Stacy McCain’s excellent article about Anthony Weiner’s wife, Huma Abedin, brings a couple of thoughts to mind:
First, we don’t know just why Huma Abedin is so well thought-of, other than the automatic liberal bias in favor of anything that carries a whiff of eau de Hillary.
Second, the media’s bias goes beyond just not looking critically at her record. It goes as far as not reporting her ties to radical Islam and the Muslim brotherhood, both directly and through her family. Fortunately, we have brave souls like National Review’s Andy McCarthy, the Clarion Project, and Frank Gaffney who have reported on Abedin’s troubling history and pedigree. None of this is proof that Abedin is sympathetic to radical Islam, much less its agent, but it absolutely demands more critical inquiries by responsible journalists, given her impact on America’s president-in-waiting.
When Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, whom the media makes sport of not taking seriously, raised questions about Abedin’s ties to radical Islamists, none other than John McCain called the charges “sinister,” basically suggesting that Bachmann sit down and shut up, with Minnesota’s Muslim Congressman, Keith Ellison, helpfully bringing up the spectre of McCarthyism. Nothing to see here, folks.
Third, one reason that bad behavior by Democrats seems only (and barely) to touch them as individuals rather than to stain the party more broadly as it does with Republicans is that Democrats don’t run on principle.
It’s the same reason that charges of hypocrisy don’t stick to Democrats: they never claim to have ethics or principles. They claim to have goals, and whatever it takes to reach those goals is fair game. Republicans have (although mercifully less lately) run on such things as “family values”, so when you get someone like Mark Sanford who not only cheats on his wife about it but creates such a false but memorable image as hiking the Appalachian Trail to try to cover it up, it’s not just the man but also “family values” which are tainted.
Perhaps one electoral strategy for Republicans should be to stop actually talking about principles and values, and go with the Democrat approach of just saying what they want to get done. The problem with that is that it tends, as you can see so clearly from this administration, to destroy any respect for the rule of law and the Constitution. After all, a purely utilitarian government, where the “well-intended” ends justify any means, is a government without rules and represents a step — a giant step to be precise — toward tyranny.
So, having a situation where the brand can be tainted by bad behavior by an individual (such as with the GOP) may just be the price to pay for at least a chance of a constitutionally-limited government.
In the meantime, ironically, it could be that bad behavior by “Mr. Abedin” is overshadowing the hard questions that need to be asked about the brains in that family.