Friday, October 13, 2006

Character Suddenly Counts For Democrats

The country spent eight years enduring one lurid Clinton sex scandal and lie after another, and each time the Democrats winced at any suggestion that any of it should matter. The only character that mattered they explained was the character displayed by his public policies and not his personal actions. This election year, Democrats appear determined by hook or crook to make an issue of the peccadilloes of their Republican opponents. The Washington Post's Jim VandeHie examines how Democratic congressional candidates are raising personal character issues about their Republican opponents. He writes today:

In the wake of the Mark Foley page scandal, Democrats are targeting the personal lives of Republicans in numerous key House races as part of a campaign to capitalize on voter disgust with the messy personal lives and alleged character defects among elected officials.

Although Democrats' internal polling shows that the Foley scandal is resonating deeply only in half a dozen races, party operatives are calculating that GOP candidates are now unusually vulnerable to personal attacks, several candidates and strategists said.

VandeHie doesn't mention Rep. Carson's unproven accusation that her Republican opponent beat up his wife 15 years ago, but it would fit right into what's happening in races across the country. Here's a sampling of the issues Democrats think voters should consider:

  • In New Jersey, Democratic candidate Linda Stender this week sent voters a two-page brochure accusing Rep. Mike Ferguson (R) of improperly preying on young women in a fashionable D.C. nightclub.
  • Democratic candidate Chris Carney is running an ad accusing Rep. Don Sherwood (R-Pa.) of "repeatedly choking" and "attempting to strangle" a young mistress.
  • Democratic candidate Kirsten Gillibrand is calling on GOP Rep. John E. Sweeney in Upstate New York to explain a drunken driving arrest 30 years ago and a more recent car accident.

Josh Marshall over at Talking Points Memo can't stop talking about Sen. George Allen's pecadilloes. Today, he's waving around a 32-year-old arrest record. He can't say what it's for because it's a mere one-line entry in a court ledger, but that hasn't stopped him from speculating what could be nothing more than a traffic arrest is something more serious such as assault and battery. He doesn't even know if it's Sen. Allen. Give me a break. Here in Indiana's 9th District race, Baron Hill (D) is running an ad suggesting that Rep. Mike Sodrel (R) is personally responsible for the Foley scandal. How?

And these same Democrats had what to say about Chappaquidick? Or how about Gennifer Flowers? Or Paula Jones? Or Monica Lewinsky? Or Juanita Broaddrick?


Jeff Newman said...

Politicians of both parties seem to have a penchant for womanizing (boy-izing in Foley's case?). I think it's part of the whole power trip.

The problem for the Republicans is they staked a claim of being the party of moral virtue and "family values," which makes them particularly vulnerable to the hypocrisy charge don't you think?

To lighten it up a bit, did you hear congress has launched a new education iniative? They're calling it "No Child's Behind Left Behind."

Anonymous said...

LOL Thanks for lightening this up...I was beginning to think AI was channeling Sean Hannity. This week, Sean was pushing some of the same info, with none other than Newt Gingrich. And Ollie North. I listen regularly only to hear the sheer hypocracy. They're completely shameless.

One indicted felon, and one former Speaker who abandoned his deathbed wife to fool around with a secretary. Only in America can guys like this, and Clinton, make millions giving speeches and writing books.

It just goes to show, that everyone's defintion of "hero" or "bum" is different.

Yeah, Clinton's actions disgusted me too. He paid dearly. When he coems to town to shill for Dems, I don't go.

But the crew in charge now, not unlike Eric Miller's minion,s set themselves up for a mighty fall. And it's aboout time. Live by the sword, fall on the sword, die on the sword.