The Washington Post's Aaron Ringel Problem

Friday, October 30, 2009

Posted by The Green Miles

Why doesn't Aaron Ringel's official campaign bio list the job he held until just 22 months ago? Maybe he doesn't want Arlington voters to know he worked for a firm that did lobbying work for Hugo Chavez.

Ringel's LinkedIn profile shows he worked for Bracewell & Giuliani from May 2006 to December 2007. During that time, it was revealed the firm took as much as $200,000 to lobby for Citgo, the Venezuelan state-run oil company. The firm is also one of the country's biggest lobbyists for Big Oil.

Ringel's disgusting attack on longtime Arlington leader Del. Bob Brink (paid for not by Ringel's campaign but by the state party) re-opens questions about Aaron Ringel. Who is Aaron Ringel? Why is he really running? Who would he represent in Richmond?

I wouldn't expect Arlington Republican Party Chair Mark Kelly to condemn Ringel's attack -- Kelly works for the Heritage Foundation, so Karl Rove tactics are fine with him. I wouldn't expect Eric Brescia to condemn it -- he's only 24 and I can't imagine he'd want to rock the boat. And I certainly wouldn't expect Bob McDonnell to say a word, even though he once served with Del. Brink in the House of Delegates.

But after endorsing Ringel's campaign just a few days ago, the Washington Post can't dodge this one. Its editorial board endorsed a former lobbyist making dirty attacks -- and did it explicitly because Aaron Ringel doesn't have Arlington's best interests in mind.

You have to wonder how much the Post knew or even cared about Ringel himself. The endorsement just seemed like thumbing its nose at Arlington and its silly "smart growth" and "wise use of resources." Given that the Post recently pulled its local reporter out of Arlington, the Post's credibility as a source of news and opinion in Arlington is clearly at stake.

It's not too late. And this dirty attack on a longtime Arlington leader is just the opportunity the Post needed to save its reputation in Arlington. The Post should immediately withdraw its endorsement of Aaron Ringel in the 48th district.