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Virginia Fails at Basic Human Decency. Again.

As you’ve certainly heard by now, Bigot Extraordinare Rep. Bob Marshall and the clown show that is the Virginia GOP continued Virginia’s grand tradition of hatefulness when:

[T]he judicial nomination of Mr. Thorne-Begland, a former Navy fighter pilot who is gay, was sabotaged by an ugly campaign of homophobic bigotry led by Virginia Republicans. In a vote at 1 a.m. Tuesday, the GOP-dominated House of Delegates, with an avowed homophobe leading the charge, killed his candidacy, thereby ensuring that Virginia state courts remain free of openly gay judges.

The usual attempts to obfuscate and cast doubt upon the reasons behind the vote have quickly made their appearances, of course.  While Virginia’s got a well established tradition of narrow-mindedness and willingness to use the power of the state to discriminate, one thing it simply cannot stand is actually labeling these actions for what they are.  Waldo Jaquith does a great job of sorting out the vote here.


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  1. Yes, and the WaPo editorial is just chocked full of neutrality and non-bias. Talk about serving up the red meat.

    That aside, the Democrats would be in a much better position to stop the GOP bigotry if they had not so thoroughly ruined our already stumbling economy.

  2. MB,

    I did some looking this weekend and can’t find the defenses of this denial, other than “he violated his oath”, which is nonsense. So if there was good reason to reject Thorne-Begland, nobody has made it.

  3. MB

    I know, Andy, the Washington Post op-ed would be so much more acceptable if it had devoted a paragraph to pointing out just how disgusting gay people are, and that a lot of people (like the GOP!) find that a perfectly acceptable reason to treat someone as a second class citizen. Because truly, what’s important here is that an op-ed is *evenhanded*.


    The reason Thorne-Begland was rejected is pretty plain on its face. This is what the Virginia GOP does. And since acts like this gain approval from its supporters, they’ll keep doing it. It’s a core function of the Republican Party.

  4. The problem when you, and WaPo, start the slander against anybody is that you immediately put yourselves out as biased sources and therefore nothing you say can be taken at face value.

    In the post you say “The usual attempts to obfuscate and cast doubt upon the reasons behind the vote have quickly made their appearances”. So I looked around to see what the other side was saying because you were so obviously slanted. Turns out they aren’t offering much of an excuse. But I wouldn’t have even entertained their excuses had your post, and the WaPo, been more even handed.

  5. Andy, I can broadly sympathize with the discussion regarding even-handed language. Personally, I like data driven arguments where models/assumptions are explicit. Although this is a poor example — I interpret your language as concurring — since it is such an egregious example of bias: he was originally supported by several state Republicans including McDonnell if my memory is correct.

    Unfortunately, carefully constructed arguments are more time intensive for the writer and reader. Broadly, the pace of news is faster than the pace of full comprehension without applying our mental shortcuts — our models — of the world. Consequently, I think that we all choose between communicating an idea that is fast and easy to understand versus one that includes the nuances that matter in the real world.

  6. MB

    Curious, Andy. How would you have the Washington Post Op-Ed written?

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