Dan Rather accused Ed Gillespie of running a "very dirty campaign" as the Republican nominee for Virginia governor leading up to his election loss Tuesday to Democrat Ralph Northam.
Gushing to CNN host Don Lemon on Wednesday about the Virginia Democrats' "old-fashioned" campaign, Rather failed to mention the racist anti-Gillespie ad from the progressive Latino Victory Fund featuring a white man in a pickup truck — with a Gillespie bumper sticker and “Don’t tread on me" license plate — driving at fleeing minority children.
But let us not quibble.
Rather also praised Democrats in general for their victories, saying they were "a big deal. This was a big win for the Democrats. No other way to read it."
In Virginia, Rather said the GOP "found out that running a Trumpism kind of campaign without Trump himself campaigning directly for you doesn't work. And also this campaign, in the end, the Republican candidate for governor, figuring he was behind, began to run a very dirty campaign. As I've said before, this campaign was nasty enough to gag a buzzard. That didn't work."
More from Rather:
So by any reasonable analysis coming out of last night, good news — very good news for the Democrats in not only Virginia but New Jersey and other places. They did it the old-fashioned way. They really got organized, and they got people out to vote. … They were in a climate, I think generally speaking, that people want the country to be united. And much of the rhetoric and the tone coming from the Trump administration has been to divide us. You know, race against race, in some cases religion against religion. And that's contrary to our history and the natural American spirit. And I think that's some of what moved these ballots to go Democratic last night. But by any reasonable reading of those results, a lot of Republicans who are up for reelection next year, their fingernails will begin to sweat now given these returns.
Lemon also brought up a CNN poll showing only 34 percent of Americans saying Trump is honest and trustworthy with 64 percent believing he's not. "One year in, I think that's pretty astonishing," Lemon observed. "What forces are at work here?
Rather blamed it on the "tone" of the Trump administration — "what he says, what he tweets. People want a president to be strong, but they want him to be noble. Or at least have some noble instincts. And those are pretty hard to find with this presidency, and it's beginning to tell at the polls."
Here's the clip. The relative portion starts at the 2:40 mark:
This writer's perspective
As pretty much everyone knows — but those on the left seem inclined to let fade into the mist of history — a disgraced Rather fell from his venerable perch at CBS News after his 2004 report on President George W. Bush's national guard service used documents that weren't verified as authentic.
Rather has long been pegged as left-leaning, but in the years since his exit from CBS, his rhetoric in that vein only seems to have intensified. His frequent Facebook entries — which are followed by more than 2.6. million other users — make no secret of his disdain for Trump and seem to reflect affection for Democratic causes.
So it comes as no surprise that Rather failed to mention the racist anti-Gillespie ad. It doesn't fit the narrative he painted during his interview with Lemon.
His claim that the Trump administration has been trying to "divide us" is curious as well: "You know, race against race, in some cases religion against religion. And that's contrary to our history and the natural American spirit."
It's unclear if Rather was looking at the time, but a whole lot of people are of the opinion that America polarized politically like never before in the eight years under Democratic President Barack Obama — a frequent partaker in words that divided along racial and religious lines.
But, alas, that doesn't fit the narrative, either, does it?