The Campaign Spot

Axelrod Scheduled to Appear on Maher’s Show

In the Thursday edition of the Morning Jolt:

Remember, Bad Words Are Only Bad When Our Political Opponents Use Them

On Wednesday, I shared video of Democratic congresswomen refusing to say anything — even a word — about whether they feel Bill Maher’s comments about Sarah Palin deserve public denunciation the way Rush Limbaugh’s recent us of the S-word does. I also noted that the Alabama Democratic Party is using Bill Maher in a party fundraiser.

Here’s another epic example of hypocrisy, from The Daily:

While slamming Mitt Romney for not standing up to the “strident voices” on his side, a top Obama advisor is planning to spend some quality time with one on his own, The Daily has learned.

David Axelrod, President Obama’s senior campaign strategist, is scheduled to appear on Bill Maher’s late-night talk show within the next few weeks, according to Kelley Carville, an HBO spokesman.

As the controversy over Rush Limbaugh’s comments about Sandra Fluke continued, a former Obama White House official today joined Republicans in pointing out that Maher, who recently donated $1 million to a pro-Obama super PAC, has a history of his misogynistic slurs.

Last year, he was rebuked by the National Organization for Women for calling Sarah Palin a “dumb tw*t.”

“Palin is right to point out that Bill Maher has said some pretty disgusting things about women, comedian or not. They are rush-like,” Austan Goolsbee, the former chairman of President Obama’s Council on Economic Advisors, and currently a professor at the University of Chicago, tweeted.

I’m not really sure that the Democrats’ weeklong beating of the drums of fury of Rush’s unforgivably foolish comment really will work for them. Anyone paying an iota of attention will notice that there’s plenty of obnoxious, foul, profane, crude, sexist, objectifying, demeaning, snarling, bilious language floating around our culture. By and large, political figures only object when it’s their allies who are the target of that talk, and make excuses when their allies shoot their mouths off. It goes beyond hypocrisy; what it means is that most of those who shriek the loudest in outrage are faking the outrage. They’re only angry when mean things are said about people they like. People they disagree with are fair game.

A consistent standard either way would be preferable. I could happily live and work in a society with a more civil, respectful, even-keeled and mature public discourse. I could also function in one where our issues of the day were discussed in an atmosphere where anything goes, let the F-bombs fly, politics-ain’t-beanbag, only-sticks-and-stones-can-break-my-bones rules apply. (I’d prefer the former, I think.) But we have this insane double standard where one side manages to make a stink any time their feelings are hurt, and the same behavior from the other party is ignored, dismissed, excused, or even celebrated. (Think about it, we had to argue whether it was okay for David Letterman to tell jokes about Alex Rodriguez knocking up Sarah Palin’s daughter. Now imagine the reaction if any comedian told a joke about the Obama daughters getting knocked up.)


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