Former Fifth District rep Virgil Goode is, however improbably, a presidential candidate. (Photo by Coe Sweet)
As longtime readers well know, former U.S. Congress critter Virgil Goode was one of the founding inspirations for this column, and has remained our patron saint ever since.
Even as he faded from the headlines following his unexpected 2008 loss to Tom Perriello, we secretly longed for his return. There was just something about his well-coiffed, incredibly simplistic, aw-shucks brand of hate politics that fascinated us. In many ways, he is the perfect encapsulation of the earnest, intolerant, know-nothing politician—a man who flipped from Democrat to Independent to Republican to xenophobic lunatic, yet kept the same avuncular, disarming expression on his face every step of the way.
Which is why Goode’s recent triumph over lesser adversaries to win the Constitution Party’s nomination for President has filled us with unbridled joy. The idea of Virgil sharing a debate stage with Mitt Romney and President Obama gives us paroxysms of pleasure, and we will do whatever we can to make it happen.
There’s only one problem: Nobody knows what the hell the Constitution Party is. Making matters worse, the party has currently managed to get Goode’s name on the Presidential ballot in only 15 states. But we’re not going to let that faze us, because we have devised a brilliant plan.
The idea came while perusing a recent article about voter fraud in the Richmond Times-Dispatch. As it turns out, even though documented cases of voter fraud are almost non-existent nationwide, Virginia has charged 39 people (out of around 3.7 million votes cast) for committing fraud during the 2008 election. And even more amazingly, not one of these cases would have been stopped by the so-called “voter ID” bills currently awaiting Governor McDonnell’s signature.
How is that possible, you ask? Well, as you may or may not know, the Old Dominion is one of only 13 states in which convicted felons permanently lose their right to vote (unless pardoned by the governor), and a large majority of the fraud cases involved a felon registering to vote or actually voting. (Of course, the fact that a person, having paid his debt to society, can be sent back to prison for exercising his constitutional franchise is completely reprehensible—but that’s a subject for another column.)
So here’s our foolproof idea: Since well over 7 million U.S. citizens are currently either in prison, on probation, or on parole, all Virgil Goode has to do between now and election day is persuade Virginia, along with 47 other states, to follow the lead of Maine and Vermont and allow not only ex-felons, but currently incarcerated individuals to vote. Then, in a mass show of gratitude, felons everywhere (along with their extended families) will throw their support behind Goode, easily pushing him past the 10 percent threshold needed to be included in the debates.
To be sure, this devious plan is completely antithetical to everything Virgil Goode professes to believe. But hey, we figure the guy went from Blue Dog Democrat to far-right, Muslim-bashing nutjob in record time, so a little thing like suddenly championing the voting rights of prison inmates should be no problem at all.
See you at the debates, Virgil!