Rep. Goode in the spotlight.

C-Ville Weekly’s exposure of the real Rep. Virgil Goode is getting some serious online traction since I posted about it at 3pm today. Talking Points Memo Muckraker picked it up, with their Paul Kiel linking to my entry an hour and a half later. It exploded from there, with everybody from Think Progress to Glenn Greenwald expressing their shock.

I think that this story is likely to get bigger from here. If I know Rep. Goode — and I may well not, given how surprised I was to see him to act so shamefully — he won’t say a word about this. Perhaps a blah blah press release, issued only under great duress. But he’ll never apologize, never conduct an interview, and just wait for it all to blow over.

What particularly frustrates me about this story is that it makes Virginia look stupid. To the eyes of many throughout the nation — particularly liberal Democrats — this just confirms every stereotype that they have about the south. Look at this comment posted to TPM Muckraker:

I am shocked that people are shocked.

Of course rural Southern legislators will do this. Do you think that this country looks like Rhode Island as whole? Give me a break. Damn surprised he did not call for the Congressman to be arrested for treason. There will be more such, I expect a whole caucus. Maybe they will try not to seat Ellison.

This is their country, folks. There are more of them than there are of us liberals and libertarians. They built it on xenophobia and hate. That’s why they call it fly-over country, because not many of us city folk want to land there.

I wish every liberal would get the hell out of Starbucks for a week and visit rural Oklahoma or Virginia or Alabama. The rednecks they elect there get elected to do this sort of thing.

Now, you and I know that this isn’t true. We’re better than that in Virginia. But this foolishness from Rep. Goode has set Virginia back yet again, piling on top of how stupid Sen. George Allen made us look with his “welcome to America” declaration to S.R. Siddarth this summer.

I’m accustomed to Rep. Goode setting back Southside — err…”Southern” — Virginia with his belief that he was elected to perform constituent service, not to represent the Fifth District in Washington. If that economic harm constitutes injury, then this latest stunt surely is adding insult to that.

Nothing will change. Rep. Goode will continue shambling about the district, shaking hands and kissing babies, and we’ll all be the worse for it. A minority of the district will thank him for “standing up for America,” or some such jingoistic pap, and the rest of us will hang our heads in shame at our growing reputation as racist rubes.

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

23 replies on “Rep. Goode in the spotlight.”

  1. I don’t claim to know what makes Virgil Goode tick, but I have to think he is confident his attitude about Muslims is acceptable to most of the folks he represents. Why Goode keeps getting reelected has been a mystery to me for years, but maybe I don’t know the district.

    So, I suspect Goode believes that in their heart of hearts a majority of the voters in and around Charlottesville, Farmville, and the rest of his district, has a rather similar backward view of Muslims, and immigrants in general.

    Now it’s time for people in Virginia’s 5th Congressional District to let Goode know whether he’s right about them. Meanwhile, the rest of us Virginians are left to just cringe, again.

  2. First, I’m not a Goode fan. Further I think until the subject of illegal immigration became the issue du jour after the “illegal immigrant” rallies this past year, I don’t think Goode was any different then most politicians that were content to turn a blind eye to the subject (Caveat- I could be wrong).

    Second, Having just read the letter on the previous post. My first impression is to wonder: Did Virgil Goode accidentally hire a democrat staffer? Or did a different staffer find out early that they were going to get canned? That letter reads like a complete “parody” of what liberals accuse those opposed to illegal immigration of being like. My initial impression is to wonder could this be political “dirty tricks?” For obvious reasons I’m finding it difficult to believe this isn’t someone’s idea of revenge on Goode.

    If he’s smart he’ll blame it on a disgruntled staffer. And then his next step should be to fire all his staffers in the office that generated that letter (if for nothing else than letting him send out crap like that). Don’t they normally draft the monthly “thank you for writing” form response letter? I’m having serious difficulty believing this came from the office of a politician.

    It is entirely possible to be opposed to illegal immigration and NOT be a racist. And the issue of bible vs koran for a swearing in ceremony is totally dumb. Of course a person should be allowed to swear or affirm on whichever book is the Holy Book of their faith, be it Bible, Koran, or The Kitáb-i-Aqdas (the Bahá’í holy book- one of them anyway).

  3. Goode’s press guy confirmed he wrote the letter? What a dumbass! And I mean both Goode and the press guy (who should be getting canned as well for confirming it).

  4. That letter reads like a complete “parody” of what liberals accuse those opposed to illegal immigration of being like. My initial impression is to wonder could this be political “dirty tricks?” For obvious reasons I’m finding it difficult to believe this isn’t someone’s idea of revenge on Goode.

    No, the letter is totally consistent with Goode’s public statements on immigration over the last several years. The only difference is that his target audience this time was “friendly” constituents who had written to express their dismay at reports that a Muslim congressman would be sworn in with his hand on a Koran. So he didn’t need to worry (as he thought) about political correctness, or how the rhetoric would play to a larger audience.

    But this time he does have a larger audience. His language was so egregious that a variety of national organizations and spokespeople are likely to be calling for apologies over the next few days. How he responds will tell us a lot about his ultimate values and political ambitions. If he holds fast to his “I wrote it and the letter speaks for itself” line, he is basically saying goodbye to wider political ambitions (if Allen’s fate is a guide) and showing that his commitment to hard-line anti-immigrant policies and breaking down the wall of separation between Church and State are his major motivations. (The “breaking down the wall” part is tangentially obvious from his constituent letter, but I’m thinking here more of legislation in that vein he has cosponsored in recent years.) He can probably continue to get re-elected in the 5th District on that basis, but his real political effectiveness will diminish, especially in a Democratic-controlled Congress. (Which is likely to hurt the 5th District: if you were a national corporation, would you be more or less likely to want to talk to Virgil about locating here after the things he’s been visible for over the last couple of years?)

  5. …if you were a national corporation, would you be more or less likely to want to talk to Virgil about locating here after the things he’s been visible for over the last couple of years?

    If I were a Corporation I’d be more concerned about locating where I could get the most “bang for my buck.” There’s absolutely no morality involved when you’re a corporation- the proof is in where they choose to locate (or subcontract from) when they want cheap labor. And if the city of Danville’s website is to be believed they’re getting 3 new factories which (using their numbers) will employ in the neighborhood of 7,000 plus people.

    As I perceive the illegal immigration issue it’s a “labor” issue, that allows employers to exploit illegals, and keep wages depressed. There is also the element of national security, and identity fraud.

    And as I said before what book one swears on shouldn’t matter just as long as it’s the Holy Book of ones faith. However the Islamic faith takes a hit in my book because of the culture that doesn’t allow (discourages) their moderates to speak out when their extremists say something that they feel doesn’t represent their religion. That silence- is what causes the uninformed to perceive the entire religion as one of extremism.

    Goode’s opinions as expressed in that letter are unfortunate. It’s clear he’s missing the point.

  6. “If I were a Corporation I’d be more concerned about locating where I could get the most “bang for my buck.” There’s absolutely no morality involved when you’re a corporation”

    That is total BS. First of all there are many type of people operating in the corporate world, acting on all sorts of motivations . . . Do you think that corporations make considerations of “morality” when they are considering things like “quality of life”, to attract the best talent?

    The business world does not exist in a money vacuum, people make the money, some of that “talent” could be muslim or any other nationality or religion.

    Of course you will find situations where a business sets up shop to exploit lax labor laws, environmental laws, or a depressed economy. But again these are not the companies that one would want to attract when trying to resuscitate an economy like Southside’s.

    “However the Islamic faith takes a hit in my book because of the culture that doesn’t allow (discourages) their moderates to speak out”

    The operative word here is culture. Religions create cultures but they also mold themselves to the agenda of the existing culture that they embed themselves into.

    You will find Christian denominations that do not allow (discourages) their moderates to speak out and encourage extremism . . . ever heard of the Rapture?

  7. “And as I said before what book one swears on shouldn’t matter just as long as it’s the Holy Book of ones faith.”

    Has anybody ever been sworn in with one hand resting on the Constitution?

  8. “But this time he does have a larger audience. His language was so egregious that a variety of national organizations and spokespeople are likely to be calling for apologies over the next few days.”

    Not to mention teachers of high-school-level grammar. I’ve often wondered, if judged by his own written correspondence, whether Virgil might not be forced to emigrate if one of those “English Only” laws he so treasures was actually passed and signed into effect?

  9. A bright light should shine upon The Goode, but having it emminate from the Liberal bastion of Charlottesville will likely have the benighted citizens of Southside pointing and wailing at the mean glare. The words “anyone with any sense had already left town” keep playing in my head. If you are ill-informed, fearful, angry, absolutist, and congenitally mean in the 5th; Virgil Goode has some talking points you will want to hear.

    Now then, until Democrats can get onto their feet and start setting the public discourse…what is the Dem plan for immigration and control of the borders during a time of war?

  10. There’s absolutely no morality involved when you’re a corporation- the proof is in where they choose to locate (or subcontract from) when they want cheap labor.

    I have to agree with Jon Sheridan on this one — I don’t think that’s so. Having run a corporation, I didn’t think like that. I have many friends who run corporations, and they don’t think like that, either. I’m not even convinced that the majority of Fortune 500s think like that. Many more have that mindset than I’d care for, yes, but these companies are run by humans with emotions, men and women who have to go home and look their spouse in the eye.

    Doing business with Rep. Goode will seem, at least for a time, as poisonous and embarrassing as having done business with Tom DeLay, MZM or Jack Abramoff. Even if businesses do operate on a pure-profit motive, that includes wanting to avoid, say, a boycott from customers who don’t appreciate their relationship with Rep. Goode.

  11. The only difference is that his target audience this time was “friendly” constituents who had written to express their dismay at reports that a Muslim congressman would be sworn in with his hand on a Koran. So he didn’t need to worry (as he thought) about political correctness, or how the rhetoric would play to a larger audience.

    I find this aspect particularly unsettling. Rep. Goode clearly felt comfortable speaking openly, with candor, to what he believed to be a friendly audience. I have to wonder what other statements that he’s made to small groups of supporters that might prove equally alarming.

    It has been said that people show who they really are when they believe that their speech is anonymous. Seems to me that politicians show who they really are when they believe that they’re addressing a “safe” audience.

  12. I find this aspect particularly unsettling. Rep. Goode clearly felt comfortable speaking openly, with candor, to what he believed to be a friendly audience. I have to wonder what other statements that he’s made to small groups of supporters that might prove equally alarming.

    No wonder then that no one could find out what events or meetings he spoke at this summer. They were all intended to be firendly audiences, where such tripe could be expressed without reservation. Other than debates, I did not see notices of Virgil’s campaign appearances this summer at all.

    As for other’s reaction:

    (WASHINGTON, D.C., 12/19/06) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) tonight called on Rep. Virgil Goode (R-VA) to apologize for anti-Muslim remarks he made in a recent letter to a constituent.

    The American Muslim

  13. Has anybody ever been sworn in with one hand resting on the Constitution?

    As a devout athiest, that’s what I’ve always thought I’d like to do, in the extremely unlikely event that I’m ever elected to a political office. I’m not holding my breath, though.

  14. Has anybody ever been sworn in with one hand resting on the Constitution?

    As a devout athiest, that’s what I’ve always thought I’d like to do, in the extremely unlikely event that I’m ever elected to a political office. I’m not holding my breath, though.

    I can’t quite remember this exactly, but I do recall a historian on NPR recently saying that at least one Supreme Court justice (late 19th- or early 20th-c.) chose to affirm, rather than swear, his oath of office. Can anyone confirm?

    In any case, the option of affirming rather than swearing is present in the text of the Presidential oath of office (Article II, Section I of the Constitution), as well as all other oaths of office I’ve seen. The phrase “so help me God” is not. So don’t be discouraged, James — despite what you may have been told, the Framers did not in fact make atheists second-class citizens. Please do run for office. Though as an atheist myself, I’d like to see you learn to spell the word, first.

    Peace,
    Brian

  15. I can’t quite remember this exactly, but I do recall a historian on NPR recently saying that at least one Supreme Court justice (late 19th- or early 20th-c.) chose to affirm, rather than swear, his oath of office. Can anyone confirm?

    I can’t track down who that was, that it would almost certainly have been a Quaker. Since Nixon was (nominally) a Quaker, I wonder if he chose to affirm, rather than swear? This follows the biblical principle of truth-telling — see Matthew 5:33-37. The Constitution was written with this in mind:

    Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:–”I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

    Ain’t no need to swear.

  16. One other note: Congressman-Elect Keith Ellison was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1964. He moved to Minnesota to attend law school. As I recall, Michigan continues to claim statehood, as does Minnesota, where Ellison seemingly served in that state’s legislature.
    His biography notes that he was brazen enough to serve on the Minnesota State Legislature’s Public Safety, Policy and Finance, and Election and Civil Law Committees.

    I wonder which intricacies of Mr. Goode’s immigration position might keep natives of Michigan from “being elected to office and demanding the use of the Koran.” I’m sure Virgil will fill us in

  17. An interesting and obvious comparison can be made to our former Senator who spoke one way to supposedly friendly constituents and spoke a completely different way to the rest of the world.

    But, as of today’s papers Mr. Goode is sticking to his guns. Must think-knows- this plays well in Southside.

    But as Southside turns inward and loses more and more “talent” and members of the “creative class” because the place is so intolerant, their economy will shrink even more (people will have to go elsewhere to find jobs) so follows their larger population: the foundation of Goodes support.

    That’s what I don’t get about these anti-immigration folks. Immigration (new blood, new talent) has always been an economic engine in America . . . oh well.

    This is all in the same vein of shooting self in the foot as the gay marriage amendment (how difficult can we make it for multi nationals, universities and other businesses to provide benefits for their employees); and the fact that the military desperately needs Arabic translators but keeps firing the ones they have because they are gay.

  18. What is all the blather about the aid confirming this or that?
    The point he is trying to make in a nutshell is – Do you want the added dysfunction of more Islam in your country?
    You’d do well to look at the problems of allowing Islams followers in after witnessing the ensueing collapse of many European countries, England, Netherlands, Spain and the others..
    If you need to be educated to the fact Islams Jihad is on the march wants your head and it’s global – then woe to you and yours!

  19. The point he is trying to make in a nutshell is – Do you want the added dysfunction of more Islam in your country?

    No, that’s not the point he’s trying to make. He quite clearly is expressing his opposition to having a Muslim in the House of Representatives.

  20. In the House or anywhere else!

    What would you call (an excellent idea) favouring an end to the “diversification visa” program in order to close the door on anymore Muslims entering..

    Rep. Goode can’t come out and say certain things outright – it helps if one can read between the lines!

    Again, the point, my point is you’d better wake up before it’s too late..

Comments are closed.