Jeff Emanuel

Referring to options for district representation in the event that Norwood passes away during this term in Congress, Matthews said that “Governor Perdue will have to call a special election after Norwood's evidently eventual extinction”, and offered up Terry Holley, the Democrat nominee whom Norwood defeated 67.4% to 32.6% this past November, as a candidate for the potentially open seat, citing the fact that it will be “a non-partisan election so he may actually have a chance this time.”

Unfortunately for Mr. Holley, that is not entirely true. What Matthews is actually doing with that last statement is calling on Holley, should he choose to run, to do so under the pretense that he is a non-partisan or independent candidate. The qualifying form for the special election specifically asks party affiliation, leaving it as a blank to be filled in. However, an entrant can voluntarily check the box next to “independent” and run as a non-partisan candidate – even if he happened to be the Democratic nominee only three months ago, and even though doing so would clearly be an attempt to trick people who would perhaps not ordinarily vote Democrat to cast their ballot for him, thinking him to actually be a non-partisan candidate.

Matthews’s calls for an ailing Congressman to either resign his seat or be the victim of “Dr. Kevorkian style euthanasia” as a means of carrying out his “eventual extinction” are beyond the pale. Interestingly, Republicans had the opportunity to show how they would handle a similar situation last December, when Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD) suffered bleeding in the brain as a result of a congenital malformation, and underwent emergency brain surgery. Rather than striving for political expediency at the expense of decency, Republicans, such as those at conservative blog, neither called on Senator Johnson to resign, nor excoriated him for not doing so – despite a barely Democratic Senate, which could have been made into an effective Republican majority (counting the Vice President’s vote) had Johnson resigned and been replaced by a Republican gubernatorial appointee. Instead, statements such as "

Our thoughts and prayers are with the senator and his family,” “We wish Senator Johnson a speedy recovery,” and, “Our thoughts and prayers remain with Senator Johnson” were the norm – a far cry from the statements of this former Democratic Party Chairman.

At some point, though it seems nearly impossible amidst our present national climate, decency must trump politics. While some seem to have gotten this message loud and clear, others clearly have not. I personally would like to take this chance to offer my best wishes to Senator Johnson, and my best wishes to Representative Norwood and his family – may they be comforted, at peace, and sheltered from vitriol such as this, in what may be their final time together.

Jeff Emanuel

Jeff Emanuel, a Special Operations military veteran, is a Leadership fellow with the Center for International Trade and Security at the University of Georgia, where he also studies Classics. In addition, he is a contributing editor for conservative web log, and is a columnist for the Athens, GA Banner-Herald newspaper.

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