that the PWCDC will have a strong candidate who can finally take advantage of the high energy resulting from blowing out Romney by nearly 15 % points and delivering a strong win for Kaine. The PWCDC absentee-in-person effort combined with the Coordinated Campaign and even OFA that for the longest time refused to coordinate their GOTV efforts with us finally did, with the result that we had over 5,000 volunteers working on phone  bank and related GOTV operations.

      We basically turned PWC a solid blue in all the contested races, with our endorsed School Board candidate winning 11 of her 13 precincts. The high energy and enthusiasm will carry over to a strong win by Terry for governor and the person I believe will run against Marshall confirms his candidacy within the next 48 hours, we can go to the 7-8 Dec. DPVA quarterly meetings in Williamsburg with a very strong case for significant financial and other DPVA support, a well as support from multiple groups such as the African American, Latino, Farm Team, Women’s Strike Force, LGBT community. Never before have we had such a large and diverse set of people so oppose to the extremist objectives of one specific HoD candidates, whose own 13th HoD demographics are now “fired up and ready” to work hard to send him to permanent retirement. Perfect Storm is the only term I can think of to describe what I’m seeing, hearing, feeling. And Marshall surely knows he is completely on his own for funding or “volunteer” (paid or not) support, with the RPVA and the PWCRC still in hiding and split on who they want to support for LG and AG.