Something quite startling happened in a close House race in northern Virginia this year. The Washington Post endorsed the incumbent Republican, Barbara Comstock. Comstock has been a familiar figure in the region for decades, but not in a way that would typically earn the Post’s admiration. In the 1990s, as chief counsel to the House Oversight and Reform Committee, she made the Clintons sweat with investigations into their hydra-headed scandals. She served three terms in the Virginia House of Delegates, winning each time in a district that leaned Democrat. In 2014, she ran for and won the seat she now holds by a 16-point margin.
In a year when the two major-party presidential nominees are dismaying and demoralizing, it’s a relief to pay tribute to a politician who is honorable, able, and worthy.
Virginia’s sprawling 10th congressional district extends from the close-in suburbs of Washington, D.C. all the way to the Shenandoah Valley bordering West Virginia. It’s a great district for a fearful flyer (not that Comstock is, just saying). But accessibility is double-edged sword. Most of the district lies within a couple of hours’ drive from the capital (some parts much closer), but that means the representative is expected at pretty much every event. A scroll through Comstock’s Facebook page shows that she almost never begs off. She is like Zelig: everywhere. I once asked her how many nights per week she attends events. It’s usually seven, she allowed. An Indian-American meet and greet, a Korean barbecue night, a high-tech conference (the Dulles corridor is the Washington area’s Silicon Valley), a high-school homecoming, a veterans’ event, a film festival, a maternity home, a firefighters open house, a breast-cancer awareness event, a Columbus Day parade (in the rain).
For 34 years, the district was represented by Republican Frank Wolf, whose particular passion was human rights. Since leaving Congress he has worked with the Wilberforce Initiative, defending victims of religious persecution. Comstock has upheld the tradition, cosponsoring two pieces of legislation on human trafficking, demanding that the Obama administration devise plans to defeat ISIS, and initiating legislation to label ISIS’s crimes against Christians and others as “genocide.”
LuAnn Bennett, a real estate executive whose own domicile has raised questions (the Washington Free Beacon reports that Bennett lived at the Ritz-Carlton in the District of Columbia and only acquired a rental in the district eight days before declaring her candidacy), offers the usual Democratic party talking points: equal pay for women (which has been law since 1963), a minimum-wage increase to $15 per hour, universal pre-K, and paid family leave. She unintentionally provoked laughter at a Loudoun Chamber of Commerce appearance when she praised the ACA for “making health care more affordable.”
Through constituent service, opposition to Obamacare, support for defense, outreach to minorities, and hostility to grandstanding government shutdowns, Comstock earned the endorsements of every major newspaper in her district. Bennett is struggling to hang Trump around Comstock’s neck. But Comstock never endorsed Trump, and in the aftermath of the Access Hollywood tape’s release, condemned his statements as “vile, disgusting, and disqualifying.”
If the Republican party is going to survive post-2016, Barbara Comstock is exactly the sort of leader to help it rise from the rubble. She could be, she should be, the new face of the party.
— Mona Charen is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. Copyright © 2016 Creators.com