Why Resign Political Office?

Why do we expect sullied Democrats to willingly resign office?

Virginia state politics is in complete disarray this week, after it came out that Governor Ralph Northam had, 35 years ago, included a picture of someone in blackface and another person wearing a KKK uniform on his yearbook page.  First he apologized for appearing as one of those two guises (he didn't say which); then he said neither of the pictures were of him, but he was still sorry for having the picture.

He also admitted having worn blackface on a separate, unphotographed occasion when he dressed up as then-black Michael Jackson; only his wife's intervention prevented him from demonstrating his skills at the moonwalk.  The more he tries to explain away his decades-old behavior, and the more clumsily he does so, the louder grow the calls for his immediate resignation.

We don't understand this at all. Why should Virginia Governor Ralph Northam resign?

When Governor Northam endorsed killing babies after they're born, nobody said he should resign. That's actual murder - yes, even by our debauched pro-abortion laws, as Kermit Gosnell found out in court not too long ago.

Blackface and KKK membership, as wicked as they may seem to social justice warriors, are not now crimes and certainly weren't at the time the picture was taken.  Indeed, association with blackface and the KKK were not always capital crimes even among Democrats.  President Franklin Roosevelt placed Hugo Black, a former Klansman, on the Supreme Court.  Senator Robert Byrd (D, WV), a former KKK Grand Kleagle, served in the Senate for decades as a now-revered Democratic leader.

Times have changed, but have they changed to the point that having put unacceptable pictures in his yearbook 35 years ago makes Governor Northam unfit for office?

As with demanding that Senator Al Franken (D, MN) resign for having been accused of groping women without permission, forcing Gov. Northam out of office would apparently cost Democrats nothing.  Sen. Franken was replaced by another Democrat by the Democrat governor of his state and Gov. Northam would have been replaced by his black Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax who's also a Democrat.  Democrats could preen about virtue without suffering any political cost.

Then things changed.  It soon turned out that Mr. Fairfax has a serious MeToo problem - he's accused of having committed sexual assault during the 2004 Democratic convention.  He admits that he and his first accuser had sex but claims it was consensual; she claims she was forced.  Then a second accuser came forward claiming that she was raped while they were in college, adding to the pile-on.

From the Democrat point of view, losing both the Governor and the Lieutenant Governor in an orgy of virtue signaling would still have been OK because Attorney General Mark Herring, third in line according to the Virginia constitution, is also a staunch Democrat.

Then, horror of horrors, the Attorney General admitted that he also wore blackface, or "dark makeup," as the New York Times euphemistically described it.  He himself recently declared blackface to be disqualifying, saying, "It is no longer possible for Governor Northam to lead our Commonwealth and it is time for him to step down."  Logic suggests that such insensitivity that would disqualify a Governor would also disqualify an Attorney General who wants to be Governor.

This brings us to the person who's 4th in line, the Speaker of the House - a Republican.  To no one's surprise, all parties who had been calling for Governor Northam's resignation including the MSM fell silent once it was realized that a Republican would become governor when the dominoes stopped falling.

So much for #BelieveAllWomen, proclaimed with such vigor during the Kavanaugh hearings!  It seems that women are to be believed only when they accuse Republicans or if an accused Democrat can be replaced by another Democrat.

Despite the furore, it's starting to look as if none of these people intend to resign - after all, they're Democrats so it should all blow over before the next election.  They've adopted the Clinton playbook - deny, delay, divert, and claim "old news from the vast right-wing conspiracy" if the matter comes up again.  It worked for the Clintons, why not for these guys?

This brings us back to our opening question: why should any of them resign?

Shame, Shame!

With the possible exception of the Lieutenant Governor, none of them has been accused of a crime.  When asked about impeaching the Governor, the Republicans said they weren't sure that blackface was an impeachable offense under the state Constitution.  Neither blackface nor a KKK uniform are illegal, both are protected by the First Amendment, and particularly in Virginia have a long tradition among Democrat officialdom.  Furthermore, the incidents took place decades ago - in college, a time of life where good judgment and prudent behavior are, shall we say, not universally found.

From the Governor's perspective, resigning would stop his Governor's pay and limit the time during which he could do favors.  This would make it harder for him to find the lucrative lobbying and consulting jobs that most ex-governors enjoy.  What possible benefit to himself would a resignation serve?  He's certainly not likely to ever be elected as a Democrat again no matter what happens now; he may as well get while the getting is still, if not good, at least possible.

There are a few relevant precedents to consider.  President Nixon resigned his office, but he knew that if the House voted articles of impeachment, the Senate would convict him because the Republicans in the Senate believed that his lies constituted "high crimes and misdemeanors."  Either way, his term of office was going to be ended early, it was simply a question of how.

Resigning was better than being impeached and convicted, much like quitting a job looks better than being fired.  So he resigned, as a logically preferable choice to the alternative.

But this precedent doesn't apply to Gov. Northam: he has committed no crime, and any impeachment would be questionable at best.  Besides, he could always choose to resign later if it looks like impeachment was becoming more likely; after all, Pres. Nixon hung onto office for months through the Watergate scandal before he decided to cut his losses and call it quits.

Then there's Sarah Palin, ex-Governor of Alaska.  She abruptly resigned her office of Governor of Alaska not too long after Sen. McCain tapped her as his running mate for the 2008 Presidential election.

She wasn't seriously accused of any crime, but she suffered under a special case: Alaska law makes it possible for individuals to file accusations against the governor which, by law, must be investigated by the government at government expense.  For each of these accusations, the governor is personally liable for the legal costs of defending herself, regardless of the merits of the accusation or whether any actual evidence is ever found.

Democrats living in Alaska flooded Governor Palin with such filings, each and every one of which cost the Palin family thousands.  Unlike most politicians, the Palins are middle-class at best; they'd have gone bankrupt many times over if she'd fought them as a Governor is legally required to do.  The only way she could end them was by resigning her office, which she did - and sure enough, the accusations immediately blew away as the paper-thin creations they were.  Governor Palin was another victim of liberal lawfare, but she made a rational decision to protect her family.

Then there's Sen. Al Franken, erstwhile comedian and celebrity.  Photos of Sen. Franken apparently groping a sleeping woman circulated early in the MeToo movement.  Democrats hoped to use similar charges to bring down Mr. Trump, and they wanted to be able to attack Republican Roy Moore so they could capture another Senate seat.

We do not know what pressures they brought on Sen. Franken, but he was persuaded to resign his office. Roy Moore lost his Senate race to the Democrats, so in that sense they were victorious.

Sen. Franken has recently expressed regret for resigning and has spoken of running for office again.  If he does, will the MSM bring up the "assault" photos, or will his opponent have to do that?  The photo, while evidence of something unsavory, is somewhat ambiguous, and there've been no serious investigations much less prosecutions of any crime since.

It doesn't seem like Sen. Franken was offered anything of value in exchange for his resignation - he hasn't landed on a lavish corporate board or D.C. think tank, though as a successful celebrity comedian he probably has as much money as he wants anyway.  Criminal charges weren't threatened then or since; why on earth did he resign?  He's asking himself that question every day too.  We look forward to hearing his answer.

Kavanaugh Redux

During the revolting hearings after President Trump appointed Justice Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, Democrats made much of Ms. Ford accusing him of groping her at a party when they were teenagers.  The Democrats asserted the total necessity of "believe all women" despite the many gaping holes in her story and accused anyone who wanted to check her story of waging a "war on women" or "blaming the victim."  In the end, Republicans surprised the Democrats by fighting back and Justice Kavanaugh was confirmed to the Court where he recently showed signs of not wanting to overturn Roe v Wade.

By the Democrats' vehemently-stated standards, Lieutenant Governor Fairfax should resign.  He admitted to sexual interaction with his first accuser, which is far more confirmation than Ms. Ford's accusation ever had.  If we're to believe all women, the fact that one of the women involved has issued a 3 page description of being forced renders him unfit for office.

Sen. Franken's resignation was a major change in our political process.  Until then, big-time Democrats were never criticized for abusing women - JFK (D) and "Chappaquiddick Ted (D)" remain untouchable liberal icons to this day.  The only politicians ever held to answer for sex crimes were Republicans - Sen. Bob Packwood (R) was hounded from the US Senate for abusing about as many women as "Slick Willie" Clinton.

We wondered why the "woke" powers-that-be trashed Harvey Weinstein, a big-time Democrat donor, for what had been a Republican-only problem.  Democrats were taken aback when #MeToo took out far more liberals of power than conservatives.  They should not have been surprised.

As people, conservatives have as much zipper trouble as liberals, but ever since Sen. Packwood was hounded from office while feminists and the MSM rallied 'round Dirtbag Willie, conservatives have known that they had to keep such activities out of public view, which these days is basically impossible.  Any Republican politician who couldn't keep it in his pants would have been defenestrated while still on the City Council; any Republican who reaches national office has long ago gotten a grip on this particular issue in his own life or he wouldn't be there.

Democrats are being caught out as the rules change.  Should a politician who donned "dark makeup" in his youth be hounded from office?  And how young is too young to be responsible - what if his or her parents put blackface on them for Halloween at age 6 or 8?

What if he's accused of abusing women?  What evidence do we require?  Proof in court sufficient to convince a jury?  No evidence at all, as with Kavanaugh?  Something in between, as appears to be happening with Lt. Gov. Fairfax?

And The Parade Moves On

We doubt that any of the three Virginia Democrats momentarily on the hot seat will resign - there's no reason to, no likelihood of forcing the matter, and of course, the end result would be more Republicans in office.  Can't have that!

If the MSM shuts up about their problems, which they will at the earliest possible moment, voters will have forgotten by the next election.  Even if they choose to run again, it will be difficult for the Republicans to remind them with Facebook, Google, and You Tube blocking conservative material.  More likely, they'll simply settle into an anonymous but well-paid think-tank or law firm job, taking their problems off the table.

Which leaves Republicans, as usual, empty-handed - and in Virginia, they seem to have been even more spectacularly incompetent than usual.  Opposition research has been Politics 101 since politics was invented, and Governor Northam's yearbook was sitting quietly in the college library the whole time ready to be discovered by anyone who took the trouble to look at it.

Are we to imagine that nobody in the Virginia Republican Party or any of its campaigns bothered to spend half a day on the off-chance that Ralph Northam did something dumb while drunk in college?

Or are we to suppose that the Republicans did find out, but chose not to use it against him for some unimaginable reason?  Remember, this is the same Ralph Northam whose supporters were airing ads depicting Republican voters literally running down minority children with their Confederate-flag-flying pickup trucks.

It's hard to decide which explanation - laziness or stupidity - is worse.  Republican voters in Virginia, it's time to take a page from your President and tell your entire incompetent, feckless, worthless party structure: "You're Fired!"

Will Offensicht is a staff writer for Scragged.com and an internationally published author by a different name.  Read other Scragged.com articles by Will Offensicht or other articles on Partisanship.
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