[Sun Gazette editorials represent the viewpoint of Sun Gazette Newspapers, which provides content to, but is otherwise unaffiliated with, InsideNoVa or Rappahannock Media LLC.]

The best political advice for those who find themselves in a political hole? Stop digging.

Clearly no one got that message to Alicia Plerhoples, who in early June ran a respectable second in the Democratic primary for chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors but in the period since has managed to raise eyebrows and undermine her own credibility.

About 10 days after the primary, Plerhoples – a member of the McLean Community Center Governing Board – took to a far-left blog to blast The Washington Post for its pre-election endorsement of Jeff McKay, who ended up winning the primary and by all likelihood will become Fairfax’s next board chairman.

Perhaps thinking nobody would see her missive but the far-left crowd, Plerhoples took the newspaper to task for a host of purported sins, including being “anti-woman” and “anti-family,” said the paper was guilty of “white privilege.”

For a politician to back us into the corner of defending the editorial page of The Washington Post takes some doing. But the fact is, that paper’s editorial page looked at the field and concluded that McKay was the most qualified candidate, based on the criteria it uses to vet contenders. It’s the same conclusion we came to, even though our editorial-page perspectives at times can be at loggerheads with the Post’s.

Plerhoples is entitled to her opinion, but she’s not entitled to the Post’s, nor ours. And while the daily probably made some missteps in its vetting process (asking women questions it did not ask men, if those allegations are true), the fact is that Plerhoples and a good number of candidates running for various supervisor seats in the June 11 primary simply were not ready for political prime time. The voters, in most cases, agreed. Sometimes, a cigar is just a cigar, with no deeper meaning or hidden agenda.

The up-and-coming generation of political leaders needs to learn that nobody reacts well to post-election whining. If you lose a race, suck it up, learn from the experience and start working to win the next one, rather than trying to blame those who opted not to support you.

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