Mark Herring, Political Opportunist
Virginia Democrats are in trouble. They desperately need help.
So here’s a piece of free advice for the party: Keep your politicians off the radio.
Nothing good happens when one of these blockheads gets in front of a microphone.
Remember, it was Ralph Northam’s WTOP radio interview on January 30th - the repulsive one where he cooly described letting deformed babies die - that unleashed the biggest avalanche of political scandals in Virginia’s history.
There’s been speculation that it was one of his medical school classmates, disgusted by the governor’s off-hand infanticide comments, who leaked Northam’s yearbook page with its blackface/Klan photo to a conservative website on February 1.
What followed was a series of scandals that enveloped Virginia’s entire Democratic brain trust: Gov. Ralph Northam, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax and Attorney General Mark Herring.
Never one to learn from others’ mistakes, the sanctimonious Herring took to the WAMU airwaves on Monday to remind us that he’s both tone deaf and shameless.
Herring, you will recall, demanded Northam’s resignation shortly after the blackface scandal broke. That was just a couple of days before Herring admitted that he, too, had dabbled in shoe polish as a young man.
Asked by the radio interviewer on Monday if he still believes Northam should resign Herring spouted, well, gibberish.
Richmond Times-Dispatch reporter Patrick Wilson described it this way:
“Herring said Monday that it was more than just a photo that prompted his call for Northam's resignation.
Northam's contradictory accounts ‘led to an evaporation of a lot of trust, especially public trust in the people whose support he would need to be effective, which is when I came out with a statement about it,’ Herring said.”
Frankly, you can’t find another modern Virginia politician who’s changed positions more brazenly than Herring.
Let’s back up. In 2006, Virginia voters ratified a constitutional “Marriage Amendment” that prohibited gay marriage.
For the record, I voted against the measure. As a conservative, I believe constitutions should slap limits on the government, never on the people.
Herring, who apparently slept through constitutional law class, proudly voted FOR the marriage amendment.
Yet, as a craven finger-in-the-air politician, Herring decided in 2013 that the public mood had changed. He was running for AG when he announced that he no longer supported the constitutional amendment that he’d voted to ratify eight years earlier.
In other words, he was for the gay marriage ban before he was against it. In a Tweet on Monday, TD columnist Jeff Schapiro said Herring “flip-flopped” on same-sex marriage.
He certainly did. But in an interview with The Virginian-Pilot editorial board shortly before the election Herring pledged to find a way to defend the amendment he no longer supported against a lawsuit. That’s the job of the AG, after all. He or she is the peoples’ attorney.
But two weeks after Herring raised his right hand and swore to uphold the Virginia Constitution, he broke his campaign promise and announced that he was joining the plaintiffs in a suit against the state.
Here's what I wrote at the time:
“It's worth noting that when it was politically popular to do so, Herring voted for the marriage amendment. Now he says he's had a change of heart. Frankly, this looks more like a poll-driven opportunist at work...Herring's a 52-year-old lawyer, for heaven's sake. If the law is unconstitutional now, it was unconstitutional when he voted for it.
“What kind of attorney helps implement an unconstitutional measure and then changes his mind eight years later after discussions with his children, as he told an interviewer for NPR this week?
“Herring's kids know more about the law than he does? That's worrisome.
“Beyond naked political pandering, there's another term for Herring's actions: bait and switch.”
Herring’s engaged in similar chicanery now. With Justin Fairfax accused of rape, Herring no doubt believes he has a clear shot at the Democratic nomination for governor in three years.
First he has to figure out how to explain his blackface, after condemning Northam’s.
His best bet? Stay off the radio.