Parts of Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s news conference on Saturday would have been funny if the event weren’t so serious.
One day after taking responsibility for being in a photo that featured a man in blackface and another dressed as a Klan member, the Virginia Democrat said the photo didn’t include him and that he’d never seen it before.
How did he know this was the case? Well, because he’d appeared in blackface a different time, as Michael Jackson in a dance competition.
Northam insisted he wasn’t going to resign. That remained the case as of Monday morning, although The Washington Post reported that Northam did hold a Sunday night staff meeting as his fellow Democrats — along with Republicans and pretty much everyone in between — called for him to step down. Options being discussed during the meeting included resignation.
Whether Northam ought to resign shouldn’t be based upon something 35 years old, although that certainly ought to play into consideration. The important thing is whether or not Northam has learned anything in the long interim.
We already know he doesn’t value human beings. That’s what started this entire mess — the fact that he had made comments strongly suggestive of infanticide when talking about abortion during labor during a radio appearance on on Wednesday.
All right, but abortion access at literally any point during pregnancy has become a matter of rigid dogma among the Democrats. What about taking racial obloquy seriously? Northam certainly seemed contrite enough during most of the news conference, although of course he did. Without total contrition, there was no way forward.
You could perhaps glimpse how how Northam really felt about the issue, however, when it came to why he had dressed as Michael Jackson in the first place.
Northam had said he’d donned blackface to appear as the singer because he could do his signature move, the Moonwalk.
All right, then: What would Northam do when asked by a reporter to duplicate his performance?
It doesn’t say much for the reporter that he actually asked this question, but it says a lot less for Northam when you see how he responded.
Video of when Ralph Northam gets asked by a reporter if he can still moonwalk. He looks around as if for space – only to be cut off by his wife who says, “inappropriate circumstances.” pic.twitter.com/jcV2VJCtoD
— andrew kaczynski (@KFILE) February 2, 2019
“My wife says ‘inappropriate circumstances,'” Northam said, touching his wife’s arm with a smile after he was talked out of doing the Moonwalk by the only sane person within a reasonable distance of a hot mic.
A patronizing reaction like this is what you do when you’re doing your impression of Spongebob Squarepants as a presidential candidate during a visit to TGI Friday’s and your spouse asks you to cut it out because you’re embarrassing your daughters.
This isn’t something you do when you’ve just admitted to impersonating Michael Jackson in blackface and a reporter with no sense of the moment asks you to freaking Moonwalk.
This is why I think Northam ought to resign. If you have to be talked out of impersonating Michael Jackson at a news conference where you’ve basically sabotaged any chance you might have had of saving face by admitting to improperly impersonating Michael Jackson, you obviously don’t get what you’re doing wrong.
Northam said on Saturday that he’d reconsider his decision against resigning if he couldn’t be effective. His own party is disowning him as fast as possible. Republicans already thought he should resign because of his appalling comments regarding the recently born and refusal to clarify them.
The governor can’t be effective, but he can hold on for dear life and hope he can somehow redeem himself.
As I’ve pointed out before, he doesn’t have the option of running for re-election in 2021 due to the fact Virginia doesn’t allow governors to seek consecutive terms. He can’t move up to the Senate since Virginia is represented by two Democrats who aren’t going anywhere.
He was never a viable candidate for president in 2020 and unless the corpse of Orval Faubus manages to win the 2020 Democrat nomination, he’s also not going to be in the talk for a veep slot.
However, let’s be clear here — the road to redemption over the next few years in office runs straight through contrition and not just for a short stretch. A man who even considers doing the Moonwalk in a context where it could be considered racist — committing a potentially racist act at a moment when the eyes of the country are on him — isn’t even slightly contrite.
Northam needs to resign, and he needs to resign immediately.
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