Man Without Qualities

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

You're So Forgiving!

OpinionJournal has been commenting on a photo of Sen. Hillary Clinton once carried on - but now deleted from - her Web site. The photo is (was) of the Senator speaking at a press conference with someone rather close by with a sign that appears to read RELIGION IS IMMORAL. Jim Taranto notes: Hillary isn't actually carrying the sign herself, and can hardly be blamed for the (perhaps) nutty views expressed by a denizen of the peanut gallery.

I agree with Mr. Taranto - but some people here in California don't seem to have the same standards, as the Sacramento Bee reported regarding a little trick pulled by some opponents of the effort to recall Governor Gray Davis:

A group created by organized labor to derail a recall against Gov. Gray Davis on Tuesday showed a willingness to play hardball politics when it attempted to indirectly link a Republican congressman financing the recall campaign to Nazi sympathizers. At a news conference, a spokesman for Taxpayers Against the Governor's Recall ran a 10-minute videotape shot by Democratic operatives during now-U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa's failed run for the U.S. Senate in 1998. The video showed an Issa campaign table set up at the entrance to a Southern California gun show; elsewhere on the grounds, the video showed one or more exhibits displaying a flag with a swastika. ....

The video never shows Issa, nor does it record any interaction among Issa campaign supporters and anyone displaying Nazi paraphernalia. Instead, the lens zooms in on images of swastikas inside a building at the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds, which was hosting the Great Western Gun Show, then pans outdoors, where an Issa for Senate table was set up next to a National Rifle Association registration booth.

"These are the things that are on display at gun shows like this," said Carroll Wills, a spokesman for the group calling itself Taxpayers Against the Governor's Recall. "It's not to suggest necessarily that Congressman Issa is himself a Nazi sympathizer. However, I think that there are an awful lot of politicians who would eschew the idea of participating in any event where that type of flag is shown."

Is that the right standard? Instead of allowing Senator Clinton so much political distance from the offensive sign - which was, after all, posted on her own websight - should Mr. Taranto have snarled: "It's not to suggest necessarily that Senator Clinton is herself a hater of all religion. However, I think that there are an awful lot of politicians who would eschew the idea of participating in any event where that type of sign is shown."

Is it all in the Coast? Or is it the political persuasion?

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