Catholic Bashing No Disqualification for Northam?

Gail Gordon Donegan and Unidentified Friend

by Steve Haner

Try this thought experiment. Imagine a headline in the state capitol newspaper reading: “Appointee’s posts disparage Republicans and others on the web.” Or swap Democrats for Republicans.  Would anybody bat an eye?

Instead, of course, the story in the Richmond Times Dispatch is about Governor Ralph Northam’s recent appointment of a vicious Catholic-hating Democratic activist from Alexandria to the Virginia Council on Women. If her appointment is not withdrawn and her rhetoric not repudiated by first Mass on Sunday morning, shame on Governor Northam.   

Whoever vetted the appointment should go with her. If reporter Patrick Wilson found all his examples, or they were fed to him within a short time, there no excuse for the Secretary of the Commonwealth missing them. One must assume the office did not. This should blow up into as large a blot on Northam’s record as the yearbook photo and his dithering responses, some of which must have been lies.

Let’s see what happens. I’m not betting this makes the New York Times or the NBC Nightly News, where it should be prominently reported, followed by mirror and navel gazing all around. Check out the photo easily found on line. Clearly most Democrats are not offended by her rhetoric, not even if they themselves are Catholic. I bet she survives.

Because, seriously, would anybody’s appointment be in jeopardy if the on-line insults had been hurled at the other political party, especially the extreme ends of those parties? No. That’s how bad political discourse has gotten nationally, and now in Virginia. As I was going through her attacks, I recalled plenty of similar examples from plenty of political blogs.

Would anybody be disqualified for a Democratic appointment by directing “F-ck off and die” to Corey Stewart or even President Trump, as she did to a Catholic author? Would the Trump Administration reject somebody who is using that rhetoric toward Antifa activists or illegal immigrants or the chair of an investigating committee? Not when the President himself is down in that behavioral basement.

This is only a story because she says and writes these things about Catholics and the Catholic Church. If the same insults were hurled at Islam, the response might be, no problem, when can you start in the job? The insults are not acceptable hurled at anyone. As the downward spiral continues, we either speak up or share the blame. Dump her, Governor.

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23 responses to “Catholic Bashing No Disqualification for Northam?

  1. The irony of the photo you selected, which I assume was deliberate, is that the “unidentified friend” is himself Catholic, and quite open about it.

  2. Wait, I thought the RTD was being bashed here in BR on a regular basis as being a lying left wing rag!

    I don’t know and never heard of this lady but if the charges against her are true – I agree – she should not be in a govt role.

    It seems now days – that one’s personal history is much more easily dredged up especially if they have been active on social media – and to be honest – if it is the truth and factual – so be it. None of us are perfect beings and have done things in our lives that we are not proud of but if we aspire to roles where we supposedly represent others – our self-admitted prejudices are fair game.

    These days, anyone who is being considered for a govt or high profile position probably needs an independent 3rd party look at their background. It could be that Northam and company thought this would fly below the radar – and they mis-calculated.

    By the way, does anyone here remember the Harriet Miers debacle in the Bush administration?

    • In our on-going lessons here about fallacy and its uses in rhetoric, what Larry just did is called a “red herring.” What possible relevance does this have to Bush’s efforts, rejected, to appoint Miers to the Supreme Court? She was not rejected for having defamed anybody or having displayed extreme religious bigotry, but on the basis of lack of qualifications.

      • Oh, it was dead on – another case of not vetting properly and it’s like a disease with Trump and company, no?

      • Steve – Many elected politicians end up with having the job of appointing folks to positions and at least some of it is to “reward” someone who worked to support them – and it’s fairly common for folks to be recommended who were not vetted and/or were but their warts were hidden or even made known and an improper decision made.

        I AGREE that Northam has comitted this error is the facts are born out but it’s not like he’s the first guy who ever did such a thing.

        it’s pretty much par for the course for most administrations.

        the real issue is how many times do they make this error. Is it a “one-off” or a many-times repeated pattern.

        Give it a break Steve.. you’re partisan stripes are glowing… !!! Govt, left and right has a good number of folks who – for various reasons – both professional and personal are not appropriate. It’s not a “left-only” thing.

        • This is about abusive, vile on-line rhetoric. I made the point that both sides are all too accepting of it, and this only even drew notice because it’s about Catholics. I even took a shot at Trump for it. And yet you accuse me of not noting its a general deterioration. You are the hopeless partisan, Larry. You are the cheering mob enabling this behavior. And you are trying to change the subject (….red herring.)

          • Geeze Steve – I do NOT “cheer” this kind of behavior. It is repulsive but unfortunately it’s not owned by left or right and we’ve seen it across the board in left and right politics as well as corporate and even NGOs.

            It is what it is and you were right to call it out but then you piled out with the blackface thing .. and that’s what made it more than just a non-paritsan comment.

            AND , I AGREE with you – just pointing out that this kind of thing happens across the spectrum and it’s not something that’s typical of only Dems like Northam.

            And I see Dicks comment below and totally agree with it.

            In other/different venues – there would be accusations of folks attempting to limit her “free speech”… but as Dick points out and I agree – the difference between “politically correct” and this is the role the person is assuming and roles that involve representing other entities than your own self – they matter more than ever, these days.

            But I STILL say that this is about vetting the candidate – on a variety of issues – beyond just mouthing off inappropriately.

            And … as we see – no one from the POTUS to the Gov of Virginia is without flaws.

  3. Republicans in Chesapeake hid the fact that they were Republicans and dogged the only person in charge of and working for a petition to move elections from May to November.
    I have the city council in a bind with the email I wrote to them. They know the people and what went on. I have proof that 2/3rds of the ones speaking were Republicans and council members were friendly with them and knew it.
    This is not the only time this has happened. They did it last year and also did it with a person who worked in the public info office to be the only one speaking on an issue. The other 30+ people and I got dissed and couldn’t speak.

  4. No one that has such a public potty mouth should be appointed to a public position. I know, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, and others used crude language in private, but that is different. I despair that our public discourse had descended into the gutter this much.

    She is perfectly free to criticize the Catholic Church, but not in such crude, insulting language. Imagine if the shoe were on the other foot and a Republican governor’s appointee had such a record regarding Jews or Muslims.

    • I agree Dick and truth be known – there are folks among us who have those views. Some of them more or less keep them to themselves but others have to “express” themselves and in this era of social media – once you do that – you are pretty much COOKED to perform any role where supposedly you represent all folks of all kinds and finding out that you actually do not believe that in your heart-of-hearts – well that’s disqualifying and the fact that Northam and staff did not do a thorough enough vetting to find this out – is on them – not the end of the world and not proof that Northam is a “leftist” or other – just that he did screw up … and in the end – yes. – he better dump her… or he’ll lose more support -including mine (but I’m pretty sure he never had Steve’s support to stat with) 😉

  5. As a lapsed Catholic I am not sure what the buzz is here. In my opinion, the Church has a lot to answer for, especially sex abuse. If she’s guilty if anything it is bad language so bad in the Trump era which this blog never addresses

  6. One more thing. When i was at my Jesuit high school, i asked my Jesuit English teacher what he actually taught. His reply:
    “Manners and the system. On my best days, English.”

  7. You make my point, Peter. I’m baying at the moon. To expect any better in today’s environment was simple foolishness on my part, just cranky old guy behavior. It is just where the country is. Sorry to have brought it up. (And that teacher’s comment is true of most high schools, not just religious ones.)

    And Larry, in days gone by I had a good personal and professional relationship with Northam. No, I didn’t vote for him, but on a personal level greatly admired him. He was a regular guest at the shipyard. You may recall that in the immediate aftermath of the revelations, while he was floundering for a story he could stick to, I posted here to say it was the kind of ancient, youthful mistake that proved we all had feet of clay, and forgiveness was in order. But in the period since I don’t think he is being honest about it, and that has dampened my respect.

    Him aside, my point was that this kind of nasty behavior is just par for the course across the board. It would be wonderful if I could point and say, see how the Dem’s behave? But the Republicans accept the same and worse and respond as Peter does, “well I think (fill in the blank) has much to answer for.”

  8. IMHO the Church could avoid a lot if problems if it allowed priests to marry and let women br priests

  9. I love my fellow commentators on Bacon’s Rebellion. Upper crust products of private schools who value erudition and the clever turn of a phrase over sharp comment. Sometimes when I close my eyes to sleep I dream of what my world might have been had I only attended a toffy private school. Then I awaken, sit bolt upright in a cold sweat and vomit on myself.

    Ralph Northam is a giant bag of dog crap. Coonman T Blackface is a racist asshat, a practiced liar and dumb as a stump. In other words, a perfect example of the upper crust of the southeast aristocracy that has been ruining this state for centuries. Now he appoints an Anti-Catholic bigot to a prestigious state position? Sorry to all the fops and dandies out there but Ralph Northam is an ass****, pure and simple.

    • Congrats, Don, you are now fully qualified for a board appointment in the next Republican administration. May be a while….and who went to a private school? Not me or anybody in my family (well, one cousin has a Duke degree..)

      • Well I do write most of Trump’s tweets for him. Several of the commentators here have waxed poetic about their private high schools. I’m sure they received a great education. My commentary should be seen as a “trigger warning” ….

        1. Trigger warning – I am an ignorant sloth from the public schools who will probably hurl ad hominem attacks laced with vile language …
        2. Ralph Northam is a giant bag of dog crap.

        And some of the progressives on here think I don’t understand trendy concepts like trigger warnings.

  10. But some good news … now we know the name of the woman standing next to Governor Coonman in klan robes on that yearbook photo.

  11. Ripper, northam disappoints
    But he ain’t got nothing on Bob Mcdonnell. I covered his trial for a news service for six weeks. Yipes!

    • I don’t know. I’d love to read a retrospective on that from you. As time goes by it seems to me that McDonnell really wasn’t doing anything new. He and the governors who preceded him all took truckloads of gifts from special interests. McDonnell’s mistake was getting into cahoots with a guy the Feds were watching. That gave slimy Eric Holder a false reason to prosecute a rising force in the GOP. A judge married to a political adversary of McDonnell handed out jury instructions that seemed to me to be judicial malpractice. Then the entire US Supreme Court slapped the spit out of Holder (metaphorically speaking, of course) with the unanimous ruling.

      Are Virginia politics the most corrupt politics of any state? I think so. Did the “McDonnell Affair” somewhat force Virginia politicians to be a little less sleazy? I think so. Was McDonnell doing anything materially different from his predecessors. I think not.

      But something tells me Slimy Eric may not have wriggled completely free of the web he wove. Rumors are circulating that AG Barr is going deep on those FISA warrants. Loretta Lynch ought to be doing internet searches on countries that don’t have extradition treaties with the United States right now. Maybe Slimy Eric too. One thing for sure … Comey will rat so fast your eyes will spin.

  12. Ripper. That’s one hell of a conspiracy theory. Maybe right although it did show mcd’s humbling weakness. I covered the trial for bloomberg and coverage got really wide interest globally. The selling point was a love triangle involving a former Redskins cheerleader, not local politics. Drove Asian derivatives traders crazy.

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