Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The hypocrite's defense.

There's some interesting right-wing hypocrisy going around related to batshit-crazy loon Jean Schmidt and her personal attack on Rep. John Murtha on the floor of the House of Representatives. As almost everyone knows, Schmidt quickly backtracked and apologized for her appalling behaviour, as you can read here:

She immediately took back her remarks. It's against House rules to refer to a fellow lawmaker by name or to criticize them.

Schmidt, a Republican from Clermont County's Miami Township, then wrote to Murtha to explain that she has a lot to learn and did not mean to disparage his service.

So it's clear that Schmidt realized she fucked up, and she apologized. Her chief of staff, one Barry Bennett, was also obviously trying to distance Schmidt from the controversy:

Schmidt's chief of staff, Barry Bennett, said the congresswoman may have mentioned Murtha by name but she was referring to Murtha's call to bring U.S. troops home - not Murtha himself.

All right, so both Schmidt and her chief of staff acknowledge that she screwed the pooch on this one. So far, so good. So what's the problem? It's this, from later in that same article:

But some Republicans are praising Schmidt.

"We stand behind her sentiments," said Brad Greenberg, executive director of the Hamilton County Republican Party. "I don't believe that Jean Schmidt intended to attack (Murtha) personally. I understand that people felt that she was attacking him, but I don't believe that, in her heart, she meant to."

Rep. Steve Chabot, a Westwood Republican, also defended Schmidt.

"It's easy when you're new to do or say things that in retro you wish you didn't say or had said differently," he said.

Schmidt's phone lines have been clogged since Saturday, and the office has received about 3,000 e-mails on the topic, Bennett said. The office reads mail only from constituents, however, and Bennett said the reaction from people in the 2nd District has been 75 percent positive.

Calls to Schmidt's Ohio office were 65 percent positive, Bennett said. He declined to say how many e-mails or calls were from constituents.

Excuse me, but if Bennett has already admitted Schmidt's error, why is he talking up the support she's getting? If he's sincere that Schmidt screwed the pooch on this occasion, what's the rationale behind explaining how much people approve of her behaviour?

If what she did was wrong, then all those people who claim to support her are also misguided and both Schmidt and Bennett should be saying so publicly. It's ridiculously hypocritical to apologize and ask for forgiveness while, in the next sentence, you point at all the encouragement you're getting as if that somehow justifies what you did.

At this point, I'm tempted to describe Schmidt as "pathetic" but that would be an insult to pathetic people everywhere.

UPDATE: Uh oh ... now Schmidt is playing the "Woe is me" poor little martyr card. Note to Jean: It's kinda late to be trying that when you've already publicly grovelled for forgiveness.

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