Startling Meanness

About two weeks ago, Sen. Tom Daschle decried what he called the startling meanness of American politics.

Two weeks later, as Sen. Tim Johnson equates Republicans to the Taliban, Daschle says nothing. If that is not a case of startling meanness in American politics, then no such things exists. There is absolutely no excuse for drawing such an odious comparison. It is not only a statement that sounds foolish, but displays a startling lack of tact and common sense.

What’s more shocking is that this comes from Sen. Tim Johnson, who is not exactly a barking moonbat. He’s been one of the more sensible Democrats in the Senate, and he has displayed a willingness to reach across party lines for the good of South Dakota. Hearing something like this from Daschle would be almost a non-event, but from Johnson it’s more than little disturbing.

I have a feeling this is seriously going to hurt Stephanie Herseth in this race. She had been leading Diedrich in the polls, but the last thing the people of South Dakota want is that kind of petty politics of mass destruction in their state. I don’t believe Herseth supports such an attack, as she’s a reasonable and moderate Democrat that has garnered the support of several prominent South Dakota Republicans. In a state that’s overwhelmingly Republican, attacking Republicans and equating them with people who believed in the absolute subjugation of women is unacceptable. That kind of rhetoric demeans those who use it, and both Johnson and Herseth won because they were able to attract the votes of some of South Dakota’s Republican majority.

However, if she can’t comdemn such an irresponsible statement, it will not play well in South Dakota. This kind of blatant political attack is simply unacceptable in responsible politics. Coming from two Democrats who should know better, it’s especially appalling.

Herseth has promised to run a clean campaign. She should stick to that promise and tell Sen. Johnson to apologize for his abhorrent comment.

UPDATE: And just as I published this entry Sen. Johnson has issued an apology for his comments:

“My comment from this weekend was a flip remark made at a campaign event meant to rally supporters. If any Republicans were offended, I apologize,” the statement said. “It was directed at the small, but vocal group of national Republicans that attacked my patriotism and compared me to Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden at the very same time my son was defending our nation in Afghanistan.”

Now, this apology assumes that the Johnson was being compared to bin Laden or Hussein, which as the Dachle v. Thune blog notes, is not at all the case.

Still, a half apology is better than none, I suppose.

UPDATE: Another thought: even if some sinister cabal of Evil Republicans did accuse Johnson of being like Hussein or bin Laden, exactly how does that justify calling accusing them of being like the Taliban? Last time I checked the Taliban did a hell of a lot worse things than just make false accusations against people. Unless Johnson really wants to insinuate that Republicans force women into burkas and stone homosexuals to death his comment can’t even remotely be justified in any way, shape, or manner.

3 thoughts on “Startling Meanness

  1. It is ironic that anyone from the Dem party has the gall to criticize anyone for setting a “mean” tone in politics.

    The Dems for the last year and or so have engaged in an unprecedented partisan and strident attack on President Bush.

    I cannot recall in the last 30 years or so there being such a mean-spirited and concerted party effort to bring down a president…and this in a time of war.

    The Dems rule is this: the rules only should apply to the Republicans.

  2. That was an uncalled for remark on the part of Johnson, but I don’t think it will have any effect on Herseth’s campaign. For the most part, the people who would be offended by such a comment are exactly the ones who would never vote for a Democrat, blue dog or not…

    Anyway, my prediction is a 52/48 split with Herseth the victor. It’s going to be really, really close.

  3. Anyway, my prediction is a 52/48 split with Herseth the victor. It’s going to be really, really close.

    That sounds about right to me. I wouldn’t be surprised if Herseth won bigger than that.

    Herseth is the bluest of Blue Dog Democrats, and other than her views on abortion she could easily be a Republican. Given that both candidates are talking how they’ll never cut benefits for Social Security (despite the fact that eventually we’ll *have* to) and pumping up the anti-corporate rhetoric, there’s really not a big difference between them.

    The only thing I could see hurting Herseth is that piece she put out with Daschle’s picture right on the cover (unless the DNC put that out, which wouldn’t have been smart). There are a lot of Republicans who would vote for Herseth but hate Daschle, and that might turn them off.

    All things being equal, Herseth is the type of Democrat I could live with. Heaven knows the Democrats need some moderates right now.

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