Remember Ralph Northam?
He’s still the governor of Virginia. He’s also the guy who got in a little bit of trouble for a bit of language that could reasonably be construed as supporting post-birth “abortion” — and then got in a lot of trouble for a medical school yearbook photo that showed a man in blackface together with someone dressed as a Klansman.
At first, Northam apologized for appearing in the photograph, then claimed that he hadn’t appeared in blackface in the photo — a fact which he knew because he’d appeared in blackface in a totally different context, as Michael Jackson during a dance competition.
And then the case disappeared from the headlines, as Democratic difficulties often do. And on Wednesday, an investigation into the photo from Eastern Virginia Medical School — where Northam graduated in 1984 — quietly concluded that nobody could really tell for sure whether or not it was Northam in the photo.
“No one we interviewed told us the governor was in the Photograph, and no one could positively state who was in the Photograph,” the report stated.
“In light of the Governor’s statements on February 2, 2019 that he had not seen the Photograph before, we sought to determine whether there is information that the Photograph was placed on his personal page in error or by any other means not at his direction,” it continued.
“Our inquiry in this regard was restricted by the passage of time and the dearth of contemporaneous documentation. While we have identified no information that the Photograph was placed on Governor Northam’s personal page in error or by any other means not at his direction, we could not conclusively determine the origin of the Photograph.”
Oh well, time to move onhttps://t.co/w65CFIERij
— Stephen Miller (@redsteeze) May 22, 2019
On his Thursday show, conservative radio icon Rush Limbaugh pointed out the obvious — this was how “Democrat investigations get closed out.”
“I don’t know if you’ve heard this or not,” Limbaugh said, adopting a Southern accent. “Ralph Northam, the governor of Virginia — who has admitted to posing in a yearbook for medical school in blackface, as in a minstrel show. He admitted it!
“He has been cleared of doing it by an investigative board at the school. Despite him admittin’ that he had done did it, the investigating board say he didn’t do it, and so case closed. Ralph Northam free now to kill babies after they born and did not appear in blackface in the yearbook,” Limbaugh continued.
“See how Democrat investigations get closed out? This Ralph Northam investigation just took a couple of months, and — even though he admitted that he did it — the investigative body said, nope, he didn’t do it, and the investigation is over.”
Technically speaking, the report didn’t clear Northam of the charges he appeared in the photo, but tepid statements about the fact Northam originally claimed he had appeared in the photograph — “The Governor himself has made inconsistent public statements in this regard” — were about as far as the authors of the report were willing to go in that regard.
Limbaugh went on to mock the report further in his Southern accent, noting that Eastern Virginia Medical School “did an investigation and cannot conclude if Northam was indeed the person in blackface in the photo, even though Northam said it was himself. So based on this investigation, the story is now over. Northam is free and clear to kill babies after they have done been born — and he also, at the same time, is not a flaming racist.
“See how the Democrats handle these things, circle the wagons, just like when Dan Rather got his comeuppance here,” Limbaugh continued. “They gave him an award and saved the business.”
Rather wasn’t an elected official, but the basic idea was intact. Rather, like Northam, is One Of Them™. Thus, any faux pas — major or minor — can eventually be smoothed over with time.
Northam can’t run for governor again, given that Virginia does not allow consecutive terms for the state’s chief executive.
Both of the state’s Democratic senators are likely to want to keep their seats for the foreseeable future, meaning that he doesn’t really have much chance of falling upward.
However, don’t assume his future involves finishing out his time in office and skulking back to his career as (unbelievably) a pediatric neurologist.
Yes, he appeared in blackface once. Given his original admission, it’s likely enough he did it twice — at least. But he says the right things and supports the right causes.
He’s one Planned Parenthood award away from rehabilitation. Heck, if Dr. Leana Wen decides to step down as president of the organization, Northam could make a plausible replacement. After all, he certainly seems to support abortion rights far beyond where most other politicians do.
This is how investigations of Democrats get closed out. If Northam were a Republican, he quite rightly have been pressured out of office by now. And if he’d remained, that pressure would be constant — as it should be.
Now, all of the voices demanding Northam step down have gone away and a desultory report from his medical school couldn’t even determine who was in the photograph or submitted it to the yearbook.
He’s on the comeback trail, baby. Maybe he can even safely break out that Moonwalk now.
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