To Slate’s Jeremy Stahl, the drunk-driving kid of a Democratic politician is far less scandalous than offensive tweets from the progeny of a conservative Republican.
There really isn’t much point to Stahl's June 14 piece, "Hereditary Traits: Bigoted taunts by the children of GOP honchos have everything to do with politics." In fact, it’s abjectly stupid. But Stahl runs completely off the rails when he writes:
It’s true that children of Democrats can be just as wretched as children of Republicans and can do equally idiotic, terrible things. (See the news of Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu’s son, Connor, being arrested on charges of drunk driving and hit-and-run driving or any one of Al Gore III’s repeated arrests for driving under the influence and reckless driving.) But when bad Democratic kids behave badly, they’re way more likely to drive 100 mph while drunk than to say the president chucks spears. Likewise, you rarely ever see Democratic officials getting in trouble for passing on horrible, racist chain emails or making horrible racist remarks. This has everything to do with the political differences between the two parties and their voters.
Again, Republicans aren’t all racist. But the party actively cultivates racists as voters. Which means that some portion of the Republican electorate, as well as Republican officials, are racists. When a kid literally lives in that political environment, he has a greater chance of being caught up in the extreme end of it. If all of your friends are Republicans and even a small subgroup of Republicans are racist, homophobic bigots, then you’re more likely to associate with racist, homophobic bigots and become one yourself than if you’re hanging out with liberal, crunchy kids.
So, driving 100 miles per hour while intoxicated is tolerable, but racist tweets need be perused with a fine-toothed comb. That’s liberal logic. What’s worse is that Stahl tried to intertwine Sen. Flake’s son’s tweets to the senator himself – and his voting record on gay rights issues. The sins of the son are imputed to the father. How illiberal of Stahl. Flake’s son is allegedly a racist homophobe, therefore Jeff Flake is a racist homophobe.
If Stahl really wants to exorcise bigotry out of the country's politics, why not spill ink about Dick Harpootlian. A few weeks ago, in front of Vice President Joe Biden no less, the then-outgoing chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party made racial remarks about Governor Nikki Haley, which liberal commentator Peter Beinart. For his part and to his credit, liberal writer Peter Beinart in May observed that:
If Dick Harpootlian were a Republican, liberals would be jumping over one another to call him a bigot. In 2002 Harpootlian called Lindsey Graham, then running for a South Carolina Senate seat, “light in the loafers,” thus fueling a nasty whispering campaign about Graham’s sexual orientation. Last Friday he struck again, telling activists to “send Nikki Haley”—South Carolina’s Indian-American governor—“back to wherever the hell she came from.”
But Harpootlian isn’t a Republican. Until he retired last Saturday, he was chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party. He made his comments about Haley at the party’s annual dinner, just before Joe Biden took the stage. And as a result, the liberal response has been muted. So far, neither Biden nor Elizabeth Colbert-Busch, whose candidacy for a South Carolina congressional seat has gained national attention [last May], has repudiated Harpootlian’s comments. And for now, at least, conservatives are just about the only ones asking them to.