Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Talent & Mo. Republicans - Learning from Fred Phelps

Jim Talent and the Missouri Republicans have allowed their hatred and zealotry to overcome even the minimal standards we expect them to live by. On Saturday, Melissa Berridge died in a plane crash. On Tuesday, Jim Talent and the Missouri Republicans unleashed their attack dogs, falsely accusing her of incompetence, and refusing to apologize to her family when they were proven wrong. Fred Phelps would be proud of their twisted attempts to disrespect the dead.

This is one of those issues that means nothing, yet shows everything. Talent and the Missouri Republican party mistakenly thought they had a "gotcha" issue to poke at the McCaskill campaign, and they probably didn't even think about the fact that the person who was supposed to have filed the report had died over the weekend. Even I, with my justifiable contempt for Jim Talent and his handlers, don't really believe that they thought it was a good idea to attack a dead young woman.

But, when they learned that their attack was not only wrong (she had priority-mailed the report, early, to the correct address), but also of a Fred Phelps level of cruelty and disrespect, what did they do?

They continued their attack. Talent refused to apologize, and Missouri Republican Party spokesman Paul Sloca unleashed another baseless and heartless attack. Even when the brother of the dead young woman asked them to stop the attacks, they said they would "take it under advisement". "Take it under advisement"?!?! What kind of people are they??

The give and take about the filing of the report is just more of the normal nonsense that captivates the political class during an election cycle. Even if it were a day late, nobody except a few insiders would care, and absolutely nobody would change his or her vote because of it. To be even-handed, McCaskill's campaign would probably have issued a similar press release if Talent's campaign had a problem getting a report filed. It's what political staffers do to pass the time and feel important.

But somebody died on Saturday. Melissa Berridge had her life cut short. Her family will never hear her voice again. Her friends won't have an opportunity to laugh with her again. Her hopes and dreams vanished in a plane crash.

Good people would be jolted out of their work-a-day worlds by the death of a colleague. But not Jim Talent and the Missouri Republicans. Like Fred Phelps, they took the opportunity to make it worse for the family.

Some things should not be spun for political gain.


Blogger les said...

"Some things should not be spun for political gain."

Alas, a "quaint" notion in the current atmosphere.

8/03/2006 11:33 AM  

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