Ben Tribbett, Redskins part company

Ben Tribbett 1By Lynn R. Mitchell

Virginia liberal blogger Ben Tribbett’s name is a little like Monica Lewinsky’s: both will forever be connected to politicians. Perhaps that’s why eyebrows were raised when Ben was hired by the Washington Redskins two weeks ago to run their online PR operation in the quest to keep their embattled team name.

At the time, I wrote about Ben shuttering his Not Larry Sabato blog but did not know until the next day that he had done so to take the job with the Redskins. That’s when the irony of the situation played out. Conservative bloggers had been in the thick of the battle in 2006 when Ben pushed the macaca meme against our candidate, Senator George Allen, that played into the frenzied atmosphere where every word and move were parsed for alternate meanings. In the end, Senator Allen lost his reelection bid and Ben hung out his shingle, rightly or wrongly, as he-who-took-down-George Allen.

I didn’t write about Ben’s new job with the Redskins and just let it ride even though Senator Allen’s father was the famous Redskins coach George Allen, and the team is managed by Bruce Allen, son of Coach Allen and brother of Senator Allen.

So many connections.

Just as most were getting used to the Tribbett-Redskins idea, Ben threw in another twist with these tweets Monday night:

A mere two weeks after it all began, it had all come to an end as Ben now faces the politically correct atmosphere he helped foster aound Senator Allen eight years ago. His resignation made the rounds of news outlets including the front page of this morning’s Richmond Times-Dispatch hard copy … right column below the fold (see Redskins blogger Tribbett resigns abruptly as old posts surface by Michael Phillips).

Political reporter Ryan Nobles has a very good, in-depth article at his NBC-12 blog (see Unearthed tweets send Tribbett packing from Redskins).

In Waynesboro, Augusta Free Press reporter and owner Chris Graham didn’t mince words when he wrote “Liberal blogger hired by Redskins resigns: Who didn’t see this coming?”

That this odd coupling ended the way it did shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anybody. Tribbett was nothing if not controversial, garnering whatever level of name recognition he can be said to have for his role in publicizing the “macaca” incident that took down sitting U.S. Sen. George Allen, the brother of Redskins general manager Bruce Allen, in 2006.

The team saw Tribbett as a liberal blogger providing political cover given that its critics are on the left, and have been loud. Tribbett, to his credit, has proven adept at being loud himself, his role in the downfall of George Allen, a one-time future presidential fave on the right, as a resume highlight. But the the take-no-prisoners Tribbett had his share of detractors on the left as well, a given in today’s political climate anyway, with the litmus tests on both sides that the activists like to use to define each other. (Tribbett himself could play that game with the best of them.)

Hmm. So many thoughts but I’ll just let it go. Wonder if this means the shutters will be reopened at Ben’s Not Larry Sabato blog….

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