More Material for the VA Oppo Research File

It appears Virginia Republicans aren’t taking my advice to send their nominee for Lieutenant Governor, Bishop E.W. Jackson, on a fact-finding mission to Moldova for the next six months. So instead of allowing everyone to forget about him while Ken Cuccinelli tries to stop grinding his teeth long enough to profess himself a job-creatin’ pragmatist, Jackson is adding bulk to the already swollen oppo research file on the ticket, per this report from Todd Allen Wilson of the Hampton Roads Daily Press:

E.W. Jackson, the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, told a group of people at a Juneteenth celebration in Newport News Wednesday that Americans “should remember” the country’s history of slavery, but “not wallow in it….”

Jackson, the great-grandson of slaves from Orange County, told the crowd that slavery was not a uniquely American concept. He said it was the principles set forth in the Declaration of Independence that eventually lead to the end of slavery…

The crowd at King-Lincoln Park – which is in sight of the place where the first African slave entered the colonies – had dwindled to roughly 30 people by the time Jackson arrived at the end of the event.

The Chesapeake-based minister said that it was not slavery that eroded the black family but government policies in the 1960s.

“In 1960 most black children were raised in two parent monogamous families,” Jackson said. “By now, by this time, we only have 20 percent of black children being raised in two parent monogamous families with a married man and woman raising those children. It wasn’t slavery that did that. It was government that did that trying to solve problems that only God can solve, and that only we as human beings can solve.”

“Great Society Worse Than Slavery, Says Jackson” is a headline that kinda writes itself.

Now like many “controversial” Republican pols, particularly those with “unconventional” backgrounds (i.e., not wealthy old white men), Jackson’s popularity among conservative activists has been directly proportional to his notoriety among every one else. Here’s Michelle Boorstein’s report at WaPo on Jackson’s performance at Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition event last weekend:

Hundreds of attendees at a D.C. conference of religious conservatives jumped to their feet at the announcement of Jackson, a former Marine who has a charismatic — and sometimes controversial — speaking style. Ohio activist and former state treasurer Ken Blackwell introduced Jackson to the Faith and Freedom Coalition conference as “one of the most dynamic people in our country.”

Jackson, 61, offered a fiery 10 minutes on how U.S. liberals are assaulting religious freedom and trying to redefine liberty.

“Freedom doesn’t mean ‘Do whatever you want.’ It’s the pursuit of character, integrity, decency, honor. Now we’re being told freedom is license,” he said from the podium at the J.W. Marriott Hotel.

Audience members clapped most intensely when Jackson focused on the rights of parents to lay down rules for their children and on the need to preserve belief in Christianity as the foundation of the United States.

So I guess Jackson remains out there on the stump by popular demand. And that’s very good news for those of us who have to write about politics over a long offyear summer–and probably for Virginia Democrats, too.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.