Thursday, August 23, 2012

In the aftermath of Akin, the Democrats have embraced dirty campaign tactics.

Todd Akin’s comments were profoundly moronic. They were also unbecoming of a serious Republican candidate running for political office in the 21st century.

While Akin’s interview should have been expected to spark a broader national debate on social issues, instead, Democrats and left wing bloggers across America have elected to pursue a strategy of false demagoguery. While Republicans have reacted to Akin’s words (and his half-hearted apology) with anger and disappointment, Democrats have reacted gleefully, sensing a new opportunity for partisan battle. As a result, Republican candidates are now facing a systematic and deceptive Democratic effort to tar them with the Akin brush.

A striking component of this Democratic attack campaign is the manner in which it is being employed against Republicans from across the spectrum of GOP ideology.

As the VP nominee, Paul Ryan was always going to be a target. Even though Ryan has issued a concrete rejection of Akin’s words, he is still being labelled by the left as an Akin aficionado. Regardless of the fact that Ryan has asserted that his personal beliefs on abortion are private and not ideals for future policy, according to Democrats, as Romney’s VP, Ryan’s beliefs still raise legitimate policy concerns. Assuming they hold their own VP nominee by the same standards, this line of attack is probably not the most logical approach for Democrats. Take Iraq. Here, Biden first proposed a wacky 2006 idea to break up Iraq and then later started claiming credit for the surge which he had opposed. Put simply, on this crucial issue of national security, Biden’s record is a poster for consistent farcicality.  

Alongside Ryan, moderate Massachusetts Republican, Scott Brown, has been another notable target for Democratic post-Akin misrepresentation. While Brown was among the earliest Republicans to condemn Akin, his Democratic opponent, Elizabeth Warren, has happily tried to tie Brown to the scandal. As Warren put it, he [Brown] stood up and said, ‘Yay, Mitt Romney,’ who said he was going to get rid of Planned Parenthood, and, ‘Yay, Paul Ryan,’ who’s out there on a bill wanting to redefine rape. Scott Brown is in this one up to his neck.” Even the New York Times was uncomfortable with these blatant lies – stating immediately below Warren’s quote that her words were simply not true. For Warren the Harvard Law Professor, truth is an obstacle not a virtue.

Having attempted to tar Republicans in the East (Brown) and Mid-West (Ryan), Democrats have also launched attacks on Republicans in the West. The experience of Michael Baumgartner, the Republican Senate candidate for Washington, provides perhaps the best example here. While Baumgartner has focused his campaign on the most serious of issues – our current effort in Afghanistan, left wing bloggers have attempted to paint him as an Akin accessory. They are doing so even though Baumgartner holds a clear record showing that his personal faith does not determine his policy judgement and even though Baumgartner condemned Akin before his Democratic opponent, Maria Cantwell. As a patriot who has spent time in both Iraq and Afghanistan seeking to advance freedom in those states, – Baumgartner reacted strongly to the pathetic attempt to stain his candidacy. In communications with me yesterday, Baumgartner expressed his disappointment that most media coverage has focused on the Akin issue while neglecting more important concerns which have real and lasting importance for our country. I agree with him. While I differ with Baumgartner on what our Afghanistan policy should be, I find it disgusting that his opponent lacks the decency to engage with him in debating such a crucial moral and strategic issue.

This week brought a solemn timeline – the two thousandth American military fatality in Afghanistan. Sadly, rather than taking stock of this moment, the party of ‘hope and change’ has been more interested in misrepresentation and distraction. Offers of honest debate by Republican candidates, whether by Paul Ryan on the debt or Michael Baumgartner on foreign policy, have all been rejected by the vast majority of Democrats. Instead, these partisans favor a continuing storm of unjustified and deceitful attacks. This dynamic should concern us all. This week, thanks to one idiotic Republican and the Democratic Party, our national political dialogue evaporated into a mist of polluted partisan absurdity.

Certainly, Akin should be ashamed of himself. But, in their reaction, so should a great many Democrats. Amidst the record of their disastrous economic management, the Democratic Party now seemingly has nothing to offer but spin.

‘Hope and Change’ has never sounded so ridiculous.

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