More from the Old Dominion
Smack in the middle of all the political hijinks out of Virginia’s capital city, and all the anticipation of 45’s foray into the den of resisters, and the purely white dresses, my phone rang.
This is the truth, for the fourth time of late Caller ID flashed it was from Russia. I surmised the Russians are coming, the Russians are coming.
Honestly there was no panic. I don’t answer those calls. Why would I want to? Nyet. I was in the midst of researching all the activities at the Governor’s Mansion in Richmond.
Let me report: the statue of Harry Flood Byrd, Sr., is still standing erect overlooking Capital Square. Governor and Senator Byrd served Virginia as state senator from 1915–1925; governor, 1926–1930; and United States senator, 1933–1965.
From Berryville, Virginia, he ran Old Dominion politics, the old conservative Democrat Party style for 40 years. He ran it with an iron hand. Anyone who wanted to enter the public candidate process had to have Senator Byrd’s approval. That included the judiciary – and public office in fact.
The Republican Party was all but non-existent in those days. It took Linwood Holton in 1970 to break the Dems’ stranglehold followed by Chuckatuck’s Mills E. Godwin, Jr., and Roanoke’s John Dalton. For the record, Governor Godwin served as a Democrat governor prior to Governor Holton’s term, and then as the GOP governor four years later.
With all of the mish-mash involving the embattled current governor, Senator Byrd disliked the Ku Klux Klan in all forms. In all probability he would have figured a way to remove both Gov. Ralph Northam, then Lieutenant Gov. Justin Fairfax, and even Attorney General Mark Herring who wants to be governor in 2021.
If Governor Northam and Lieutenant Governor Fairfax are forced to resign, Attorney General Herring would be next in line. Alert: Herring has a problem now. He has confirmed some blackface activities while a University of Virginia student some years ago (1980). He obviously wanted to get ahead of any future accusations. He hasn’t, up to this point, supported the murder of newborns.
The matter has everybody gasping for air. Even the esteemed Dr. Larry Sabato, founder of UVA’s Center for Politics, is astounded at the mess.
Virginia is known as the “Mother of Presidents.” For years state tourism used the snazzy slogan, “Virginia is for Lovers.” That came about during the term of Gov. Chuck Robb, later U.S. senator and son-in-law of President Lyndon Johnson.
This brief historical interlude can indicate there is no political leader of either party today who calls the shots in the style of the Byrd Machine. Even ambitious, disgruntled people around the state always knew who held the power in those days. There is only guesswork now.
Who are the key women and men running the whole shows for the flailing Democrats and hanging-on Republicans?
Like the rest of the 50 states, the good old days are now. The various affairs in the public gaze are providing sad but rather off-the-bubble entertainment throughout the country. Pretty good stuff for words-women and words-men. Our quill pens are at the ready. Maybe a trip down the Skyline Drive is warranted.
Who would think that Virginia’s schools of higher learning were models for the movie “Animal House?”
I can’t help but wonder what William and Mary grad and UVA founder Thomas Jefferson would be thinking today. To some, not a good example. But, not all of the previous governors could be considered profligates.
The Russians are calling again. Nyet, again.