Last November, liberal Democrat Mark Herring barely eked out a win over conservative Mark Obenshain (R) in the Virginia Attorney General race. Herring had been enthusiastically endorsed by the Washington Post, which promised that, unlike outgoing AG Ken Cuccinelli, Mr. Herring would refuse to "[turn] the office into a platform for ideological crusades." But of course, shortly after being sworn in, Herring made himself a darling of the Left for his refusal to defend the Old Dominion's voter-approved constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman. At the time, the Washington Post editorial board praised that maneuver, saying "extraordinary circumstances" justified Herring refusing to, you know, do his job and actually defend the state government in court.
Well, the Post is at it again today with an editorial cheering on Mr. Herring's decision that illegal immigrants may attend Virginia public colleges and universities paying the discounted in-state tuition rate. Having informed readers of the development on the April 30 paper's front page -- although that article contained no cost estimate for move -- the Post editorial board gushed about how it offered "A brighter future for 'Dreamers.'" "The Va. attorney general discards an irrational policy," harumphed the print edition subheadline. Here's the full editorial (emphasis mine):
As I noted last week, when the Washington Post in mid-October issued their endorsement of Democrat Mark Herring for Virginia attorney general, the paper's editorial board hailed the then-state senator as someone who, unlike his "doctrinaire conservative" opponent Mark Obenshain and predecessor conservative Ken Cuccinelli would "hew to the former Virginia tradition of offering restrained and responsible advice" for the state government. After all, the attorney general is responsible for managing the "office that functions as the law firm for the governor, legislature and agencies of state government" and as such should be above ideological or partisan hobby horses, the paper argued.
Fast forward to last week. Herring, on the job barely two weeks as Virginia attorney general, announces he will not only refuse to defend the state's constitutional definition of marriage as between a man and a woman but that his office will file a brief in federal court arguing that the state's definition of marriage violates the U.S. Constitution. Feeling the need to defend their man Herring from charges by Republicans that the AG is not only shirking his duty, but flaunting his intention to do so, the Post editorial rides out to the rescue with a six-paragraph defense of his "strategy," excerpted in full below (emphasis mine):
Democrat Mark Herring pulled out a squeaker of a win last fall, narrowly besting Republican Mark Obenshain to become Virginia's attorney general. In October, the Washington Post endorsed Herring, then a state senator, insisting that Herring "would hew to the former Virginia tradition of offering restrained and responsible advice" to the governor and state agencies and by refusing to "[turn] the office into a platform for ideological crusades."
He's not even a month into the job, and yet Mr. Herring is set to do just that, announcing yesterday his intention to file a brief in federal court attacking the state's 2006 voter-approved constitutional definition of marriage as an institution consisting of one man and one woman. Although it's a stunning, bold-faced repudiation of his constitutional duty to defend the state constitution, you'd be hard-pressed to get that by reading Post court reporter Robert Barnes's coverage in Thursday's paper (emphasis mine):
The Washington Post kept up its crusade to attack Virginia GOP gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli in Thursday’s paper. In a story covering a debate between the two candidates vying to succeed Cuccinelli as attorney general, reporters Frederick Kunkle and Michael Laris put only one candidate’s quote on the front page: the Democrat attacking Cuccinelli as an extremist and abuser of power.
The Post offered Mark Herring’s outburst, and then waited until inside the paper for his quote to fall apart: