Shortly after E.W. Jackson was chosen as the Republican Party's candidate for lieutenant governor in Virginia, the far-right activist tried to dismiss questions about his extraordinary rhetorical record. His controversial comments on a wide range of issues, he said, "were spoken in my role as a minister, not as a candidate."
In other words, Jackson's record apparently doesn't count. But what about the absurd arguments he continues to make as a candidate for statewide office?
For those who can't watch clips online, here's what Jackson told voters at an event yesterday:
"My great grandparents, Gabriel and Elijah Jackson were slaves and sharecroppers in Orange County, Virginia. I am a direct decedent of slaves. My grandfather was born there, to a father and a mother who had been slaves. And by the way, their family was more intact than the black family is today and I'm telling you that slavery did not destroy the black family even though it certainly was an attack on the black family, it made it difficult. But I'll tell you that the programs that began in the '60s, the programs that began to tell women that you don't need a man in the home, the government will take care of you, that and began to tell men, you don't need to be in the home, the government will take care of this woman and take care of these children. That's when the black family began to deteriorate.
"In 1960, most black children were raised in two parent, monogamous families. By now, by this time, we have only 20% of black children being raised in a two parent, monogamous families with the married man and woman raising those children. It wasn't slavery that did that, it was government that did that. It tried to solve problems that only god can solve and that only we as human beings can solve."
Got that? Slavery was bad for families, but not as bad as the Great Society programs that reduced poverty nationwide.
And why does Jackson hate the Great Society so much? In part because, in his mind, the anti-poverty programs told American women they "don't need a man in the home."
A few weeks ago, Jamelle Bouie said, "The Virginia GOP has essentially posed an experiment: Can we win off-year elections regardless of who we run?" The analysis appears increasingly accurate as each day passes.