James Taranto, of the Wall Street Journal, makes an interesting comparison:
"The odds of people dying in a terrorist attack obviously are still a lot lower than in a car accident, unfortunately," President Obama told NBC's Jay Leno last night.
Wait, "unfortunately"? Does the president really wish more Americans were killed in terrorist attacks? Indeed, orders of magnitude more, since nationwide traffic fatalities typically run between 30,000 and 50,000 a year?
Of course not. Obviously when he deployed that adverb he was thinking of the unfortunate souls killed in car accidents, not the victims of terrorism. He simply misspoke--just as Todd Akin did last year when he used the unfortunate phrase "legitimate rape." But for some reason, the World's Greatest Orator and the most powerful man in the world is held to lower standards of verbal exactitude than a lowly congressman from Missouri.
This reminds me of a point that Ann Coulter never tires of repeating: Democrats always defend their own, but the Republicans tend to throw their own people to the wolves. While the Democrats defend their associates long past the point of expediency and morality (think Bill Clinton, Charlie Rangel, Al Sharpton, Eric Holder, Jon Corzine, Robert Menendez, etc., etc., etc.); it is nevertheless true that Republicans are prone to the opposite mistake: they abandon colleagues who are merely the victims of ambushes rather than perpetrators of malfeasances.
Take Todd Aken. Any fair-minded listener would conclude that he was referring to a rape accusation that had been proven to be substantive with his infamous phrase “legitimate rape,” not that he believed that the crime itself is legitimate. Aken was guilty of a clumsy choice of words, nothing more. He was also a victim of a Democrat ambush that seized on the inadvertent ambiguity in his phrasing. Not that I blame the Dem’s. They do what politicians do in an adversarial political system: they attack their opponents.
For escalating Aken’s misspoken words to a national scandal, I blame the Republican strategists who thought they could limit the damage by throwing Aken under the bus, instead of attacking the Democrats for slandering his good name. In reality, the act of abandoning Aken only ratified the Democrat charge in the mind of the voters. Why disown Aken if he said nothing wrong? Then, when the Democrats escalated their initial charge into a nation-wide condemnation of the Republicans’ “war on women,” the GOP brainiacs had nowhere to go. They suddenly found that they had painted themselves into a corner by pre-emptively agreeing with them.
As Ann Coulter also pointed out, who would want to work for these guys? They stab you in the back the moment you find yourself in a spot of bother. In the military, there is a general principle that you don’t leave anybody behind – even if the act of rescuing them create more casualties than the rescue can hope to save. In spite of this possibility, the principle is very popular with the troops. To see why, ask yourself if you would want to serve in an army that did leave people behind on cold utilitarian principles? Everybody would be looking over their shoulder during the fight, making sure that their comrades haven’t bugged out and left them dangling in the breeze.
But when Republicans recruit candidates, they are in effect saying, come serve in an army that will leave you behind.