During the Q & A at speeches, I make it clear that I have not been one of those who believes the national press corps participates in a conference all every morning to decide what stories they are going to push to make Republicans look bad.
I now think I may have been wrong about that.
Any Republican who, in the past two years, has sneezed in public without having first whipped out a clean and pressed hanky has run the risk of blaring headlines declaring them a hypocrite for being able to get free pharmaceuticals from the House Physician's office while having voted against the importation of (potentially counterfeit) drugs from Canada.
Democrats who sneeze are held up as brave men and women who are demonstrating their deep understanding of work-a-day Americans because, in spite of having a cold, they continue to go to work THREE FULL DAYS A WEEK.
No matter what a Republican does, it is really, really bad. The worst. Ever. In the history of the solar system.
No matter what a Democrat does it is ok because Democrats always have some mitigating factor which never seem to apply to Republicans.
In Pennsylvania, for instance Governor Ed Rendell's chief of staff used the state plane to ferry a lobbyist to Pittsburgh. The reason for the trip was something short of urgent state business. It appears to have been to be able to get from Harrisburg to Pittsburgh in time to catch a Rolling Stones concert.
Gambling is a big deal in the race for Governor between Rendell and Republican challenger Lynn Swann. It turns out that the lobbyist (who ultimately reimbursed the state for using the state plane as his private air taxi) is, according to the Swann campaign the "biggest gambling lobbyist" in PA and has, as one of his clients, Ameriquest Mortgage which is … wait for it … a sponsor of the Stones' tour!
You may remember that the chief of staff of a Republican President was forced to resign because he used a government car to drive to a … stamp show.
I guarantee you, if the chief of staff of a Republican Governor took the state plane to go to a Stones concert, you would have heard about it. And heard about it. And heard about it.
Next point. In Virginia, the race for Senator between incumbent George Allen and challenger Jim Webb has become a referendum on Allen's campaign style. Allen has been a member of the State Legislature, a Governor, and a US Senator.
Webb has been running ads saying he is qualified to serve in the US Senate because he is a novelist.
Ok. Fair enough. But when the Allen campaign actually read a couple of Webb's novels, they found some of the language way more than disturbing; they found it outright disgusting.
NOTE: I have posted a link to some of the offending passages on the Secret Decoder Ring page. I am warning you that if you click on that link you may well get upset - but don't get upset with me. I didn't write this stuff. Webb did.
The Allen campaign tried to interest the press corps in these passages but the press decided that, inasmuch as these were novels, Webb was free to write whatever he wanted and voters in Virginia would just have to be sophisticated enough to understand that.
So, the Allen campaign went public with the passages on their own and, guess what? The outcry became so strong last Friday that it appears Webb had to cancel his afternoon events so his campaign could huddle and figure out what to do about it.
If a Republican candidate had written a scene in a novel about a sexual encounter between a father and son how long do you think it would have taken the press corps to tie that candidate to a certain ex-Congressman from Florida?
About a New York minute, is how long.
The press is complaining that the tone and tenor of negative ads being run by Republicans are nastier than those being run by Democrats.
First of all, that's not true. But if it were, it would be because the press is providing all the negative campaigning Democrats could ever ask for.
On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to the Rendell misuse of the state plane story and the promised link to the offensive scenes from the Webb novels. Also a Mullfoto of a puzzling Blackberry problem; and an interesting Catchy Caption of the Day.