Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Patterns Emerge: A Wellstone Moment?

Here's a piece that I think gets it right (from H.H.). This IM-sex think is big in the media, and has given a little boost to the generic poll #'s, but we still are only looking at a 10 seat loss, max, and it's still a month to election day (15 is the magic number). This is before the backlash begins, and it will! (read on), before the war returns to issue #1, and before the ad campaign hits the Dem's with their votes against Intelligence eavesdropping, against funding for the war, against entitlement reform, in favor of tax increases and impeachment etc....I still predict a maximum 8-10 seat loss in the house and 2-4 seats in the Senate, with the possibility of only 1-2 and 5-6 in the house...T

Reading the comment boards here, it seems some people (especially liberal people) have either short or selective memories when it comes to Paul Wellstone’s funeral. Here’s what happened: A man who was liked and respected by all, including his ideological opponents, died tragically in a plane crash. At his memorial service, Democratic partisans opted to use his metaphorical coffin as a campaign prop while trying to rally the faithful.

If that was all that happened that night, it would have been plenty distasteful. But what made the Wellstone Memorial noteworthy was its raw ugliness. Republican dignitaries who attended the event to show their respect for Wellstone were booed when their images were shown on the Jumbotron. Many fevered-swamp type Democrats saw nothing wrong with this. The country recoiled from the spectacle, utterly repulsed and shocked. To many Democrats, though, the unsightliness of the Wellstone funeral apparently remains an obscure mystery.

The Democratic Party seems intent on replaying this mistake with the Foley affair. Let’s temporarily put aside the timing of the release of the Instant Messages and who-knew-what-when. Let’s just say for the moment that while the media currently hounds the Republican leadership, it’s a safe bet that it wasn’t the Republican leadership that plopped Foley’s IM’s into the lap of ABC News. If whoever was the errand boy delayed delivery to best achieve maximum political benefit, then the Democrats’ newfound status as the party of conventional morality will receive a decided blow.

But the real story here is the party’s eagerness to use victimized children as a campaign prop. The Patty Wettering campaign spot that I linked to earlier today tips the Democrats’ hand. Wettering is best known as a children’s advocate. Her own 16 year old was kidnapped and never found. Thus, Wettering has the proverbial Cindy Sheehan cloak of putative “absolute moral authority” that the simple-minded so admire.

It seems a tad too convenient that Wettering’s campaign is not only serving as the tip of the spear for the Democrats’ Foley offensive, but that the campaign’s ad has grossly distorted the facts of the Foley scandal. Her ad maintains that Foley molested children. One can almost picture Wettering asserting that her absolute moral authority gives her the right to redefine molestation to include things that happen in a virtual realm, and defying anyone to fight her on that ground. And once Wettering defines what happened as “molestation,” the rest of the party will surely follow.

The Wettering campaign’s advertisement also says that congressional leaders “have admitted” to covering up Foley’s antics. There again, Wettering advances the Foley narrative into completely unsupported realms.

WHAT’S UNSEEMLY HERE harkens back to the Wellstone funeral. Although Democrats didn’t realize it at the time and most of them still don’t realize it today, their real sin that night was using a friend’s coffin as a political bludgeon. The old saying is that in America, politics ends at the water’s edge. That saying reflects the fact that most Americans strongly feel that politics belongs in a distinct realm. When a party invites politics to a funeral, it offends the sensibilities of most Americans. It also shows the party doing the inviting to be craven to its core.

The Democrats are now doing the same thing. On the one hand you’ve got Patti Wetterling suggesting that Foley’s crimes were so grave that they should be labeled molestation. On the other hand, you’ve got Wetterling trying to use the victims of those crimes for electoral advantage. As John F. Kennedy once said about Richard Nixon, “No class.”

And speaking of Kennedys, I write this piece about five miles away from Ted Kennedy’s Back Bay mansion. The Senator is probably sleeping in this morning since the Senate’s not in session and he’s running for re-election this Fall essentially unopposed.

But Ted Kennedy remains a living, breathing reminder of why the Democrats’ urgent conversion to the party of traditional values is risibly misguided. So, too, does Patty Wetterling’s latest campaign stumble.
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