You knew it was only a matter of time. A Republican in the US Senate has now stepped forward to condemn the Tennessee state Republican party for running an ad criticizing Michelle Obama’s lack-o’-pride comments, which she made twice on the campaign trail and then tried to explain away. Via The Caucus:
The office of Senator Bob Corker, Republican from Tennessee, has weighed in today, siding with Senator Barack Obama’s objections to the state’s G.O.P. Web campaign against Michelle Obama.
To recap, the officialdom of the Tennessee G.O.P. posted a Web spot that mines remarks Mrs. Obama made in February that “first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country.” The ad repeats footage of her speaking those words, interspersed with comments from Tennesseans, talking about how they’ve always been proud to be an American.
…Mr. Corker’s chief of staff, Todd Womack, demanded that his boss’ state party remove the Web ad:
After the Republican National Committee damaged our campaign with their infamous ‘Call Me’ ad — which we immediately denounced — we have strongly encouraged the national party and state parties to absolutely refrain from getting involved in negative personal campaigning, and we have asked the state party to remove their You Tube ad from their Web site.
Republicans will be in much better shape if we spend our time focused on issues like reducing federal spending, lowering the cost of health care and creating a coherent energy policy.
“Negative personal campaigning?” What’s “personal?” Michelle Obama is out on the stump, speaking on behalf of her husband. The only thing “negative” about the Tennessee GOP’s ad came from Michelle Obama’s mouth.
Is it “negative personal campaigning” when candidate spouse Bill Clinton’s public campaign trail remarks are scrutinized, criticized, and analyzed?
Are we to shut up about him, too? Will the Republican civility-mongers not stop until the Right is completely disarmed?
The GOP establishment has been all atwitter of late over its demise and urging itself to “stand for something.” But when its state parties takes a stand–against the radical demagoguery of Jeremiah Wright or against the America-bashing of the Obamas–the party elders quiver like Jell-O on a roller coaster ride.
GOP: The fecklessness we deserve.
The Examiner tells the presidential candidates and their wives to suck it up:
Both Barack Obama and John McCain must accept that spouses of presidential candidates are legitimate subjects of public discussion. Protecting a spouse from intrusion into his or her private life is understandable, but a candidate is wholly mistaken to suggest his wife’s statements on the campaign trail about why he should be elected aren’t fair game for criticism, or when he contends his wife’s sources of income should be of no concern to voters. Obama is guilty of the former, McCain of the latter.
…It is unfair to voters for the Obamas to demand that she be allowed to use fighting words without being subject to, yes, a fight.
…As for McCain, he and wife Cindy refuse to release her tax returns. She has a legal right to keep them private, but legality isn’t at issue here. What is at issue is John McCain’s willingness to be subject to credible transparency and accountability.
Even if a husband and wife officially segregate their incomes, family money is fungible. That is why it has become standard practice for presidential candidates to release their tax returns — so the public can decide for itself if any income sources look fishy. It should it be expected of spouses to do the same.
Mrs. McCain is estimated to be worth as much as $100 million. Just as it was absurd for John Kerry to say his wife’s views or vast fortune should be immune from examination, or for Hillary Clinton not to report her husband’s tens of millions in post-presidency “earnings,” so, too, is it nonsensical for McCain to say his wife’s money is none of the public’s business.
McCain has made a career of railing against the allegedly corrupting influence of money in politics. That fact doesn’t give him a “Get out of Jail Free” card on the issue.