Verdict in: Marrs bigotry “out of bounds”

From one end of Virginia’s political spectrum to the other, from Kaine to Kilgore, individuals, groups and organizations yesterday denounced the Marrs fundraising letter. (See Schapiro piece in today’s T-D). To all of them–Bravo! Will this be the end of such bigotry? No. But it helps. It is a starting point. And it started here, with the Jim Bacon post.

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  1. Jim Bacon Avatar
    Jim Bacon

    Kudos to Kilgore. It’s no surprise that the Tim Kaine and Russell Potts campaign denounced Marrs’ letter, but it took some backbone for the Kilgore campaign to do so. Stated Tim Murtaugh, Kilgore’s press secretary: “We think the personal attacks should be out of bounds. There are ample opportunities to highlight policy differences, and it should stay in that arena.”

  2. Anonymous Avatar

    Oh good grief. The donor had given to many Kilgore allies. What was he supposed to do?

    And am I really supposed to believe that skeptical and savvy Jim Bacon takes seriously and quotes approvingly a PRESS SECRETARY saying that “personal attacks should be out of bounds.” Seriously Jim, tell me that you didn’t actually read something like that and take it seriously in a political campaign. It’s enough that Kilgore didn’t simply stay silent on the issue: you don’t have to dignify a standard butt-covering clause from a press-sec that no one could possibly take seriously by quoting it approvingly.

    The statement is basically there to cover right-flank issues but explaining that Kilgore’s unwillingness to attack gay donors is a principle of decorum (a principle that will be respected, of course, at no other point in the campaign and everyone knows it), not an unwillingness to criticize homosexuality. They are skating a thin political line. Again, credit for not dodging the issue, but only a naive layman could see it as a proud taking of an unusual stand.

  3. Anonymous Avatar

    I seriously need to remove some of the “seriouslyies” in that last post. Seriously.

  4. Will Vehrs Avatar
    Will Vehrs

    I knew someone would come along and question the sincerity of the Kilgore response.

    In the partisan atmosphere that exists today, some people refuse to believe anything anyone from the other side of the aisle says. Apologies and denounciations are routinely demanded and received, but they never seem to come quickly enough and they are never comprehensive enough to satisfy some people.

    It’s almost refreshing that Marrs is refusing to back down from his indefensible characterization. He could get down on his hands and knees to apologize and grovel and it still wouldn’t be enough for some people.

    Nobody wants to admit they’ve done a stupid, mean-spirited thing. I suspect more people would admit they’ve done such a thing if that would be the end of it.

    Decide to vote against the guy and do what you can to elect his opponent. Don’t keep beating the baby seal.

  5. Waldo Jaquith Avatar
    Waldo Jaquith

    I put this in the same category as Tom DeLay’s reversal on stem cell research. Is it a serious belief on the part of the candidate, or a calculated move? I don’t care. It’s both the right thing and the unpopular thing (within their own circles), and I’m not interested in criticizing either DeLay or Kilgore for their much-needed stances.

  6. Anonymous Avatar

    “I knew someone would come along and question the sincerity of the Kilgore response.”

    Will, I gave credit. Kilgore didn’t write the letter, he could have simply ignored the issue (it’s not like he has, will, or even should have to denounce every crazy thing someone from his party does).

    But don’t expect me to believe that YOU think “personal attacks are out of bounds” is a deeply sincere or meaningful statement in a race where virtually the entire content of the campaign has and will rest on basically making your opponent out to be a shady character. And don’t demean yourself by pretending that there isn’t a slice of Republican base that isn’t happy with being soft on homosexuals and that Kilgore’s press secretary wouldn’t want craft statements to divert their potential ire. That’s the entire point of her job for goodness sake.

  7. Walt Ball Avatar
    Walt Ball

    He should have ignored the issue. Kilgore can’t win on this issue. Even with this statement from his campaign, dissenters will always say it wasn’t enough and his base will think that he’s lost his mind. It’s a loose/loose. There was nothing to gain by making this statement except for his policy staff that thinks we live in the land of flowers and sprinkles and all things nice!

  8. Will Vehrs Avatar
    Will Vehrs

    Anonymous, you wrote one sentence of credit, many sentences challenging the sincerity. Why not say it was the right thing to do, then watch the campaign to see if this was just some hack going through the motions, or if more care is taken to avoid personal attacks?

    Waldo, don’t you mean Frist?

  9. Anonymous Avatar

    Will, if people like Jim had said “Kilgore did the right thing here” and left it at that, I wouldn’t bat an eyelash.

    But it’s approvingly quoting the “no personal attacks” thing as if it was to be taken seriously that galls me. You hear this sort of statement all the time in campaigns and no one EVER means it. Are you honestly claiming that Kilgore’s campaign has been a positive, non-personal one so far? Can you really tell me that it’s even plausible that it will be in the future? I’m not saying Kaine is any better, but good grief, just don’t insult my intelligence by telling me that Kilgore’s defense of a valuable state Republican donor is some bucking the trend bourne out of an inspiring leader’s dedication to positive campaigning.

  10. Steven Avatar

    A lot can happen in a week. I’m still recovering from the ‘Back-to-Reality’ flight from the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas.

    Hmm, then I read about the land of sprinkles and flowers…

    Is that located in Warnerland or the Planet Marrs?

    Honestly, I don’t understand how any individual could see a downside to Jerry Kilgore’s campaign reaction to Marrs… He did the right thing to speak out against the Marrs’ letter.

    Marrs was wrong to promote civil discord with the issue. He obviously cherry picks from the social menu what voters choose to believe and not believe.

    ~ the blue dog

  11. Anonymous Avatar

    “Honestly, I don’t understand how any individual could see a downside to Jerry Kilgore’s campaign reaction to Marrs”

    Again: I didn’t see a downside in it. I saw something ridiculous in the near beautification of something that makes obvious political sense coupled with the celebration of one of the most common and meaningless of political pufferies: the call for decorum and sticking to the issues.

  12. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    I didn’t comment yesterday on this issue, but decided to finally do so today. The point for me is what is the ‘bigotry’ from the original post.

    First, a digression. In 2000 in the conservative 1st Cong District, Paul Jost was leading a field of 5 or so. Mike Rothfeld was number 2 (I believe) in the polls and Jo Ann Davis was number 3. Mike attacked Paul for supporting homosexual issues when he lived in Alexandria. The tone was strident to say the least. The result was a huge drop in the polls for both and win for Jo Ann on election day. So, even though campaigns from both parties and independents go to rhetorical excesses for personal characterizations continuously, there is something to be said for Virginia voters stomach for it – and preference for a more lady-like and gentlemanly discussion of issues. Not that many pols will listen.

    Back to the issue. If mentioning the donor’s homosexuality was bigotry, I’d like to know what is and isn’t bigotry. Everyone knows the point the candidate was trying to make. Got it. But, which adjectives, if truthful, are bigotry? If you mention the person’s race, religion, national origin, Yankeeness, sexual behavior (including adultery, pedophilia, incest, bestiality, etc), accent, education, intelligence, wealth, wife and family, or affliation with the Nazis, Klan, Commies, or ACLU – what constitutes bigotry?

    I can find many words, like un-necessary, offensive, rude, etc for including any adjective from the above list, but I am don’t see how it reaches ‘bigotry’.

    The left and the right call each other names all the time. Most are over the top. What adjectives are bigotry and what are not?

  13. Waldo Jaquith Avatar
    Waldo Jaquith

    He should have ignored the issue. Kilgore can’t win on this issue.

    You’re absolutely right, in terms of Kilgore strategery (that’s a word now, you know), and that’s precisely what I like so much about it. It gains Kilgore nothing, and he may well lose something for it. Those are the two hallmarks of a principled stand.

    Waldo, don’t you mean Frist?

    You’re quite right — DeLay has not reversed his position at all on the matter, it’s Frist of whom I’m thinking.

  14. Anonymous Avatar

    Maybe the Kilgore camp should stop concerning itself with the Marrs campaign and start to worry about what the SCV is going to do to them. It seems that the people running the show over there did not learn much from the Mark Earley loss.

  15. Anonymous Avatar

    Oh no, is Kilgore paying insufficient attention to the LOST CAUSE? Does he not genuflect at the mention of the sainted Lee’s name? Are the Sons of Confederate Veterans (some people might not catch that acronym) preparing another Pickett’s Charge against a Republican candidate who might actually have some respect for Lincoln rather than Davis? They should count their blessings that Mark Earley didn’t call them what they really are, and be careful it doesn’t happen this time.

  16. Walt Ball Avatar
    Walt Ball

    Waldo, I can’t believe I agree with you on this, but “strategery” as you say (and yes I have to chuckle) is definately not on our side. The good news for Jerry though, is it really isn’t on ya’lls side either. Thank God. Like I’ve said from the begining, the camp that will win this race will simply have screwed up less than the other. Sad ‘aint it?
    Anon 10:12 – One doesn’t have to prefer Davis over Lincoln to be “pro SCV.” As a matter of fact, lets face it, the enlisted men and junior officers of the Southern armies went to war for different reasons than the Generals and parasite politicians like Davis & Stephens did. And that is worth honoring, just as any common soldier’s sacrifice is worth appreciating.

  17. I know we started somewhere else, but, although I grew up with Lee and Jackson as my heroes (a status that they retain today), I would prefer to see more emphasis on “Civil War” history and a lot less on “Confederate” history.
    Virginia was the central battle zone of the War, both sides fought bravely here. I wouldn’t be surprised if virginians today include nearly as many who descended from Union veterans as from Confederate veterans. Many folks came to Virginia after the war and have no direct geneological connection with either side. Our unfortunate position as the crucible of that war means that our land is drenched in profound historical significance, but I find it unnecessarily narrow to focus on “Confederate” history month etc, as opposed to a balanced commemoration of the impact of the War on the nation as a whole. Finally, I think both Davis and Stephens deserve a bit better than to be classed as “parasite politicians.” I say that without any intent to dishonor the common soldier’s sacrifice. But both men sacrificed a great deal in a losing cause.

  18. Anonymous Avatar

    You folks missed the point of my comment. The SCV, a.k.a. the invisible empire, made a political threat against the Kilgore campaign, saying they are going to do to him what they did to Earley. That is very reminiscent of the cowards in white sheets and needs to be examined a bit more closely. My confederate heritage is spotless, but my family shame also includes the Klowns and even idle chit chat on anonymous blogs needs a little sunshine.

  19. Anonymous Avatar

    Just came across this. Sen. Allen criticized a fellow Republican a few years back for the same, hateful campaigning. Does Sen. Allen have anything to say about Del. Marrs letter?

    George Allen critized Senator Martinez (FL) last year: Allen, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Campaign (, is still clearly backing Martinez and his bid for the U.S. Senate but he’s clearly bothered by the tactics used in the closing days by Martinez’s campaign on his biggest rival, Bill McCollum.
    In the waning days of the campaign Martinez accused McCollum of favoring the “radical homosexual lobby” by co-sponsoring hate crimes legislation when he was the House.

  20. Walt Ball Avatar
    Walt Ball

    Sorrell: You are quite right sir about both sides needing to be told. Strangely, my ancestors split down the middle on the war. Four ancestors fought in grey and three in Blue. All except one of them were from the South. It was a $h!tty war and that makes the sacrifice even more notable, ecspecially on the homefront. But this is Virginia Sorrell, not Mass. or Vermont, or other loyal states untouched by the scars of war. Here and across the South, (for those of us really from the South and fortunate enough to have listened to the Old folks when we were younger) the reminder of an unjust “reconstruction” and siezed and destroyed lands lingers with some folks. I am respectful of that. I agree, it ALL needs to be taught. Unfortunately, today, in the schools, and in the media, these folks who sacrificed two lifetimes ago are vilified. A Confederate Heritage/History Month, evens the playing field, just a little.

  21. I doubt we disagree much on this, Walt. My ancestors also had a similar split Union men and “Sothrons”. My quibble is that I find the term “Confederate” inappropriately limiting in the context of what happened here 140 years ago. Why would we not be more accurate and descriptive to have a “Civil War History Month”? It really was a defining moment in America’s overall national history and, unfortunately for Virginia, the dogs of war were mostly loosed here (with all respect due to Tennessee, Mississippi, and Georgia). The hardships of reconstruction you speak of had no direct “confederate” element. By then the Confederacy was dead. Virginians today are a complex mix of descendants of yanks and rebs, as well as a very substantial component (if not the majority) whose ancestors weren’t even here in 1861-1865. I would like those folks to share your and my sense of the profound impact of the War Between the States. I think they are more likely to be open to that experience if it is not labelled as a “Confederate” experience. As important and heroic as were many of the men who bore arms for the Confederacy, they are just part of the more extensive and profound national experience that should not be forgotten.

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