Brett Kavanaugh could not be reached for comment. Former senator and one-time Democratic VP nominee Joe Lieberman tells CNN’s Jim Sciutto that the feeding frenzy around Virginia governor (for now) Ralph Northam fails to take his whole life in context. “There’s a rush to judgment,” Lieberman says, and says he doesn’t think Northam should resign — not without getting some answers first:
Fmr. Independent Sen. @JoeLieberman tells @jimsciutto "there's a rush to judgement" around Gov. Northam, adding that he needs to explain if he knew about the picture and "be judged in the context of his whole life" https://t.co/QIVfUHvDRl pic.twitter.com/VpWIVUuyJT
— CNN Newsroom (@CNNnewsroom) February 4, 2019
“I think he deserves a chance to prove what really is his essence,” Lieberman concludes, “not to rush him out of office.” That makes Lieberman a caucus of one in the Democratic Party, however. While some other Democrats didn’t explicitly call for Northam’s resignation — including Virginia’s two senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine – Lieberman’s the first to suggest he should stick around a while and try to seek redemption. Other than Northam himself, that is.
Newly minted presidential candidate Cory Booker speaks for the rest of the party. Redemption is at hand, Booker argues, but the people of Virginia don’t have to keep Northam around while he seeks it. “Being governor of a state is not an entitlement,” Booker tells CBS This Morning:
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) February 4, 2019
Neither is being a senator, but we notice that Booker’s colleague from New Jersey Robert Menendez still remains in the upper chamber. Shouldn’t he also resign from office to seek redemption for the corrupt acts he committed while in office, not in 1984?
Nevertheless, Charles C. W. Cooke agrees with Lieberman — in theory, anyway. The rules should make it clear that this is “abhorrent,” but it’s also from 35 years ago and has nothing to do with the way Northam has acted as governor. However, Cooke notes, these are the rules Democrats demand:
The rules that would save Northam are those that are coveted by a conservative libertarian guy who loathes mobs, who believes broadly in redemption, and who resents the relentless flattening of categories that social media renders quotidian. But they are not the rules by which the contemporary Democratic party lives; they are not the rules cherished by the progressive movement that is at present ascendant within that party; and, judging by his disgraceful behavior during the 2017 gubernatorial election, they are not the rules by which Ralph Northam plays, either. Surely, that has to matter? Again: I think that there is a creditable case against Northam’s resigning — or, at least, I think that there was before he muddied the waters. Whatever his past mistakes, he is quite obviously not a white supremacist, and, whatever the hell he was doing in college, he quite obviously is not that man today. But, again: I am not of his party. I haven’t taken its money, accepted its votes, or sought to inflict its Catechism. If our politics are to work, there have to be some consequences to signing on to an agenda, to a worldview, to an outlook, to a set of tactics, as Northam has — and those consequences can’t just be reserved for the other party.
It’s tough to disagree. If Democrats want those rules, and they surely did during the Brett Kavanaugh hearings when the allegations were not just unproven but actively and vociferously denied, then they should be made to play by them. That’s why Booker and most other Democrats have taken a hard line on this now; they realize that a “bygones” approach would be the worst possible hypocrisy. They’re stuck. But Northam’s not, at least at the moment. And neither was Menendez, for that matter.