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Editor’s NotebookEditor’s Notebook: Circling back on Clement v. The Post

Editor’s Notebook: Circling back on Clement v. The Post

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This past weekend, having some time and brain cells to kill, I scrolled through the more than 200 responses online to The Washington Post’s earlier skewering of Arlington County Board candidate Audrey Clement, who along with fellow independents Mike Cantwell and Adam Theo is going to go down to defeat to Democrat Takis Karantonis today.

(“Shouldn’t we hold the election first before you make such sweeping pronouncements about the outcome, Scotty?” some critics might say. OK, I’ll make you a deal: Let’s bet $100,000 cash on the outcome. If Karantonis wins, I get your money; if he loses, you get mine. Any takers?)

But back to the Posties and Clement, who drew the ire of the Bezos Bulletin for “claiming” (their word) she was 52 when in fact she’s two decades older.

(Had Clement claimed she was a dude, Post folks wouldn’t have batted an eye – right? – but professing to be younger suddenly gets the paper’s dander up?)

Those who read my first-blush commentary on this last week know I thought the Post looked ridiculous to make a mountain out of such a molehill as it related to a perennial, and perennially unsuccessful, candidate. Clement put up a spirited if somewhat overcomplicated defense to her actions. Along the way, she accused the Post of age-ism, although comparing herself to Rosa Parks in the pantheon of civil-rights heroes may have been a bridge too far.

The online responses from Post readers helped confirm my belief that our collective national intelligence has been diluted, not enhanced, in the social-media age. You anonymous keyboard cowboys really believe anyone of any importance whatsoever cares what you think?

Getting back to what lies ahead, it is probably a fair bet that Clement will be back on the ballot in 2022. Theo already has said he was simply running this year to build what I guess he hopes will be a groundswell of support for 2022. And if Cantwell can outperform expectations, perhaps he, too, will be enticed to run again next year.

So the ballot may be crowded next November for the likely 2022 Democratic County Board nominee, Matt de Ferranti. That incumbent could well face a primary challenge in the spring but, barring anything truly wacky happening, should be able to beat it back while not raising much of a sweat on his way to a second term, even if Arlington’s Democratic County Board decides to allow a change in the current winner-take-all voting process by then.

OH, MARY, MARY, MARY – WHY, WHY, WHY? Arlington School Board candidate Mary Kadera for some reason felt the need to equate, in a Twitter post (uh-oh…) to her 198 followers, Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin with segregationist (and Democrat) Harry Byrd Sr.

Sigh.

Savvy School Board candidates at least wait until the votes are counted and their own victories are in the bag (and see which way the broader political winds are actually blowing) before casting aside the mask and revealing themselves to be just another hack using the position for partisan gain. Northern Virginia has enough of those at the moment.

But desperate times call for desperate measures, and Kadera clearly got the memo; “Youngkin is a segregationist” was the theme of the weekend among the Virginia Democrats pulling out all the stops to avoid a bloodbath at the polls today. We’ll see if it works.

You’d think that Arlington Public Schools has enough of its own problems that School Board members, current and incoming, would better serve the community by swimming in their own lanes in the waning days of a campaign, rather than wading into a governor’s race where nobody, but nobody, wants to hear their opinions.

– Scott McCaffrey

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