“When you’ve got a White House that’s keeping names of people that don’t agree with them, that reminds me of what went on the Soviet Union and in Nazi Germany,” Landes told a group of Republicans at a picnic in Augusta County last month, according to a report in the Washington Post last week.
So what was Landes, running for an eighth term in the Virginia House of Delegates, referring to? The effort by the Obama administration to debunk the disinformation chain e-mails being sent out by health-care reform critics that was not about “keeping names of people that don’t agree with them” but instead was aimed at being able to fight back against the smears such as the one that had former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin making up that the reform would lead to the creation of “death panels” that would make end-of-life decisions and another that had the extreme-right blogosphere foaming at the mouth at mythical “vaccine teams” that would force parents to vaccinate their children for things like genital herpses.
People are “afraid their neighbors are going to tell on them,” Landes told the Augusta GOP picnic, sliding past the fact that it’s the health-insurance lobby and their paid sycophants on Capitol Hill and Fox News that is at fault for creating the climate of fear with their fanciful, farcical claims not only about what is actually in the health-care reform bill but also what the administration is trying to do to correct the record.
The former House Republican Caucus chair likes to have people back home believe that he’s a level-headed moderate, and his wonkish demeanor suggests that he’s not much more than a harmless policy geek who, OK, he hasn’t done much for the folks back home, but he’s a nice guy, he dresses well, he’s mainstream.
Conjuring up images of our president being a Communist and Nazi and evoking comparisons to the likes of Stalin and Hitler in this already artificially-charged political environment is not mainstream at all.
In so doing, Landes is proving to be nothing more than the Bush-haters on the left or the Clinton-haters on the right who have helped make gridlock and stalemate the operative words in the public-policy sphere the past several years.
Come to think of it, that might be why we in the 25th have gotten so little out of Landes’ tenure in the House of Delegates. It appears that he would rather carry water for the Do-Nothings in the Virginia GOP than take care of business back home.
– Column by Chris Graham