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Whitbeck’s ‘joke’ draws fire from Democrats

During a Constitution Day Rally in Sterling Sept. 17 for GOP gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli, John Whitbeck, the chairman of Virginia's 10th Congressional District Republican Committee, offered the crowd what many are considering anti-Semitic remarks.

Telling what he called a joke, Whitbeck said: “ … when the pope is elected, the head of the Jewish faith goes to the Vatican and brings a ceremonial piece of paper. It's very old and it dates back hundreds of years, and he comes into the pope's office and he ceremonially hands the piece of paper to the pope, the new pope. And then the new pope ceremonially rejects it. And the head of the Jewish faith leaves . . . Well, this time around, the pope said: 'I gotta find out what's on this piece of paper.' So he actually takes it from the head of the Jewish faith, he opens it and he looks at it, and he closes it ... and his Jewish counterpart says 'what was it?' And he says, 'well, that was the bill for the Last Supper.'”

State Sen. Mark Herring, the Democratic nominee to be the next attorney general of Virginia, and masses of Virginia Democrats quickly condemned the comments.

Herring was the first local candidate for November's elections to blast Whitbeck for his so-called joke.

“His comments were offensive, deplorable and a disgrace to Loudoun County and the Commonwealth of Virginia. Whitbeck needs to issue a public apology immediately for his statement, and every candidate on the Republican ticket should condemn these types of inflammatory comments,” Herring said in a statement Sept. 17.

Herring, who has served in the state Senate since 2007, said “he's worked hard to foster an environment that is welcoming of people of all faiths, ethnicities and backgrounds.”

“Mr. Whitbeck’s comments stand in stark contrast to those beliefs, and the efforts of so many in our community to promote acceptance,” he noted.

A Leesburg attorney, Whitbeck campaigned for the House of Delegates 10th District seat in 2011, a race he lost in the Republican primary to current Del. Randy Minchew.

Since 2004, Whitbeck has donated more than $5,500 to Republican candidates or the GOP 10th District Committee, according to the Virginia Public Access Project.

“At yesterday's rally, I told a joke,” Whitbeck told the Times-Mirror on Sept. 18. “I did not tell an anti-Semitic joke. I told a joke I heard from a priest at a church service.”

Whitbeck continued, “Any alleged outrage over this joke has been wholly manufactured by American Bridge, an organization founded by Democrat activist David Brock and funded by Georg Soros. American Bridge, which has the sole purpose of electing Democrats by attacking Republicans, has repeatedly demonstrated its commitment to defeating Cuccinelli by any means they deem necessary.”

The 10th District Committee chairman called attention to Cuccinelli's recent endorsement from the Northern Virginia Technology Council's (NVTC) TechPAC, saying the Democrats are "desperate to change the topic."

“Northern Virginia Technology Council's TechPAC's endorsement of Ken Cuccinelli over Terry McAuliffe has clearly changed momentum in the race for governor,” Whitbeck added.

The Cuccinelli campaign, however, said Whitbeck's comments were ill-suited.

“I don’t even know who [Whitbeck] is. It’s wholly inappropriate and not connected to the campaign. And it’s not reflective of Ken Cuccinelli,” Chris LaCivita, a Cuccinelli adviser, said in a statement.

Whitbeck's comments have been widely circulated on social media and the Internet, including HuffingtonPost.com, Salon.com and NYMag.com.

Contact the writer at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


My father-in-law who is a WWII vet is offended that you would make the comparison to Nazi Germany from the joke told by Whitbeck. There was no loss of respect for any race or culture except in the eyes of the want to be offended ones. My father-in-law stood up against the Japs and the Germans and has now had his say about your silly remarks.

I know a lot of conservative Republicans who are tired of the Right Wing TeaPublicans who are pushing their ideological social agenda rather than offering up solutions for citizens.  When you are not offended by an obviously offensive joke or a racial slur, then you are an accomplice to the offense and make yourself as “guilty” as the idiot who told the joke.  That many Republicans who were there are trying to downplay it by saying Whitbeck is a terrible joke teller is just hogwash.  The Holocaust would have never occurred had non-Jews stood up and said no.  That all the people who were there at that rally decided to defend his action and laugh so heartily at it means that as a society we have a long way to go in terms of accepting our fellow citizen no matter what race, religion, or creed. When you demean a person based on their religion, race, sexual orientation, etc, you decide they are “less than” yourself, they become almost less human and when a collective does that, it allows them to do horrible things to those who are “different”.  When politicians send those messages into the public sphere, they encourage acts of violence against those who are their targets. 

Interesting post from oranges869.  It is couched in a way to make us believe he is a “tea bagger” voter.  Let us presume he is.  What does that mean.  That Liz Miller is not the liberal she claims to be, since no tea bagger would ever vote for a liberal democrat.  So, maybe we all should take a much closer look at Liz Miller, and see if just maybe she’s not what she claims to be.

Would someone explain to Tag Greason that there has to be a special need before you can vote early or absentee. The robo-calls with his voice urging voters to vote early on his behave don’t indicate that he knows the rules when it comes to early voting. Things are different this time around for sure, we have seen his tax at all cost colors. I place a larger emphasis on how my tax dollar is spent rather then on the social issues and that’s why Elizabeth Miller is the person to vote for, for delegate!

Being offended has nothing to do with being a Republican or a Democrat.  It has to do with being Jewish and having extreme stereotypes perpetuated by local leaders.  I respected John’s views on government after serving with him on the Reform Commission.  As a Jew, upon hearing that joke, I find his moral compass a bit lacking.

The fact that several Republican Supervisors on the stage next to John, along with the Republican crowd, laughed at the “joke” is what makes this a political issue.  Had they all stayed silent, this would have been one man exercising poor judgement.  Sadly, it was not.

The only 2 goods things not allowed at Starbucks? Good coffee and guns.
Hope that doesn’t offend.

Hey whats a little ethnic stereo-typing among country residents, no big whoop that we mock non Christians.

For his next act he will tell a little joke about how all Muslims are terrorists.

What saddens me more are people defending this.

Duh, what to do for Halloween Parade?

This really wasn’t very funny.  Clearly, the participants in this “circus” do not want to be taken seriously.  If this is how the Loudoun County repubs want to conduct themselves, get off the playing field.  Clearly, they have no issues, or they would have talked about them.  No.  What we have is a “comic group” dressing up and claiming to be a serious political party.

Poor political tact on the part of Whitbeck.  When Republicans show their hand like that it plays into the stereotype of the exclusionist, white, Christian, conservative demeaning a minority group. They’re just not getting this demographic thing yet.  I notice Cuccinelli’s handlers were quick to distance themselves.  Perhaps the science of demography is acceptable to the Grand Inquisitor.

“‘I don’t even know who [Whitbeck] is [,]’ Chris LaCivita, a Cuccinelli adviser, said in a statement.”

Chris, he’s the man who nominated your candidate at the GOP convention.

Parroting a priest? Wanna guess who the joke is? Another VA boy that makes national news.

What is there to “understand”? Whitbeck told a lame joke, attributed to his priest, that plays on an ages-old negative stereotype of Jews. It’s decidedly poor in taste, is a sad display of Whitbeck’s lack of good judgment yet abundance of ignorance, and reflects poorly on the GOP and Cuccinelli and all those in attendance who laughed at it. Seems Whitbeck has found his “Macaca” moment.

John, as a 20 year member of the LCRC, I’m offended by your ‘joke’, your lack of contrition and your attempt to deflect it. It lacks the honor in which your position as the leader of the 10th district should hold.

It’s just that the Democrats didn’t understand the joke. Please, somebody explain it to them (but slowly) so they’ll understand and not blow a gasket.

Blamed it on a priest.  What a weasel.

Actually…no, it isn’t. it doesn’t matter where he heard it, Whitbeck should have used better judgment and not repeated it. Just because one CAN say whatever and claim it was a “joke” does not mean one SHOULD say it. There’s a big difference between “can” and “should”...a distinction clearly lost on Whitbeck, you, and many in that GOP, “God and country” crowd.

Actually it was funny.

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