Home Virginia Politics Washington Post Wants Special Ethics Session…Sort Of

Washington Post Wants Special Ethics Session…Sort Of


by Paul Goldman

Just Do It! says Nike. But this is proving hard for the Washington Post editorial writers. That’s why today’s editorial is so striking even though the boys and girls at Amazon.com got to the end of the process — and couldn’t click the buy button. They just couldn’t put a Special Session call in the cart. They gave all the reasons why we needed to clean up the dirty money at the Mansion. But they punked out in the last line of their editorial (“The General Assembly should fix this, and the sooner the better”).

They just couldn’t bring themselves to call for a Special Session because…well….Cuccinelli outflanked them and they…well…they are so afraid of being seen as not regarding Cuccinelli as the devil himself. They are going to back the Dem ticket….so they did the political thing and punked out. In 1989, they criticized my strategy for taking the “No Blacks Need Apply” sign off the door to the Governorship. They might have been right, who knows?

But at least I had the courage of my convictions. What else does “sooner the better” mean in today’s context but a Special Session?

I take the Dr. King view of change: When a thing is right, the time is always right. He didn’t worry about your past, just your commitment to the future. He had too much to change to have the luxury of feeling morally superior. It was never a “me” thing, always a “we” thing.

The Post first broke the story about how a sleazy business guy bought the Governorship of Virginia through the use of dirty money. To me, the story has always been a Jonnie Williams story as much as it has been a story about “Bob for Bob” McDonnell out to line his pockets.

But the Post, as The Beatles might say, have until today taken the easy way out.

Sleazy business guys have no place in the Governor’s Mansion, around the Governor’s Mansion. Unfortunately, there are plenty of them on both sides of the aisle. The Post needs to call them all out, sooner the better!

The overwhelming number of business folks are good people, but the bad apples give everyone a bad name. So you have to eliminate their ability to corrupt the system.

I think the Post knows it should be openly calling for a Special Session, knowing it would be the best way to get the best possible fix since the special interest money would have the least influence right now.

Plus: The Dems have nothing to lose pushing for a Special Session, and the Post normally would use Cuccinelli, the GOP nominee, as a way to prove they were championing something bipartisan.

HOWEVER: The Post, as you can see from the editorial, is 200% anti-Cuccinelli, it galls them for him to have outflanked them. The Post’s excuse for not calling for a Special Session: Cuccinelli isn’t sincere.

So what? Let’s assume they are right: let’s presume it is all ploy. Surely he has never been a reformer in this realm before.

I ask you: Do you think the Post thinks Democrats refusal to back a Special Session is all principle?

Answer: No, indeed the Post admits it is all politics.

My response: Like that’s a surprise, like politics rules in an election year is a surprise?

Dr. King’s wisdom is therefore so key: When a thing is right, the time is always right. It is the only way to find a path through the sleaze.

“Sooner rather than later” means only one thing: A special session BEFORE the election.

I mean: Unless you got something to hide, why would you be afraid of disclosing MORE before the election as opposed to only AFTER you are in office?

President Johnson let Republican Everett Dirksen get credit for much of his civil rights legacy. Why? Because he kept his eye on the change, nothing else mattered, whatever it took.

LBJ was flawed as anyone. But his greatness is clear, and we are a lot better for him, warts and all.

Whatever it takes to get the dirty money out of the Governor’s Mansion as soon as possible.

Virginians will credit the people who had the guts to do it, not whether they were the first or last to call for a Special Session.


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