Profiles in cowardice

The most remarkable thing about the sight this week of the entire roster of the Republican elected officials of Loudoun County simultaneously covering their posteriors  as they went into full damage control mode over the Delgaudio scandal was the failure of a single one of them to even say boo to the completely unhinged tirade that Eugene himself launched into from the dais Wednesday night.

For those just joining us, Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio (R-Sterling) has long gotten away with running his job as a county supervisor as a mere extension of his extremely lucrative pseudo-lobby — which personally earns him at least $150,000 a year by pushing the buttons and rattling the cages, and thereby opening the wallets, of right-wing paranoiacs whom Delgaudio riles up with warnings that the “radical homosexuals” have a secret plan to take over Congress, invade your schools, snatch your children, and cause county supervisors to lose their minds.

At least two former county aides of his have now come forward with wholly credible testimonyand evidence — including e-mails and other documents — showing that Delgaudio required them to spend most of their time, at public expense, soliciting large donors for his private causes and his political campaigns. At least two conservative Republican potential donors who were approached have spoken on the record and confirmed Delgaudio’s actions as well. The documents show that Delgaudio had his county-paid aides report to his outside outfit (“Public Advocate”), that he ordered them to spend most of their time developing and calling lists of potential large donors, and that he offered a “cash bonus” to aides who were particularly successful at reeling in big donors.

So what did our fearless Board of Supervisors and its fearless Chairman Scott York (R-Kincora) do this week about it?

First, they all went on at great length piously informing us that their colleague is “innocent until proven guilty.”

Scott York, however, took the prize in pious evasion:

* He lamented how bad it is that mere “perceptions become reality”;

* that it was up to the voters of Sterling to elect someone else if they felt their supervisor “was not representing them”;

* that because the staff aides who complained (and in the case of at least one, was then fired in retaliation) are not covered by the “county grievance policy” there wasn’t really anything that could be done about Degaudio’s abuse of his staff.

Then in what was a big yuck for the rest of the Board, giving them a chance to show how seriously they take the entire matter, York suggested that if an investigation showed Delgaudio had violated county ethics policy by engaging in political fundraising on public time and expense, then the Board could sanction him by removing his committee assignments, but that this would be a “reward” instead of a “punishment.” (Big laugh from rest of all-Republican Board.)

Most incredibly, not one member of the Board had the guts even to challenge Delgaudio’s bizarre rant in which he claimed that his problems were all the fault of liberals who hate Christianity and kids’ football; the Washington Post, which is out to get him him because he “ignores” the paper; and a shadowy army advancing directly on the Sterling District of Loudoun County, Virginia, itself: “The suicide bombers of the political left pull their own rings on their detonation devices as they advance on me, and Sterling, and all honest-to-God conservatives,” Delgaudio revealed.

Delgaudio concluded with words that will no doubt be quoted by schoolchildren of the future generations studying great moments in American political history:

“I stand as a small David against the foul-smelling, decaying corpse of the Washington Post”

You’d think just maybe one of the other eight might have suggested to him that just possibly he owes the people of Loudoun County a slightly more relevant response to the credible allegations of malfeasance of office that have been made by multiple credible witnesses, including his own former aides and several conservative Republicans, rather than blaming the media, liberals, unnamed forces, godless atheists, and evil football-haters.

Of course, Chairman York, who is in a very “blames-others” mode right now himself, added his own two cents, square with Eugene, hinting this was all just political. This is a verbatim quotation from the web cast of the Board meeting Wednesday night.

Take it away, Chairman York:

I know there’s a lot of focus on the current member of the BOS.  And why it’s coming from a particular party of the opposite.
There have been abuses of other members of the previous board.  I was never in favor of [Supervisor Jim] Burton’s plan to allow staff to allow his staff to telecommute.  It’s very dangerous to allow staff to work off site.  . . . They should spend time in offices upstairs or in events of the county, or in meetings with Board members with community leaders or citizens.  The Board needs to tighten things up.

Thus speaks a moral midget.

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