My first thought reading this was, “Wow, Ralph Northam’s people are trying to blow up the guy who’s in line to succeed him so that Northam can keep his job.” But no, turns out this allegation has been floating around for a year or so. Conceivably it was Northam’s people who revived it this weekend to protect the governor but there’s evidence of it and no reason to think it originated with him when it first came to the media’s attention.
Anyway, tell me if this sounds familiar. A west-coast professor contacts the Washington Post claiming that a Washington-area man on the cusp of assuming an exalted job in government sexually assaulted her years ago. The Post starts investigating but can’t substantiate it. There is, as far as we know, no contemporaneous corroboration of an assault. Nonetheless the woman’s claim trickles into the media anyway as the man’s political enemies scramble for dirt to sink his career at a fateful moment.
“You have the right to be believed,” said the reigning Democratic nominee to women about sexual assault in 2015. Justin Fairfax — guilty until proven innocent?
— Justin Fairfax (@LGJustinFairfax) February 4, 2019
Big League Politics has details about the alleged accuser. The evidence is so thin that I’m surprised Fairfax chose to acknowledge that the Post has been sniffing around about this instead of trying to delegitimize it as a “hit job” by opposition media or whatever. The allegation came to BLP second-hand, from someone claiming to be a friend of the alleged accuser who passed along a screenshot of a text that purportedly came from her. The text itself never even mentions Fairfax by name, although the details given do seem to point to him.
He’s in roughly the same position at this moment as Kavanaugh was after Christine Blasey Ford first came forward. There’s no hard evidence that he did anything wrong — but the left-wing argument against confirming Kavanaugh was that a “job interview” isn’t the same as a trial. No one’s saying Kavanaugh should be sent to prison based on Ford’s evidence, they insisted, merely that he be denied a position to which he’s not entitled. The circumstances are different in Fairfax’s case in that, as the duly elected lieutenant governor, he *is* entitled to be governor if Northam resigns. But that feels like a distinction without a meaningful difference: The left’s point in Kavanaugh’s case was that we can always find an equally qualified public servant for a top job who doesn’t have a cloud of sexual misconduct hanging over him. The same logic could apply to Fairfax. Step aside and let Northam appoint a less controversial official to be lieutenant governor.
We can trust Ralph Northam’s good judgment in that endeavor, can’t we?
Speaking of which, a juicy tidbit from WaPo:
The source of the tip [about Northam’s yearbook photo] appears to have been a medical school classmate or classmates of Northam who acted as a direct result of the abortion controversy that erupted earlier in the week, according to two people at Big League Politics, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.
“The revelations about Ralph Northam’s racist past were absolutely driven by his medical school classmate’s anger over his recent very public support for infanticide,” one of the two said.
A not-unreasonable theory circulating on political Twitter this weekend was that it was Democrats who had dropped a dime on Northam about the yearbook photo, wanting to make his infanticide controversy go away lickety split. But that never added up. A Dem operative would have gone to big media with the photo, not BLP. And since when are Democrats embarrassed about infanticide? Sure, the polling on late-term abortion is bad for them, but it’s not like making Northam disappear would end the controversy. There’s always smilin’ Andrew Cuomo up in New York pushing baby-killing at a woman’s convenience. The theory in the excerpt, that Northam’s abortion comments turned a med-school classmate against him, makes more sense.
Exit question via Jerry Dunleavy:
“WUSA9 along w/ WaPo & news outlets across Virginia knew about the claim for months & have not been able to corroborate the allegations.”
“For months”? So did they know about it before or after the uncorrobated allegations against Kavanaugh they ran with?https://t.co/A5wNlfi66N
— Jerry Dunleavy (@JerryDunleavy) February 4, 2019
Update: Actually, there is a notable difference between Kavanaugh and Fairfax. BLP has a photo of Fairfax’s accuser with Nancy Pelosi, suggesting she’s a Democrat. There’s no apparent partisan motive in this case.