Do As We Say, Not As We Do
The dirty business of politics sometimes leaves a bad taste in my mouth no matter which party does it. I have two examples of this, one committed by each party.
We'll begin with the reigning power first.
The State Department has warned its employee Margaret "Peggy" Kerry, sister of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, about her public activities in support of her brother's campaign after she reportedly disparaged elements of President George W. Bush's foreign policy in a speech this week, officials said. She reportedly pledged that her brother if elected would reverse many of Bush's anti-abortion policies.
Among the subjects Kerry discussed in the speech was her brother's intention to restore 34 million dollars in US funding to the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) that the Bush administration has cut due to concerns the agency promotes coerced abortions in China, according to reports.
Personally, I fail to see where saying her brother would reverse certain policies and restore certain funds is disparaging Bu$h, but there I go thinking again!
"We have informed Ms Kerry of the rules and regulations on political activities and we will also draw her attention to the requirement to submit for department review her remarks on subjects related to the department's business," said Darla Jordan, a department spokeswoman. Jordan said the department had not had prior knowledge of remarks Kerry made in Boston on Monday ahead of the Democratic National Convention at an event sponsored by the National Organization for Women.
A second State Department official, speaking to AFP on condition of anonymity, suggested that Kerry's references to the UNFPA and her advocacy of US ratification of a UN treaty on women's rights opposed by the Bush administration might not have passed scrutiny had the remarks been submitted for review. The official could not say whether Kerry's comments had actually violated State Department rules or regulations and Jordan said the department understood that Kerry had been "speaking in her private capacity and was not on official duty at the time" of the speech.
Kerry, a civil servant who works at the US mission to the United Nations, also reportedly said her brother would appoint only supporters of abortion rights to the US Supreme Court but the official said those remarks fell outside the State Department's purview and were not in question.
Jordan noted that US law bars career government employees from taking active part in partisan political campaigns while they are on duty and that Kerry had asked for and received guidance on the matter in February.
OK, sounds to me like she was playing by the rules as they explained them to her. So where's the beef?
Kerry's speech has drawn fire from anti-abortion activists and conservative commentators who have charged that the candidate's sister is promoting her brother's agenda to the detriment of her job representing the Bush administration's policies at the United Nations.
Aye! there's The Rub!
So let's recap here. She's asked for guidance on the political activity rules BEFORE she speaks at the convention, she's off-duty WHEN she speaks, she's obviously not representing the (mis)Administration of George 'Wahh Baby' Bu$h AS she's speaking, but because she wasn't saying anything that Bu$h'$ supporters would want her to say, she gets 'counseled'.
I sure you readers can come up with a long list of Republicans who SHOULD have had this censure applied to their behavior, especially since 1980!
But, sadly, this shoe must also fit the other foot. The Democrats are playing obvious political games as well.
The Democratic Legislature Friday officially stripped Republican Gov. Mitt Romney of the power to appoint a replacement to John Kerry's Senate seat if the Democrat wins the presidency this fall.
Republicans accused Democrats of pushing the bill through to help give members of the state's all-Democratic Congressional delegation a leg up in the race for the seat, erasing the possibility that there would be a Republican gaining advantage by serving as Romney's appointee. "This is partisanship, plain and simple," said Shawn Feddeman, Romney's press secretary.
Alas, I must agree. But I note that the Republicans are trying to use an excuse they gleefully disdained every time the Democrats tried to use it when it was the Republicans who were tying the political hands of the Democrats:
Romney and legislative Republicans said this partisan stance would lead to the state's under-representation in the Senate before the special election occurs, when potentially crucial votes might be taken in Washington.
In turn, the Democrats use the same lame excuse for their behavior that the Republicans did when they had the power, most notably when Senator Jim Jeffords switched from Republican to Independent:
The Democrats argued that the people should decide who represents them in the Senate, rather than allowing the governor to appoint one of his political pals. "The governors govern with the consent of the governed," said Rep. William Straus, D-Mattapoisett. "We have the duty to enforce that principle."
The new law could potentially have a significant impact on the balance of power in the closely divided U.S. Senate.
Now I understand that payback's a bitch, but let's get a grip here! This is the sort of political behavior that we want to remove from the country, not to replace one set of practicioners with another!
As comedians like to say, timing is the key. Somehow, guys, the timing - of both of these incidents - is off.
We are not amused.
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