A Gawker blog post, authored by someone named Maureen O'Connell, peddles an allegation that one of Whitman's sons raped a Princeton classmate in 2006. The "report" quotes unnamed third parties as its primary source of evidence. Implicit throughout the piece is a vague suggestion that Meg Whitman, a major Princeton donor, paid big hush money to make the issue go away. The problem: There's absolutely no evidence substantiating the innuendo. There was also never a criminal complaint filed in connection with the supposed assault -- perhaps because there's cause to reasonably believe the encounter was consensual. The post also details other boorish behavior by the young man in question, who, in truth, doesn't appear to be a saint.
A second post, also by O'Connell, asks "What is Wrong with Meg Whitman's Kids?" This time, she drops major bombshells: Whitman's younger son was recently cited for careless driving. Even more shocking, this same young man pleaded guilty to a 2007 noise violation, when he was an undergraduate in college. The horror!
O'Connell proceeds to suggest Whitman is a bad mother:
A political newcomer, Meg Whitman credits her late political awakening (she didn't register to vote until seven years ago) to her busy schedule: She was "focused on raising a family." And yet her two adult sons have been absent from her campaign, perhaps because both boys have faced their share of scandals.
Let's review Liberalism's Official Rules of Political Etiquette. Under the formula, speaking ill of a political candidate's family -- especially his or her children -- is strictly forbidden. In 2008, Barack Obama lashed out at critics of his wife, Michelle, calling the attacks "low class." Ignoring the fact that Michelle was one of the Obama campaign's top political surrogates, the mainstream media immediately entered outrage mode, amplifying Obama's meme by tut-tutting that Republicans had crossed a line.
Whitman is discovering a major loophole in the rule: The regulations only apply to Democratic candidates. Just ask Sarah Palin.