Interesting article over at The Daily Beast about Sheila Johnson, former wife of Robert Johnson and co-founder of BET. The article focuses on her revulsion caused by the race to the bottom by the network she and her former husband founded and no longer own. It misses something which is politically relevant in favor of the salacious, and I think echoed by a goodly number of Virginians – disappointment and anger with our new Republican Governor who lied during the election to sell himself as a moderate in line with the general populace. Sheila appeared in ads for Bob McDonnell, and supported him during his campaign…
Now she regrets that support.
Sheila Johnson has had a rougher time as a political activist. A major Democratic Party donor (who supported her good friend Barack Obama over her good friend Hillary Clinton in the presidential contest), she took a walk on the wild side last year and backed Bob McDonnell, the Republican nominee for governor of Virginia, because of his business-friendly emphasis on job-creation. Her candidate won, but otherwise things didn’t turn out so well.
During the campaign, she got herself into trouble—and quickly had to apologize—when she spoke at a McDonnell event and mimicked the stutter of his Democratic opponent, Creigh Deeds. Then, after McDonnell was sworn in, she watched in horror as the new governor enunciated a variety of socially conservative policies, especially regarding a constitutional ban on gay marriage and other civil rights issues, and then declared a celebration of Virginia’s “Confederate History Month” without any mention of slavery.
“Politics, oh gosh!” Johnson says with a groan. “I feel like I was thrown under the bus on that one… The lesson that I’ve learned in all of this is I will never get involved in politics again.”
Although she was wildly enthusiastic about helping elect the first African-American president, Johnson is measured in her assessment of Obama’s performance thus far. “I think the jury’s still out,” she says. “He’s got probably the hardest presidency in the history of this entire country… I feel as though the health-care bill was a little bit rushed through—it was almost like we were force-fed this bill—and I would have liked to see more focus on jobs and the economy.”
She says she is especially worried by the anger abroad in the land. “What’s scary right now is just the atmosphere,” she says when I ask her what she thinks of the Tea Party movement. “I’m very nervous about the anger, the hostility, the racial comments. I have never seen anything like this.”