In new remarks on Twitter this weekend, Washington Post columnist Karen Tumulty came to the conclusion that everyone who called on Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam to resign after his old blackface photo came to light was actually wrong to have done so. In a longer piece, the Washington Post Editorial Board went on to explain why they’d had a change of heart. As you might have guessed, it’s not because Northam came to some epiphany about the racism of his college days, it’s because he’s put into effect a bunch of meaningless, window-dressing apology policies that won’t do a thing to change a thing.
Liberalism in a nutshell, in other words.
“Back when a racist photo first surfaced in his medical school yearbook, most Va lawmakers, our editorial page (and yours truly) said @GovernorVA should resign. We were wrong,” Tumulty tweeted.
Northam, the editorial board declared, had managed to “come back from the political dead” by retraining “his governorship on racial equity and reconciliation in what amounted to an extended act of public contrition and atonement.”
Hmm, is that what happened? Because we remember when all of this went down, and that’s not the narrative we recall. What we recall is that a bunch of other Democrats in Virginia state office turned out to have blackface photos of their own (among other scandalous histories) and the media decided: Welp, we’re not going to go to war with our own people, so let’s just quietly drop it and go back to focusing on Donald Trump.
Hey look, the editorial basically admits as much: “It helped Mr. Northam that his potential Democratic successors were quickly enmeshed in their own scandals, which shifted the spotlight and forced his party to consider whether it would prefer a Republican governor. (It wouldn’t.)”
Read “his party” as “we in the media” and you have something approximating the truth.
Here are the policies that Northam has enacted that the Washington Post deem atonement enough for his prior misdeeds:
Most potent, it helped that he set himself an agenda on racial equity and pursued it single-mindedly. Scarcely a week or month has passed without Mr. Northam visiting a racially significant site, seeking out counsel from black leaders or announcing an initiative to advance racial justice. He hired Virginia’s, and possibly the nation’s, first state director of diversity, equity and inclusion. He established a commission to comb state law for racist language and provisions, much of it left over from the Jim Crow era. He ordered measures to expand access to state contracts for women- and minority-owned firms, to which less than 3 percent of state contracts were awarded a decade ago. He set up a commission to recommend reforms in the way black history is taught in Virginia’s public schools.
None of this nonsense, of course, will make one iota’s worth of difference to Virginia minorities. The Post could have just been really honest and admitted: Hey, this dude’s about to take away all the guns, and that makes him a modern left-wing hero! Who cares about racism at a time like this?
But then they would have to admit that they never cared about it in the first place, except as a cudgel with which to hammer Republicans.