Democratic Party candidate Ralph Northam cannot possibly lose the Virginia Lieutenant Governor race today; in fact, he should win by a landslide. His Republican opponent, African-American minister E. W. Jackson, is so conservative he makes his running mate, gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli, look like Saul Alinsky, and I’m only exaggerating a little bit. From the pulpit, he has made statements that sound like they were ghosted by Pat Robertson in one of his crazy moods, like when he seemed to be suggesting that children with birth defects were being punished for their parents sins. Jackson doesn’t believe in evolution, thinks that government programs have done more harm to blacks than slavery, and could fairly be described as homophobic.
Still, he is a citizen, a candidate and a human being, so when he offered his hand to his soon-to-be victorious opponent Northam following a TV debate, there was only one decent, civil, ethical, statesmanlike response for Northam: take it, and shake it. That is traditional, civilized, and polite, and for Northam to do what he chose to do instead—ignore Jackson and his hand and snub the Republican, refusing even to look him in the eye—on live TV, no less!— shows him to be an arrogant, unmannered, uncivil jerk of the breed that has brought American politics, government and discourse to a new low. Continue reading →
Periodically, the same contentious argument breaks out on Ethics Alarms after I assert my position that voters should support the candidate who is the most honest and trustworthy–the one with the most ethical character—regardless of his or her policy positions. My argument is bolstered when someone like Anthony Weiner—and fortunately there aren’t many candidates like him— runs for office on the extreme opposite concept, that even demonstrably horrible character and dubious trustworthiness are irrelevant as long as a candidate holds the right policy views. He was just clobbered in his quest for NY mayor, getting just 5% of the vote, every one of them cast by a lunatic, porn star, mental defective or ethics dunce. I doubt that his wife voted for him. Client #9. Eliot Spitzer, also lost in his race for Controller…and he is like Weiner.
My position is shaken when faced with a fiasco like Virginia governor’s race, where a proven huckster, Terry McAuliffe, is carrying the Democratic banner and Ken Cuccinelli is the Republican choice. (I live in Virginia.) That McAuliffe is corrupt to the core, like his pals, the Clintons, there is no doubt. He is pure Machiavelli, and worse, he is gleeful about it, like his pal Bill, but without the charisma. I learned all I needed to about McAuliffe’s character when I learned that he tried to bribe Ralph Nader to drop out of the 2000 Presidential race, but that was hardly the only evidence. Virginia Democrats disgraced themselves by nominating him. I wrote about his public dissembling here and here; I didn’t even go into his dubious financial dealings andthe strange way —well, if you think cronyism is strange— he got rich investing in Global Crossing—as I said, the sliminess of his character has never been in doubt.