Home Virginia Politics Sen. McEachin Assails Sen. Ruff’s “Tar Baby” Remarks as “Insensitive, Inaccurate and...

Sen. McEachin Assails Sen. Ruff’s “Tar Baby” Remarks as “Insensitive, Inaccurate and Inappropriate”


See below for a statement by Virginia State Sen. Donald McEachin (D), in which he denounces Sen. Frank Ruff’s comments (at the Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce’s legislative breakfast) likening Medicaid expansion to a “tar baby.” According to Julian Walker’s Virginian Pilot scoop, “John Gilstrap, a member of the Danville City Council, denounced the comment as ‘not a correct statement to make’ and ‘offensive to a couple African Americans in the audience.” In addition, “Gilstrap told the Pilot that Danville Mayor Sherman Saunders had walked out of the meeting after Ruff’s comparison.” Following up on the Virginian Pilot story, Think Progress reports that Ruff emailed to say “Never have I ever heard this as a racial term.” Well, I guess now he has! Anyway, here’s Sen. McEachin’s statement. Never a dull moment…

Henrico – Senator A. Donald McEachin (D-Henrico) today assailed the remarks of his colleague Senator Frank Ruff  in referring to Marketplace Virginia, the private insurance bipartisan plan to offer health care for low income Virginians, as a “tar baby.”  

Senator McEachin said, “For Senator Ruff to use an expression widely known as a racial slur was shocking, insensitive and extremely disappointing. Instead of contributing to the merits of this discussion, he resorts to old time racial epithets and dog whistles.  However, every bit as dismaying is his lack of concern for the up to 400,000 low income working Virginians who would finally have the opportunity to access healthcare for themselves and their families.  Instead of engaging and trying to find solutions, he has simply demonstrated his complete lack of concern for their very real needs.

“Moreover, Senator Ruff has been completely inaccurate about the Marketplace Virginia proposal. The plan contains a kill switch that will ensure that Virginia will not have to over pay and that the program’s costs will not simply escalate. For him to ignore this critical piece either demonstrates a complete lack of knowledge of the legislation which is alarming or an intentional ignorance which is truly unacceptable.

“Senator Ruff owes Virginians an apology and, as importantly, a commitment to actually read the legislation, to speak the truth about what it contains and to engage in a serious, merit and fact based dialogue to improve the lives of Virginians, the very thing he was elected to do, instead of resorting to antiquated and offensive insults.”

  • RobleyJ

    “Aesop’s Fables or the Aesopica is a collection of fables credited to Aesop, a slave and story-teller believed to have lived in ancient Greece between 620 and 560 BCE. Of diverse origins, the stories associated with Aesop’s name have descended to modern times through a number of sources. They continue to be reinterpreted in different verbal registers and in popular as well as artistic mediums.”

  • RICHMOND — Yesterday, Senator Frank Ruff spoke at a breakfast meeting with the Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce where he likened the health care law to ‘tar baby.’

    “Instead of looking for ways to work across the aisle to close the health care coverage gap for 400,000 working Virginians Senator Ruff chose to use a divisive and inflammatory term to dramatically change the mood of the conversation,” said DPVA Chair Mayor Dwight Jones. “An apology is certainly in order.

    “This type of rhetoric has no business in the Commonwealth and certainly no business in this conversation.”

  • Bumble Bee

    Frank Ruff unfortunately accurately represents a sizable number of his constituents along south side Virginia. Ignorant, intolerant and racist. Anything coming from Washington is seen as a Yankee plot to take from hard working white folk and give to those “others”.  It is a primary reason why south side Virginia is in an ever tightening spiral of economic decline. Faced with declining income, declining population and declining employment.  Until all the angry old white guys die off it will probably NOT GET ANY BETTER!  

  • demomatic

    I’m always learning new insensitive words from these GOP loonies! First Macaca, now “Tar Baby.” Trying to think if there were any other ones I’ve learned recently . . . I really don’t know where they get this stuff. Its like there’s a “bigot’s thesaurus” out there somewhere.

  • Harry

    He’s been known in the General Assembly for quite some time as a southside racist.  He only represents whites while giving little or no constituent services to the great number of minorities in his district.  His district is essentially the south of the 1950’s where segregation still prevails.

  • glennbear

    Ruff lives in Clarksville in Mecklenburg County. Back in 2012 the Mecklenburg County GOP made national news: http://www.washingtonpost.com/