Do What Bolling Says, Not What He Does

Published 3:48 pm Thursday, August 2, 2012

During his remarks at Girls State this summer, Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling told the assembly at Longwood University of his concern for over-the-top partisanship. We quoted what he said in this space, holding it up as a positive bipartisan example:

“Everything in government is about these rigid ideologies or it's about hyper-partisan politics. Everything seems to be about conflict, confrontation, or controversy. That's not where most people live,” he said in June.

“You cannot govern effectively from the extremes,” he explained. “Most people just live in the middle some place. Most people aren't Republicans or Democrats. They don't consider themselves liberals or conservatives and, frankly, they don't give a rip about partisan labels or philosophical labels.”

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Just a few weeks later, given a chance to practice what he preached at Girls State, Mr. Bolling was quoted, instead, as saying people who vote for President Obama should “check themselves into a mental hospital.”

Those words were regarded as so over the top that Michael J. Fitzpatrick, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), and Mira Signer, executive director of NAMI's Virginia office, issued a statement describing Lieutenant Governor Bolling's words as “an outrageous, ignorant and prejudiced statement. Because the Lt. Governor is state chairman of the Romney presidential campaign, we also call on Governor Romney to disavow the statement and speak out forcefully against the stigma that traditionally surrounds mental illness.”

State chairman of Romney's presidential campaign?

Oh. Conflict and confrontation trump leading by example.