Fred Malek.(Washington Post)

Slate’s Timothy Noah has a nice screed against Fred Malek, the longtime political operative most recently appointed by Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, a conservative Republican, to a government reform commission. The problem with Malek is that, in the 1970s, at the direction of President Nixon, he appears to have compiled a list of Jews (or, more precisely, people with Jewish-sounding names) at the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and then played a role in many of these folks’ demotions. Later on, he lied about this.

Writes Noah,

Malek has not lifted a finger publicly to correct these lies, much less apologize for the actions they were meant to conceal. …

Malek’s Jew-counting past probably played some role in his investment group’s failing to win Major League Baseball’s approval to own the Nationals, the D.C. baseball team—Malek had previously helped supply the cash for George W. Bush to acquire the Texas Rangers—but given the Nationals’ performance, that may have been a blessing in disguise. Malek has lately emerged as a leading adviser to former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

Now Malek is reorganizing Virginia state government. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that in giving Malek this job, McDonnell is coddling an anti-Semite. I believe that Malek was probably repulsed by what he ended up doing for Nixon. But he did it, and ever since Malek has lied to avoid admitting the depth of his involvement in this grotesque episode. If that’s atonement, then I’m St. Francis of Assisi.

One quibble: Check the sports section, Mr. Noah! The Nationals are currently one game above .500!

What’s The Matter With Virginia? Part 2 [Slate]