From the Democratic Party of Virginia:
The race to lead the Republican Party of Virginia is all but settled and somehow, Virginia Republicans see no issues with elevating one of the most polarizing and insensitive figures in the Commonwealth. They couldn't find a single candidate more qualified than John Whitbeck, whose unique brand of extremism, obstructionism and of course, anti-Semitism shows Virginia Republicans couldn't be less interested in working to move Virginia forward.
“It says a lot about Virginia Republicans that they would welcome as chair someone as extreme as John Whitbeck,” said Morgan Finkelstein, press secretary for the Democratic Party of Virginia. “From his offensive anti-Semitic comments to his extreme positions opposing abortion even in cases of rape and incest, Whitbeck blatantly puts his ideological Tea Party agenda ahead of the citizens of Virginia. By backing someone so polarizing, the Republican Party of Virginia is sending a clear signal that they're only interested in being the party of 'no.'”
From his offensive positions to his far-right friends, John Whitbeck represents a major step in the Tea Party takeover of the RPV. Here's a few highlights of what makes John so special:
- John Whitbeck told an anti-Semitic joke at a rally… “This time around, the Pope says, 'I gotta find out what’s on this piece of paper.' So he actually takes it from the head of the Jewish faith, he opens it, he looks at, and he closes it, he grimaces. And his Jewish counterpart says, 'What was it?' And he says, 'Well, that was the bill from the Last Supper.' So, on that note, we’re waiting for Ken Cuccinelli and he’s on his way.” [Video, 9/17/13]
- …and tried to blame Democrats instead of apologizing. “Whitbeck said today any “alleged outrage” over the joke he told has been manufactured by American Bridge, a political action committee founded by journalist and author David Brock… 'AtWhitbeck defends 'joke',” 9/19/13] rally, I told a joke. I did not tell an anti-Semitic joke. I told a joke I heard from a priest at a church service.'” [Leesburg Today, “
- He finally issued a half-hearted apology only after extensive pressure. “Earlier this week, I made a lighthearted attempt at humor to which some have taken offense… It was certainly not my intent to offend anyone and I sincerely apologize to those who were.” [Washington Post, “Whitbeck apologizes for anti-Semitic joke at GOP rally,” 9/21/13]
- John Whitbeck opposes abortion even in cases of incest or rape. [Video, 7/23/11]
- He's not interested in bipartisanship. “We need people in Richmond who are going to…resist the temptation to raise taxes or compromise just a little bit in your principals for the interest of getting along with the Democrats.” [Video, 8/6/11]
- John Whitbeck's backers are a parade of ideologues. Supporters include extremists like Mark Obenshain, Senator Dick Black (who compared Roe v. Wade to the Holocaust), and Loudoun County Supervisor Eugene Delgadio, head of an anti-LGBT organization classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. [JohnWhitbeck.Com, “Endorsements“]
With voices like these leading the Republican Party of Virginia, it's no wonder that even hard-line conservatives are finding that they're not right-wing enough. Tea Party extremist Susan Stimpson has already announced a primary challenge to Speaker Bill Howell, Dan Moxley is primarying Senator Emett Hanger and of course, David Brat has already replaced Eric Cantor in Congress. John Whitbeck's rise to Chair is further proof that Virginia Republicans are bolting to the right wing extremes.