Frum on Democrats' Edge: 'In This Game, the Ref Wears Their Jersey'
The following analysis by author and former Bush 43 White House speechwriter David Frum, which he posted Thursday in his blog on National Review Online under the title "The Cry Baby Party," may express what plenty of NewsBusters readers have sensed during this election campaign (bold-type emphasis has been added):
Let me see if I understand the rules of American politics in 2006:
It's in bounds to write a deliberately deceptive voter initiative to try to inscribe embryo-killing research into a state's law.
It's in bounds for a likeable and suffering celebrity to suggest that such research is poised to deliver a cure that will help him - despite the utter absence of evidence for any such claim.
It's in bounds for Democratic politicians to promise (as John Edwards promised in 2004) that if embryo-killing research goes forward, the disabled will rise from their wheelchairs and walk again.
But it's out of bounds for a conservative radio broadcaster to question the honesty of the initiative or the truth of the claims made on its behalf.
It's in bounds for Democrats to accuse the Republican leadership in the House of harboring and protecting sexual predators.
It's in bounds for Democrats to urge Pennsylvania voters to defeat Republican incumbent Don Sherwood because of his misconduct in his marriage.
It's in bounds for anonymous Democrats to substantiate accusations of Republican immorality by spreading whispers about a camping trip on which Jim Kolbe, five of his staffers, and Kolbe's sister were joined by two congressional pages - even when all concerned agree that no misbehavior of any kind occurred or was even hinted at.
But it's out of bounds for Republicans to note in a campaign ad that a Democratic senatorial candidate attended a football party sponsored by Playboy magazine.
That's private - and it's racist to think otherwise.
Or is it too complicated?
If so, let me simplify:
Democrats may say what they please and do as they please - Republican speech must be carefully scrutinized for any hint of inappropriateness - and all Republicans be immediately called on to disavow anything anywhere done with less than perfect gentlemanliness & elegance.
Democrats may strike in any way they like - and may go sobbing to the media if they get back any portion of what they dish out.
And it works, because after all: in this game, the ref wears their jersey.