The Washington Post

Colbert mocks GOP’s Va. redistricting coup

FILE: Comedian Stephen Colbert arrives to be honored at the Time 100 Gala in New York in this file photo taken April 24, 2012. (LUCAS JACKSON/REUTERS)

RICHMOND — Virginia’s General Assembly, lampooned on national TV last year for a plan to require women to get a vaginal ultrasound before an abortion, has once again become fodder for late-night comedians.

Stephen Colbert named Senate Republicans his “alpha dogs of the week” Wednesday for muscling a surprise redistricting plan through the evenly divided chamber on a day when one Democrat, Henry L. Marsh III of Richmond, was absent to attend President Obama’s inauguration. Marsh is a civil rights lawyer who decades ago argued school desegregation cases and served as the Richmond’s first black mayor.

“They waited until a Democratic senator and longtime civil rights leader left town on Martin Luther King Day to attend President Obama’s inauguration,” Colbert said, prompting groans from his audience. “In the words of Dr. King, ‘I have been to the mountaintop, and while I was there, they heavily redistricted the promised land.’ ”

Colbert poked fun at Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) , who has criticized how the bill was pushed through without public notice but has not said whether he would veto it. McDonnell has said he will make a decision if and when the bill, which faces a vote in the House as early as today, gets to him.

“It’s kind of a game-time decision,” Colbert said. “After all, if somebody offered me a panda burger, I would definitely say, ‘The idea is repellant and offensive, but if you’re just going to throw it out . . .’ ”

Colbert also mocked the Senate for adjourning its Martin Luther King Day session in honor of Confederate general Stonewall Jackson. The comedian did not note that proposal to so honor Jackson was made by a Democrat, Sen. Robert Creigh Deeds of Bath.

“What better way to honor Dr. King,” Colbert said, “because if it weren’t for the Confederacy, he wouldn't have had that much to do.”

Laura Vozzella covers Virginia politics for The Washington Post.

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