If this had not been the year where the Democrats — and their allies in the MSM — whipped themselves into high dudgeon over a Republican Congressman’s inappropriate Instant Messages with underage male pages — or where The Washington Post thought a Republican Senator’s one-time use of the odd word “macaca” to describe an operative of his political opponent, I would agree with Glenn Reynolds that the dirty passages in that Senator’s Democratic opponent’s was “not that big a deal.” After all, as Glenn puts it “they’re novels.“
When I wrote my own novel, I chose not to include any sex scenes, largely because I thought I could better tell my story without them. Many times, when I read a novel, I found the sex scenes gratuitous, distracting from rather than enhancing the storytelling. After reading an excerpt from Jim Webb’s (the Democrat in question) novel, I don’t think that bland prose could do much to enhance any book (or story) — unless the rest of his writing was even worse.
Under normal circumstances, a candidate’s bad prose (in a novel written well before the campaign) should not be an issue in a Senate campaign. Yet, this year, the MSM has seen fit to make an issue of unsubstantiated allegations that Senator Allen used the “N” word well over thirty years ago. And The Washington Post‘s own ombudsman acknowledged that “when you put it all together,” her paper’s coverage of Allen’s use of the word, “macaca,” “looked like piling on.“
To be sure, it was a news story, but not one meriting story after story for day after day while the paper downplayed (or downright ignored) the Senator’s stands on the issues. If the the media focuses on one odd statement made by a candidate — as well as alleged statements he made in his youth — is it not then appropriate to bring up actual passages that his opponent wrote in a book?
I wonder now if Democrats — and the MSM — wish they hadn’t spent so much time on Foleygate. For that focus effectively requires them to address Webb’s prose.
Given how they handled that story, it’s clear that had it been a Republican who had written of the sexual encounters between adults and juveniles (as Mr. Webb did), they would surely have made this an issue long before the candidate’s Democratic opponent had. Indeed, as Jon Henke, George Allen’s campaign blogger wrote to Instapundit, Keith Olberman was quite upset about sex scenes in Scooter Libby’s book, saying that “if a Democratic White House official had written this book, his head would be on a pike somewhere.“
As we have seen with Democrats grandstanding on former Rep Foley’s foibles, the Democrats will do anything to advance their political agenda. Commenting on how the Democrats handled that issue Camille Paglia (as Bruce noted earlier today) was “especially repulsed” by her party’s “manipulative use of a gay issue for political purposes.”
Bearing in mind how the Democrats politicize whatever they can, Allahpundit wrote, “If George Allen had written this book, not only would the left be going berserk, they’d be circulating lists of characters in his other books whom they suspect of being gay” (Via Instapundit). By making much of minor matters, Democrats and the MSM have opened the door for those on the right to dredge up this stuff.
Jim Webb’s bad prose shouldn’t be an issue in his Senate campaign. But, Senator Allen’s use of the word “macaca” should not have been an issue once he apologized for making such an odd comment. Nor should unsubstantiated allegations of his using racial slurs long before he began his political career.
And even though, as of yet, no one has yet to uncover one shred of evidence that any member of the House leadership (or any other Republican Representative) knew of the sexual nature of Foley’s Instant Messages before their content become public information last month, Democrats and the MSM still suggest GOP complicity in the former Congressman’s shenanigans.
Before they get upset that Senator Allen is making an issue of his opponent’s tawdry prose, Democrats and their MSM allies should wonder at how much they made of issues of equal insignificance.