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Editor’s NotebookEditor's Notebook: Getting rubbed the wrong way

Editor’s Notebook: Getting rubbed the wrong way

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It used to be said during the 1970s version of TV’s “Match Game” that if a celebrity panelist got stuck and couldn’t come up with an answer, they should either write down “boobs” or “Howard Cosell” because nearly every question was written in a way that one or the other potentially would match the contestant.

Here at the Editor’s Notebook desk, our own go-to resource is the archives of the Northern Virginia Sun, and today we dip back exactly – and I mean EXACTLY – a half-century ago, to Nov. 11, 1972.

There was a bunch of local news in that day’s paper, as there was every day, but one of the big stories was that a Fairfax judge had ruled that the Fairfax County government’s prohibition on mixed-gender (there were but two then, those Neanderthals!) massages in the county didn’t fly. The jurist threw out a number of cases that had been brought, presumably by county police or zoning staff, against masseuses.


The ruling didn’t say that mixed-gender massages were constitutionally protected, only that the county’s regulations were too vague to be enforceable as written.

How did the masseuses celebrate their victory in court? That same day’s edition of the Sun noted that, on TV that night, were “Kung Fu,” “Streets of San Francisco” and “Bob Newhart,” so maybe they spent it in front of the tube.

NO WAITING TO DECLARE THAT VICTORY: Also from the Sun, but from this week back in 1980, the paper reported than Ronald Reagan had won 129 of Fairfax County’s 134 precincts, along with 57.5 percent of the county vote.

‘CAPTAIN OBVIOUS’ STRIKES AGAIN: After hiding out and not posting anything for weeks when it looked like Republicans might pull out a strong victory on Election Day by using populist candidates, former Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling has dropped in three different blog posts on the Bearing Drift site in the handful of days since the polls closed and the GOP wave emerged as more of a dribble.

And what did Bolling opine on? The fact that Donald Trump is now a drag on the Republican brand (this is not exactly brrrrrrrrrrreaking news but Bolling has been an anti-Trumper for a while so he probably wanted to land a few punches) and that Republicans need to stop nominating tighty-righty candidates who often go down to defeat in the general elections in more moderate districts.

But Bill – may I call you “Bill” as I razz you a bit? – you consistently state the obvious but fail to address the seminal point: What are moderate-corporatist Republicans such as yourself doing to build bridges with those in the populist wing of your party, instead of holding your noses and going “pee-yew!” whenever you pass one by?

The moderates in the party, like Bolling, simply yearn for the days when they controlled the GOP and kept the unwashed hordes (as they see them) at bay. And frankly, those days of dominance appear to be long gone: If the Bollings of the world ever do claw back power within the party, the populist wing will just sit out general elections, relegating the GOP rump to a perpetual minority in many places.

We live in a country that embraces big-tent parties that allow room for intra-party disagreements. Shoot, Franklin Roosevelt managed to hold together a coalition that included everything from far-left liberals to hard-core segregationists and rode it to four presidential victories.

If FDR could manage that, surely Republicans of various stripes could find some common ground among themselves. If not, the GOP is going to have a lot of future Election Nights like the one they had on Tuesday.

– Scott McCaffrey

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