Five Questions After Watching Virginia Governor Ralph Northam In Action

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Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s political life is pretty close to non-viable after an image of his 1984 medical school yearbook surfaced showing a picture of two men standing side-by-side, one in blackface and the other in a white Ku Klux Klan outfit.

You can’t tell from the photo which one is Northam, or if either one is. Apparently, at one point even Northam couldn’t. (More on that below.)

Some questions:


1.  Who ran opposition research for the Republican opponent of then-Democratic nominee Ralph Northam during the 2017 Virginia governor’s race?

The candidate, Ed Gillespie, is a former chairman of the Republican National Committee. You’d think he would have known how to hire someone to examine an opponent’s record.

Wouldn’t you? Or is the GOP really this incompetent?

In late October 2017, after an outrageous anti-Gillespie ad from an independent pro-Northam group called the Latino Victory Fund purported to show a Gillespie supporter chasing Latino boys and a Muslim girl in a pickup truck, Ralph Northam initially defended it, saying Gillespie’s (fairly milquetoast) campaign had “promoted fearmongering, hatred, bigotry, racial divisiveness.”

Might this information about Northam’s yearbook page have been useful to Gillespie?

After the web site Big League Politics published an image of the yearbook page on Friday, February 1, The Washington Post looked into it. What did the newspaper’s investigation consist of? “The Washington Post independently confirmed the authenticity of the yearbook by viewing it in the medical school library in Norfolk,” the newspaper reported later on Friday, February 1.

A reporter during Northam’s press conference during the afternoon of Saturday, February 2 asked in wonder how the medical school yearbook didn’t come up during Northam’s own campaign’s research on his past, as well as why his past opponents hadn’t found it.

Northam gave a bit of a wry smile as he answered:  “And to your point, the people that do that kind of research, perhaps they should have looked at that.”


2.  Which Ralph Northam should you believe?

There are three options. Pick A, B, or C:

A.  The Ralph Northam on Friday, February 1 who said he was in the yearbook page photo and apologized for it.

Written Statement:

Earlier today, a website published a photograph of me from my 1984 medical school yearbook in a costume that is clearly racist and offensive. 

I am deeply sorry for the decision I made to appear as I did in this photo and for the hurt that decision caused then and now. …

Video Statement:

… That photo, and the racist and offensive attitudes it represents, does not reflect that person I am today, or the way that I have conducted myself as a soldier, a doctor, and a public servant. I am deeply sorry. I cannot change the decisions I made. Nor can I undo the harm my behavior caused then, and today. But I accept responsibility for my past actions. …

B.  The version of Ralph Northam on Saturday, February 2 (less than 24 hours after Version A appeared), who now says that after reflection and consulting with friends, he has concluded he’s not either figure in the yearbook page photo, that when he apologized Friday he was thinking of that other time in 1984 when he put shoe polish on his cheeks and won a dance contest in San Antonio as Michael Jackson, and that the yearbook editors must have made a mistake by putting the KKK picture on his yearbook page:

Press Conference:

… But I will tell you that my word, I will stand and live by my word. I was the president of the VMI Honor Court. Our code there is a cadet shall not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do. That’s the most meaningful thing to me in my life. I tell the truth. I’m telling the truth today. That was not my picture, in the photo. …

C.  Neither one


3.  Funny how no one has come forward to say he’s the other guy in the photo.

Why you suppose that is?


4.  If Ralph Northam were a Republican, do you suppose CNN might have at one point accidentally labeled him a Democrat?


5.  Many Democrats have called for Northam to resign as governor of Virginia because of his yearbook page.

How many have even criticized him mildly for lending support for infanticide two days before the yearbook story broke?

The list of Northam-must-go Democrats now includes former U.S. vice president Joe Biden, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts), U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (D-California), U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-New Jersey), U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York), U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-Virginia), U.S. Senator Mark Warner (D-Virginia).

These people think that what Northam may have done 34-plus years ago in a yearbook photo is awful. That’s correct.

How about what he did three days ago?

Some background:

On Tuesday, January 29, a member of Virginia’s House of Delegates named Kathy Tran (D-Fairfax) appeared before a legislative committee to make a pitch for her all-nine-months abortion bill. She said even in labor a woman could have an abortion.

The next day, Wednesday, January 30, Governor Northam was asked about it during a radio show. He didn’t stop at end-of-pregnancy.

Below is a transcript of what he said. (You can watch the video by clicking here.)

By the way, he’s a pediatric neurologist. So he’s a medical doctor who treats children with nervous system problems. So he’s not unaware of relevant details.

Radio Host:  … Fairfax Delegate Kathy Tran made her case for lifting restrictions on third-trimester abortions, as well as other restrictions now in place. And she was pressed by a Republican delegate about whether her bill would permit an abortion, even as a woman is essentially dilating, ready to give birth. And she answered that it would, permit an abortion at that stage of labor. Do you support her measure? And explain her answer.

Governor Ralph Northam:  Yeah, you know, you know, I wasn’t there, ah, Julie. And I certainly can’t speak for, ah, Delegate Tran.

But, um, I would tell you, one, ah, the first thing I would say: this is why decisions such as this should be made by providers – ah, physicians – ah, and the, ah, mothers – and fathers – that are involved. Um, there are – you know, when we talk about third-trimester, ah, abortions, these are done, ah, with the consent of, obviously, the mother, with the consent, ah, of the physicians — more than one physician, by the way.

Um, and it’s done in cases where there may be severe deformities, there may be a fetus that’s non-viable. So in this particular example, ah, if a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen. The infant would be delivered. Ah, the infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated, if that’s what the, ah, mother and the family desired. And then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother.

So I think this was really blown out of proportion.

During a press conference the next day, on Thursday, January 31, Northam read from a written statement, and later took a few questions from reporters. He did not explain his apparent endorsement of infanticide or walk away from it.

“So no, I don’t have any regrets,” Northam said at one point. “… I did answer that question. I regret that those comments have been mischaracterized.”


How would you characterize a “discussion” about whether a newborn baby who has been “resuscitated” should be allowed to live?

Is this a place where Democrats want to be?

Or have they just decided that when it comes to abortion, there’s no criticism that’s safe to make?