by Anne-Marie Leake
Dave Brat went full bore riling his ultra-right-wing base in Monday night’s debate with Democratic challenger Abigail Spanberger, by invoking Nancy Pelosi’s name twenty-six times in one hour, often twice in the same breath. The evening’s drinking game was easily identified and well underway even before the opening remarks were finished.
Barring anything of substance to recommend his reelection, and facing a keenly focused, highly intelligent, and extremely well-prepared opponent, Brat’s sole thesis was that a vote for Spanberger equates to a vote for Nancy Pelosi, the nation’s first female Speaker of the House and current Minority Leader who has been portrayed as a boogeywoman by the GOP for over a decade in repeated efforts to sway voters.
Brat’s tactic backfired, though, as it provided a springboard for one of Spanberger’s best zingers of the night (of which there were many), and became so comical in its relentlessness that audiences both live and remote could not contain their laughter.
Spanberger reiterated her well-publicized position that she will not support Pelosi for Speaker of the House, and commandingly reminded Brat that he is not running against Pelosi, or Barack Obama for that matter, who made only a cameo appearance with fewer mentions than he usually receives from the incumbent. It is noteworthy that Brat’s axe to grind is typically with females and/or African-Americans, e.g., Nancy Pelosi, Maxine Waters, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama. He’ll sometimes mention Bernie Sanders in relation to healthcare, but never with the hostility that he reserves for women and minorities who challenge his positions.
It was not a surprising strategy coming from a blindly partisan ideologue who cowers behind the Republican platform as justification for betraying his seminary background – and common decency – to turn a blind eye to the racism, misogyny, sexual assault, collusion, and other immoralities rampant within the Republican party. For example, when asked by John Fredericks if he was going to campaign with Corey Stewart, the darling of the alt-right facing Tim Kaine in the Senate race, Brat responded:
“I think you know the answer to it, based on what I’ve said to every reporter on every personality for 3 1/2 years. . . . always try to get you into these personality horserace contests . . . I don’t go that route, ever . . . I stay away from the personalities. For me it’s just a matter of every Republican should be running on the Republican platform. And that’s what I support. I support those principles, I don’t get into the personality drama . . . The Republican platform and the Republican creed, has all the principles, so any candidate that’s running on that, we’re in unison. If they don’t, we’re not in unison, and that’s how I do it, right? . . . For me, it’s not a matter of personality, it’s just a matter of do I agree with that principle or not.”
Dave’s handlers wisely advised him to drop the played-out Terror High nonsense for this event. It was replaced with the far cheerier but equally empty “Results not Resistance” mantra that made its debut on his campaign Facebook page in the hours preceding the debate. However, Dave has to stretch so far to point to anything he has accomplished during his four years in the House that all he could really come up with by way of example was that his 2014 primary victory over Eric Cantor hastened the downfall of the Gang of Eight amnesty immigration bill. So, just to be clear, Dave resisted immigration reform which resulted in nothing getting done. Got it.
In contrast, the Culpeper debate was a mic-drop tour de force for Spanberger, whose energetic and data-packed responses exhibited a great depth of measured, thoughtful, and detailed insight, illustrating how truly in touch she is with the diversity of communities throughout Virginia’s 7th District.
Make your plan now to ensure you get to your polling place on Election Day. Please also consider devoting a few hours to the campaign’s Get Out The Vote efforts in the homestretch. Click here to find a way to do your part to bring Abigail’s compassionate, intelligent, mission-focused representation to VA-07. When we vote, we win!