Transcript for Former VA lawmaker on Northam: ‘Ought to give him an opportunity to redeem himself’
I want to bring in former democratic congressman Jim Moran. He is joining us this morning. I want to first put up, Jim, on the screen a statement you made yesterday. With Ralph as governor, he will work harder to redeem himself for this grievous error in judgment than anyone. I think he should ride this out. Do you still think that’s tenable? I don’t know whether it’s tenable. I do think it’s the right thing to do, and I hate to be on the other side of virtually all of my friends on this, but I do disagree with their judgment because I think it is a rush to judgment before we know all of the facts and before we have considered all of the consequences. Facts that we do know are that Ralph has expanded medicaid to hundreds of thousands of uninsured virginians, a disproportionate number of whom are African-Americans. He has promoted the career of his very talented lieutenant governor in every possible way. He has invested in better preschools and public schools and minority neighborhoods. So we know what he has done as governor, but even if the worst case scenario is true, George, I think there is an issue of redemption. Redemption is a very powerful factor in what people are able to accomplish. You know, Ralph understands the endemic racism that it has — that has been part of Virginia’s society for so long. It was 400 years ago to this year when the first African-Americans were brought as slaves to point comfort, now ft. Monroe, and he understands that legacy better than many people are able to, and I think we ought to give him an opportunity to redeem himself. Look at Lyndon Johnson. No untarnished liberal from the north could have gotten the great society programs cast, but he was able to work with his southern colleagues because he knew where they were coming from. We still have a conservative Republican legislature and frankly, I think Ralph will have the highest motivation possible to bring us further away from this horrible past of racism and bring us toward more racial justice. You just laid out the case. You just laid out the case and I think in theory we all believe in redemption, but wouldn’t the case be much, much stronger if the governor had aired these issues himself? Okay. You say even the worst case he’s in the photo, that would be possible, and I think Mr. Johnson would disagree with that, but even if he wasn’t in the photo, he knew about the Michael Jackson performance and never talked about it in public before. Yeah, you know, I think he’s still learning and I really don’t think that we should be judging the basis of the mistakes people have committed in the past as much as whether they have learned from that past, to bring us forward, and I think Ralph may be just the kind of person who can build those bridges to a better future. He has the highest motivation imaginable to ensure that his legacy is not defined by a picture in his yearbook, but rather by what he has accomplished as governor. I believe in second chances, you know, I’ll never forget Robert C. Bird who had been a member of the klu klux Klan early in his political career, coming from an interior appropriations conference and saying to me, after 50 years in the senate, there is nothing more important to me than setting aside land on the national mall for a memorial to Dr. Martin Luther king. I don’t care about getting any credit, but this is what is my highest priority at the end of my career. That’s the power of redemption, and I think — Congressman. — We should use it to achieve a better future for all of Virginia’s citizens. That may be right as a human being, but the governor of the state of Virginia, and his entire democratic caucus has come out saying he has to resign. Leaders in the house have said he has to resign. Leaders in the house have said he has got to resign, and members of the democratic association have said he has got to resign. How can he possibly govern in a situation like that? Well, I think that’s up to him. I do think that he has the capacity to do that, to show resilience and strength and to prove himself. I don’t think these public shamings really get us all that much. I think we — we have done this several times and we retreated to our corners where we’re most comfortable, and it just exacerbates the tribalism that confronts society today. I think that he understands where people are coming from, but he knows where we need to go, and I think, you know, that’s our opportunity to achieve the kind of progress that frankly Justin Fairfax would be able to build upon when he becomes governor, not by default, but on his own merits. I want to give Ralph Northam a chance to prove himself. Thank you. I want to bring in the chairman
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