A couple months ago Jane called to give me some disturbing news. She warned me that it was heart of darkness time right near where she was living! One of the most reprehensible extremists any of us had ever run across, Barbara Comstock, is trying to get into elected office. Many of us first heard about Comstock when we read David Brock’s book, Blinded By The Right

One night in the winter of 1995, as the scandal over the firings of workers in the White house travel office reached a crescendo on the Hill I received a late night telephone call from one of Ted’s colleagues on an investigative committee, Barbara Comstock. Around the committee, the two Barbaras [Comstock and Olsen] were known as “the Barbarellas,” a reference to the 1968 movie starring Jane Fonda as a space-age vixen whose cosmic adventures take her to bizarre planets via rocket ships. Late night calls from Barbara Comstock were not unusual. She often telephoned with the latest tidbit she had dig up in the thousands of pages of administration records she pored through frantically, as if she were looking for a winning lottery ticket she had somehow mislaid. A plain woman with tousled reddish brown hair, she once dropped by my house to watch the rerun of a dreadfully dull Whitewater hearing she had sat through all day. Comstock sat on the edge of her chair shaking, screaming over and over again, “Liars!” As Comstock’s leads failed to pan out and she was unable to catch anyone in a lie, the Republican aide confided that the Clinton scandals were driving her to distraction, to the unfortunate point that she was ignoring the needs of her own family.

A very smart lawyer by training and the main breadwinner for her charismatic, happy-go-lucky husband and kids, Comstock remarked that maybe she couldn’t get Hillary’s sins off her brain “because Hillary reminds me of me. I am Hillary.” In this admission a vivid illustration of a much wider “Hillary” phenomenon can be seen. Comstock knew nothing about Hillary Clinton. Comstock’s “Hillary” was imaginary, a construction composed entirely of the negative points in her own life.

Comstock invited me to go along on an expedition to the Washington home of senior White House aide David Watkins, the central figure in the travel scandal Olson and Comstock were probing. A short time later, Republican lawyers Comstock, Olson, and other congressional investigators, including David Bossie, and Whitewater investigator Christopher Bartomolucci, pulled up outside my house in an SUV. Though I wasn’t sure what the group hoped to accomplish– they were visibly frustrated with their inability so far to incriminate Watkins– I went along for the ride. Olson explained that Congressman Sonny Bono had cleared us into the private, gated community where both Bono and Watkins lived, in the northwest section of Georgetown. When we arrived at our destination, Olsen giddily leapt from the truck, trespassed onto Watkins’s property, and hopped down a steep cliff that abutted his home. Barbara peered into Watkins’s window where she observed him– watching television. No crime there. (Blinded by The Right by David Brock, p 208, 209.)

But it was Digby who pretty much broke the news that Comstock was acting as the GOP’s #1 oppo character assassin. She’s been in the middle of every Republican dirty trick for 2 decades– from Scooter Libby, Monica Goodling, Dan Burton, the Florida 2000 vote theft, John Ashcroft, and Tom DeLay. And her list of big time right-wing donors reads like a list of all the worst in American politics– from Ted Olson, Eric Cantor, Bill Bennett, Michael Chertoff and Jay Sekulow to Borks and Ledeens, Matalins, Maleks, Toensings, Townsends and even a Scalia! It’s a shame she isn’t running for something in DC, which is where all of her contributors are from and where she has focused 100% of her smarmy political efforts, like her current jihad against Employee Free Choice. She’s certainly never done anything remotely connected to the district she’s trying to capture now.

Fortunately, the seat Barbara Comstock is trying to get her hands on is held by one of the smartest, best-liked and most competent state legislators in Virgina, progressive icon Margi Vanderhye. Watch the brief video interview with her above and you’ll get a feeling for what she’s all about before joining us in the comments section for a live session.

Margi has been active in Virginia community service for over two decades but she’s new to the House of Delegates. In her first term she’s focused on a wide array of issues that are most important for people in Northern Virginia: economic development (especially of the “green” variety), environmental protection, strengthening public education, sensible solutions to the transportation crisis, and improving health care. This year she authored a law to expand the screening and treatment of breast and cervical cancer for Virginia women, which is being used as a model across the country. There’s plenty more about her– plus an opportunity to sign up as a volunteer at her website.

Comstock has one thing going for her: big money from every right-wing donor Inside-the-Beltway. That’s why Blue America has decided to make Margi our first endorsement this year. We started a Blue America ActBlue page for her and we’re giving away cool CD packs to the 20 top donors today.