I don’t know whether it is worse, to look at Washington or Richmond right now. Both have terrible political leadership, and the two political parties share the blame.
When all three top leaders of a state, as is the case in Virginia, stand accused of shameful conduct, the Democrats have to take the blame.
The governor and attorney general are said to have posed in either blackface or KKK robes. That says volumes about the Old Dominion’s past — a past full of slaveholding politicians arguing for the Confederacy.
In Washington, it is the Republicans who exhibit the willingness to argue ferociously and untruthfully about just — oh, everything.
President Donald Trump said this week, “If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation. It just doesn’t work that way.” Well, yes it does in a democracy, unlike in authoritarian regimes.
Tempers have been to the boiling point in Washington for the past two years — make that two centuries, it seems like.
So it’s time to seek out sage advice from that philosopher- country music singer Reba McEntire, to wit: “To succeed in life, you need three things, a wishbone, a backbone and a funny bone.”
There is a bountiful supply of wishbones in the nation’s capital. To start, it seems like everybody who has risen above congressional page in the Democratic Party wishes to be elected president in 2020. Senators, Representatives, democratic socialists and a part-time American Indian are about to run.
Funny bones? You couldn’t get an authentic chuckle from the politicians, and your sober-sided friends are to blame. These political-speech policemen and women can take any joke and find it offensively violative of some unwritten rule.
What they need is a little more Will Rogers, who knew a thing or two about humor in politics: “When the votes are counted, let everybody get into a good humor as quick as they got into a bad one.”
In this election season, there will be no good humor, primarily because every voter is mad at somebody, and has been for a while.
Democrats are as intent on discovering what Trump’s finances and tax returns look like as the president is in keeping them out of harm’s way and prying eyes. In fact, those likely will be the defining issues in the election.
Trump supporters believe the president is not getting enough credit for a booming economy. But even The Wall Street Journal had a front-page piece this week reporting record bankruptcies in Midwestern farm states. The Journal said trade wars and tariffs have plagued the soybean, corn and wheat farmers.
The president seems not to be interested in expanding his support beyond his most faithful voters. He clings to his pledge to build an anti-immigrant Wall as a lifesaver. It is a slender raft in rough seas.
Without the sound of a funny bone and the forlorn hope of finding a wishbone, Democrats in Virginia may be in the same shape as Republicans in Washington. Dismal business, this.
Blackface college kids and sexual assault charges against Democrats add up to — not embarrassment but disgrace. The outcome there could have a farcical ending. The Democratic governor, the lieutenant governor and attorney general possibly could all be forced to resign. The fourth person in line to the governorship is a Republican.
Whether scandal in one state could end up influencing voting in 50 states is not a well-studied outcome.
In the past, regional attitudes have been more influential than individual state issues. That certainly was true in the South when it clung to segregationist laws and outlooks.
And now the investigation of possible Russian involvement in the last presidential election could change everything. Until Robert Mueller III wraps up his final report, nobody can accurately judge its import. (Unusually for Washington, there has been no leaking of what he may have found or who may have been involved. But the investigation has led to more than 30 federal indictments, which points to a lot more to come.)
The kerfuffle this week over the State of the Union speech did little to clarify the state of the election to come.
Trump talked poetically about unity and working together. That lasted through most of that night but faded in the light of day. Trump still wanted the Wall, and the Democrats wondered why Mexico didn’t pay for it.
Will Rogers may have expressed a resolution for it all: “There is only one redeeming thing about this whole election. It will be over at sundown.
And let everybody pray it is not a tie for we couldn’t go through this thing again.”