Deplorable and Vile: Today’s Republican Party

Shortly after a threat to Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, the Democratic-led Senate unanimously approved and House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved legislation to provide 24-hour security protections for Justices and their families. In June, President Biden signed the legislation into law.

Four months later, the spouse of the Speaker of the House of Representatives was viciously attacked while sleeping in his bed in his San Francisco home. The Speaker was in Washington, D.C. at the time of the attack. Paul Pelosi, 82, was attacked and hit on top of his head causing a skull fracture. The alleged assailant, David DePape told members of the San Francisco police department that he planned to talk to Speaker Pelosi if she had been home, and if she lied to him he was going to break her kneecaps, resulting in an injury that would serve as notice to other members of Congress.

So, how did Republicans react to the tragedy of an 82 year old man being attacked in his sleep in his own home? They had fun with it!

Virginia’s Governor, Glenn Youngkin joked that on Election Day, voters were going to send the Speaker home to be with her husband. At the time of the comment, the Speaker’s husband was undergoing surgery in a California hospital.

Kari Lake, the GOP candidate for governor in Arizona, while campaigning and lying about violent crime in the state, joked that the Speaker has security when she’s in D.C., but apparently her house doesn’t have much protection.

Of course, the Republicans in attendance at Lake’s campaign event howled in laughter. Yes, these people are deplorable — and vile.

And, of course, no instance of vile and deplorable behavior is complete without the inclusion of one of the Trump idiots. #2 idiot, Donald Trump, Jr., tweeted a picture of a hammer and a pair of men’s underwear with the caption, “Got My Paul Pelosi Halloween Costume Ready.”

Blackface – Political Felony or Misdemeanor?

As Virginia continues to reel from allegations of racism and sexual assault on the part of their statewide elected leaders, political analysts and honest politicians (the list is unfortunately short) begin to weigh whether decades-old misdeeds should be considered in the same context as if the events were remotely contemporary.

One of America’s most respected political analysts, Charlie Cook, ponders whether a 35-year old picture of Governor Ralph Northam, allegedly dressed in either blackface or wearing the costume of a Ku Klux Klansman requires his resignation or removal from office.

In a February 7, 2019 column, Washington Post Opinion Writer, Jennifer Rubin, weighs-in with an assist from Cook.

Is there a distinction between Northam’s blackface scandal (as a young adult, admitted and then denied) and Herring’s (in college, profusely apologized although he never brought it up before)?

Charlie Cook, writing before Herring’s story broke, observed:

“There is a legitimate debate over what misdeeds are the political equivalent of misdemeanors and ought to be survivable, which ones are political felonies and should be dealt with in a more punitive way, and which ones are in effect, political capital offenses. And is there a statute of limitations, or does that depend on the severity of the offense? Northam’s case is arguably worse than Herring’s, in large part because of the lack of a consistent and credible account, but if he departs, that shouldn’t determine whether Herring should stay or go,

Charlie Cook, quoted in the Washington Post, 3/7/2019

Walter T. Kenney, 1930 – 2019

Walter Thomas Kenney, son of Jacob Kenney and Lois Moore Kenney, was born in Henrico County, Virginia on December 3, 1930. Walter began his career as a postal clerk in Richmond, before later being elected by members of the American Postal Workers Union (APWU), AFL-CIO, in the states of Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and the District Columbia to a position on the union’s national executive board.

Appointed Mayor in 1990 by members of the Richmond City Council, Kenney faithfully served the citizens of Virginia’s capital city for two terms.

Walter T. Kenney Sr., a labor leader who made history as a member of the first black majority on the Richmond City Council before making racial reconciliation a priority as mayor, died early Monday in a local hospital. He was 88.

Richmond Times-Dispatch, January 28, 2019

“Over an 18-year career of council service to his fellow citizens, Kenney broke down barriers and trailblazed a new way for us to build a more just and equitable city, and government,” Stoney said. “We are grateful for his leadership during this important era of change, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family today.”

Levar Stoney, Mayor of Richmond, Virginia

Kenney is survived by daughters Wilma Kenney Battle and Marvette Kenney, and a son, Walter T. Kenney, Jr.. He was preceded in death by his wife, Mamie Mallory Kenney.

 He was a fine elegant man who exuded class. My condolences to his family.

Rob Strunk, former Clerk Division Director, APWU

Virginia Committee Kills Bill to Allow Local Control of Confederate Monuments

Sen. Jennifer Wexton (D)

Senate Bill 444, the Memorial for Veterans bill, introduced in the Virginia Senate by Senator Jennifer T. Wexton:

Provides that a locality may remove, relocate, or alter a war monument or memorial, regardless of when erected.

The Committee on Local Government, comprised of 7 Republicans and 6 Democrats voted along party lines to “Pass by indefinitely” Wexton’s bill.  The 7 Republicans voting to kill the bill were Senators Stanley, Hanger, DeSteph, Dunnavant, Chase, Sturtevant, and Carrico.  Voting “no” on the motion to kill the bill were Democrats Marsden, Favola, Lewis, Surovell, McPike, and McClellan.

SB 444 would have stricken language passed in the Virginia legislature in 1890.

If such are erected, it shall be unlawful for the authorities of the locality, or any other person or persons, to disturb or interfere with any monuments or memorials so erected, or to prevent its citizens from taking proper measures and exercising proper means for the protection, preservation and care of same. For purposes of this section, “disturb or interfere with” includes removal of, damaging or defacing monuments or memorials, or, in the case of the War Between the States, the placement of Union markings or monuments on previously designated Confederate memorials or the placement of Confederate markings or monuments on previously designated Union memorials.

Wexton, a Democrat, represents parts of Fairfax and Loudon counties, and was elected to the Virginia Senate in 2014. Wexton is a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2018, challenging the incumbent, Republican Barbara Comstock.