Tuesday, May 20, 2008


I find it amusing when the right wingers get all excited when they see someone respond to their attacks as if they were the innocent party and the respondent gets, as they claim, “hysterical” or “loses their cool.” It’s as if they — the wingnuts — should be immune to criticism and that their targets should curl up into a ball and whimper. Anything is fair game as long as they get to win, and if anyone strikes back, they have the bully’s act down pat: It all started when he hit me back.

Case in point: the Tennessee Republican party has been airing an ad using Michelle Obama as their target. Barack Obama doesn’t like it, and he told ABC that he didn’t like it. The wingers’ immediate response was to say that the senator was “whining,” ,” and that he “lost his cool,” or having a “temper tantrum.” Well, I watched the clip (see it here) and if that’s Sen. Obama losing his cool, I’d say that’s about as mellow a show of temper that you can get without being comatose.

Last week the McCain campaign called Sen. Obama’s response to President Bush’s outrage at the Knesset a “hysterical diatribe.” Again, I don’t see it as either hysterical or a diatribe, but since I’m a former teacher and camp counselor who has devoted a great deal of my life dealing with petulant children, arrogant and ranting teenagers, and a slew of people in theatre who don’t feel fulfilled unless they can have a volcanic eruption at least once every eight hours, perhaps I’m immune to the lesser degrees of hysteria that the wingers see. Maybe the Democrats should test the theory and air a series of ads going after Cindy McCain and see if the response of the GOP is a whining and hysterical diatribe or not. If they can dish it out, let’s see if they can take it. (One Republican, Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, has told the state party to knock it off and leave Michelle Obama out of the campaign.)

But that would be unfair. Ms. McCain is not the candidate. She is not on the ballot. She didn’t choose to run for office, and it’s not her views on foreign policy, education, health care, and the economy that matter. So attacking her for whatever she has done in her past, or for her looks, or her family business is both irrelevant and cowardly. If the Democrats can’t make the case against John McCain without attacking his wife, then they have no business running a campaign at all.

The GOP, on the other hand, has no compunction against being both irrelevant and cowardly.

Update: Oh, wait. ABC reports that the DNC thinks Cindy McCain and her taxes are fair game. Way to stay classy, folks.