The Evolution of Ruth Anderson

Delegate Rich Anderson is widely known for his political cowardice, his breathtaking two-faced hypocrisy. It’s always most evident in election years, when you’ll see him at NAACP events or LGBT events, preaching solidarity with the goals of the organization, and then consistently voting against their legislative priorities in the House of Delegates. He’ll tell delegates across the aisle in private that he would like to see Medicaid expanded in Virginia, but then he votes with expansion’s opponents. When faced with the issue of redistricting reform to end gerrymandering, Anderson will say he supports the effort; then, true to form, he votes against it when a bill comes to the floor. He combines the hard-right legislative views of Scott Lingamfelter and Bob Marshall, but without their principled honesty. You’ll never see either of the latter telling an LGBT group they support their goals before voting against them in Richmond.

No, that’s Rich Anderson’s thing. It’s what he’s best at. He’s built his career on it.

It had not been the case with his spouse, Supervisor Ruth Anderson. Oh sure, the Andersons quickly perfected the two-step that even some Republican supporters predicted with discomfort would happen after Ruth Anderson assumed office. When something controversial affecting Prince William involved discussions at the state level, Delegate Rich Anderson would take one position while Supervisor Ruth Anderson took another. This way they could be on both sides of the issue, feed each other information, and share campaign contributions from both proponents and opponents of the issue. We saw this most prominently on the Bi-County Parkway controversy, where Rich Anderson carried proponents’ water for some time, while Ruth Anderson sided with its opponents.

It was precisely concern over this sort of double-dealing that long ago led the BOCS to oppose the appointment of Clancy McQuigg to replace the late Michele McQuigg on the BOCS after the latter surrendered her seat upon winning an election for the House of Delegates. It wasn’t necessarily animosity toward either McQuigg, but instead concern over the inherent conflict of interest likely to tempt the parties to forgo the best interests of their constituents for their own political advantage. Naturally, the Andersons promptly took advantage of the situation when given the opportunity.

But while Rich Anderson is now infamous for talking out of both sides of his mouth, this had not been the knock on Ruth Anderson. Critics have always cited instead that she . . . well . . . is a few fries short of a Happy Meal . . . not the sharpest knife in the drawer . . . played too much without a helmet . . . dense enough that light bends around her . . . you get the picture. It’s sometimes painful to watch BOCS meetings where she asks questions from note cards seemingly coordinated with Brentsville Supervisor Jeanine Lawson and Gainesville Supervisor Pete Candland. Sometimes the questions aren’t relevant to the topic or have already been answered, like she’s using a paint-by-numbers template with typos. Most painful to watch is when she runs out of notecards and the person being questioned asks for a clarification or a follow-up. The resulting fumbling makes teachers in the room want to scream that this is why you don’t have the smart kids do your homework for you. You need to do it yourself if you want to learn.

But recent evidence shows that Ruth Anderson has evolved. She’s adopted her spouse’s penchant for talking out of both sides of his mouth, for trying to have it both ways. The problem, of course, is that unlike Rich Anderson, who generally can say one thing in Prince William and then go down and do another in Richmond, where subcommittee votes are not recorded and people have little time or ability to follow what’s going on, it’s not quite the same for the BOCS. Here at least the BOCS meetings are recorded and Ruth Anderson’s double-talk can be more readily witnessed.

After all her rhetoric about taxes, Ruth Anderson voted this week to increase the County’s tax rate, but in true Rich Anderson form, again tried to have it both ways. She expressed her grave concerns about the increase in the fire levy, and several times mentioned the need for more transparency because the media “do not dwell” on the fire levy. This gets back to the . . . well . . . “not the sharpest knife in the drawer” issue. For some reason going all the way back to her campaign for supervisor, Ruth Anderson seems to have trouble reading her tax bill, where separate items like the fire levy are clearly identified. As County Executive Chris Martino explained, the county tries to be very transparent about the taxes and levies assessed to residents. The fire levy is included and broken out in all the presentations comparing Prince William to other jurisdictions, in the tax presentations made to the BOCS, and in the information provided to the public. It’s unclear how much more this could be dumbed-down for Anderson to grasp it. Perhaps she wants the county to call each resident and walk through their tax bill with them. But we digress.

After her unsuccessful motion to lower the fire levy, which was proposed to cover existing gaps in service, Anderson nevertheless supported the increase in the tax rate, and then voted against a motion to approve the county’s 2018 spending plan. It was vintage Andersonian double-talk and produced a 4-4 tie on the biggest agenda item. A compromise offered by Chairman Stewart broke the impasse with Anderson voting in favor, but she still tried to have it both ways, saying of the compromise “[t]hat didn’t convince me, I just thought we were going to have more debate about this when I took that vote. So, I just went along with it, even though I do have real concerns.

I thought we were going to have more debate about this when I took that vote. So I just went along with it.” It seems after more than a year on the BOCS Anderson still does not understand the mechanics of BOCS votes. But again, we digress.

Later in the week Anderson doubled-down on the Rich Anderson double-talk approach with commentary to the Prince William Times about Chair Corey Stewart’s recent embrace of Confederate symbols in his campaign for Governor. The Times reported on Coles Supervisor Marty Nohe’s decision to take a public stand against Stewart’s actions and the damage Nohe believes it is causing Prince William County. Nohe’s bold statements were in contrast to those of Gainesville Supervisor Pete Candland who despite normally loving to make self-righteous pronouncements, chose instead essentially not to comment (this is likely, we believe, out of a desire not to offend his far-right, confederacy-loving base in the event he has to square off against Nohe in a race for BOCS chair in 2019).

But worse than Candland’s de facto “no comment” was Anderson’s attempt to be on both sides of the issue. According to the Times, “[a]fter noting she agrees with the need to ‘save our history’ even if it includes things about which we’re not proud’, Anderson added: ‘But I do not believe we need to do it in such a manner that it causes division.

In this Ruth did a classic imitation of her husband Rich Anderson. First make sure to appeal to the misguided, and to the extreme fringe who think that it’s destroying our history if you are criticized for proudly waving a Confederate flag and pining away for the days when you could sit on the portico, sip mint juleps served by immaculately dressed black men, while watching the black field hands toil away on the spreading acres. Or pine away for the days when the descendants of the hands couldn’t make use of your water fountain, bathroom, lunch counter, or voting booth. Then, of course, in the same statement pivot to sanitize the issue by saying we shouldn’t do it “in such a manner that it causes division.” That’s right, you should proudly wave the Confederate flag and thump your chest about the Old South and the lost cause – just don’t do it in front of black people since that might cause division. Or maybe be polite enough to put up a sign warning black people that in the public park that they want to play in with their kids that there’s a statute of a white man who risked his life to try to ensure that those same kids would be slaves. Yes, we really should do something like that so we can proudly celebrate the goals of the Confederacy without causing division.

Love them or hate them, at least Marty Nohe and Corey Stewart have had the courage to take a stand. As for Ruth Anderson, her evolution into Rich Anderson seems almost complete.

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16 comments on “The Evolution of Ruth Anderson

  1. -

    You didn’t mention a great example of the “Anderson two-step” that’s also in the Prince William Times. Ruth Anderson says she hasn’t decided who to endorse in the Virginia governor’s race, but her husband Rich Anderson has been kissing up to Ed Gillespie and showing him around the county.

  2. -

    It’s about time that someone addressed Ruth Anderson’s intelligence. It’s always the elephant in the room in any meeting with her. She’s definitely the low bar on the BOCS. She should be on the School Board where she would feel right at home with some of the Democrats.

  3. -

    Fire stuff seems to confuse Ruth. When she ran for supervisor she didn’t even know the difference between the career and volunteer firefighters and she threw the volunteers under the bus in a questionnaire to get the support of the career union. She was completely clueless. But she made up for it by taking a ride on one of our fire trucks.

  4. -

    You’ve ignored me, but I said a long time ago that she should be called AWOL Anderson because even when she’s there she’s not really there.

  5. -

    We seem to have a tradition forming in the Occoquan district. Ruth’s predecessor was nicknamed Mike Maybe, for example. The population here is diverse and GOP politicians want to do their constituent outreach without riling the right. This will become more and more of a challenge in the future.

  6. -

    The Andersons have a problem with race. They’re the type of people who do this “aw-shucks” kind of thing that they can’t be racist cause they have black friends. I’ll never forget Rich Anderson’s comment at a black church about how when he grew up only white women were called “ladies” but now he was proud to say we’re all “ladies.” I got news for him. We were always ladies and we didn’t need his okay to consider ourselves ladies.

  7. -

    I have another Anderson two step story. I remember when Rich and Ruth visited our mosque. Rich sheepishly asked if Ruth had to wear a headscarf and was told she didn’t really have to if she didn’t want to. Later we found out that Ruth had talked big and loud at a Republican women’s meeting a few days before saying something like “I’m an American and I will not wear a headscarf.”

  8. -

    To anonymous—my feeling is, when in Rome, do as the Romans. I can’t imagine anyone going to another person’s house of worship and not conforming by the customs of that religion. If you can’t abide by the customs, stay home.

  9. -

    Yes, when it comes to Ruth Anderson the porch light isn’t on.

  10. -

    Don’t forget Ruth’s delusions of adequacy.

  11. -

    I agree with Raven. It’s not endorsing anything, it’s just a matter of being courteous and respecting the traditions of a house of worship where you’re attending as a guest. Like Christian men putting on one of the offered guest yarmulkes when they attend a service at a synagogue. It’s another example of Anderson’s ignorance.

  12. -

    A little too much chlorine in the gene pool perhaps.

  13. -

    This would be funny if it wasn’t so true. Look at the tapes of the first few BOCS meetings and you’ll see that Anderson didn’t know how to turn her microphone on.

  14. -

    A mind surpassed only by that of garden tools.

  15. -

    Muckraker – totally spot on about Ruth, but I have to take strong issue with “Love them or hate them, at least Marty Nohe and Corey Stewart have had the courage to take a stand”. Corey’s “stand” on the Confederate flag or any of his other outrageous positions is not only NOT courageous, it’s the most obvious, cynical, pandering, opportunistic campaign strategy ever – and that includes Trump. Corey has no more interest in preserving Virginia’s “heritage” than some lost tribe of the Amazon would have. If tomorrow he wakes up and decides it will get him more attention he will happily take up a crusade to eliminate every Confederate statue in the Commonwealth. Courage has nothing to do with it. He does have something in common with Ruth though – they both act entirely in their own self interest – and will say and do whatever they think serves that interest best. Stewart is just a bit more practiced. Marty Nohe on the other hand actually did show courage this week – both moral and political. Muckraker, surely you can recognize the difference.

  16. -

    I agree with Anonymous regarding Marty, Corey and I don’t know enough about Ruth to include her.

    Corey doesn’t care about anything other than votes. He would grind up the statue to pave a road if he thought he could get a vote. It’s all a ruse. Just how many people state-wide who don’t know the beast will vote for him?

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