Thursday, August 25, 2011

On the RedState kerfuffle

Two wrongs still don't make a right.
For those who have not followed the RedState fiasco, Stacy McCain has the Cliff notes version here.

The most troubling aspect of the kerfuffle is not that Erick Erickson did not want to go against his employers. Some say that undermines his credibility, but we don't buy into that. And though the flavor-of-the-month mentality regarding political candidates at RedState can be frustrating to Palin supporters, that's the way it's always been there, and it's not the worst part of this mess.

The real problem for us is the low-down personal attack Erick made against Jamie Radtke. Her campaign manager was wrong to give Politico a copy of a private email Erick sent to Radtke trying to explain why his support for her candidacy had gone soft. But that is nevertheless no excuse for implying that she was "drunk" when she delivered her introductory remarks for Stephen Bannon at the RS event. If Radtke knowingly allowed her campaign manager to divulge the email or put him up to it, then she deserves to be criticized for it. Attempting to paint her an an alcoholic doesn't fall under this category of criticism. Demonizing a conservative candidate you may disagree with or feel may have wronged you is all too Alinsky.

All of this springs from the primary race in Virginia between Radtke and George Allen -- an important contest, to be sure. But is it really worth the damage Erick and RedState are doing to themselves? Many Palin supporters are backing Radtke in part because she has been very pro-Sarah, but Allen has also made some very supportive remarks about Gov. Palin in the past. You editor was supporting Allen for the GOP presidential nomination in 2007 before his campaign crumbled because of one ill-advised comment he made. When a Democrat operative has a video camera pointed in your direction, it's smart not to say anything that can be used to destroy you. We've also seen tweets and e-mails used to take people down, and blog posts are no different. This is a lesson someone as smart as we know Erick Erickson to be should have learned.

What undermines Erick's credibility is not his citation in the email of his bosses' political preferences. That could have been just a BS excuse meant to try to placate Radtke. It's the attack on Radtke's character that undermines Erick's reputation and that of RedState by extension. If handing an email over to a website which loves to diss conservatives is a Radtke character flaw, then that should have been the focus of Erick's response, not the gratuitous attacks he threw against her. Even "drunks" can figure that much out.

- JP

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