In some of the television interviews I’ve seen regarding the Bush ads that feature shots of Ground Zero and have caused something of an uproar, the person complaining has been asked to name their political party. It’s made me think a lot more about the issue. The lens through which we all view these issues is often dramatically distorted based on which political side we’re on. Is a Democratic-leaning blogger more likely to criticize that which a Republican pundit might laud? No doubt.
But I really don’t think that’s what is at work here. I give W full credit for some of his actions and the leadership he displayed in the days following the 9-11 attacks and I salute many in his administration for the job they’ve done in the war terror. Of course, we all were moved by the rock-solid leadership of Mayor Rudy, who is not exactly non-partisan. And let’s make this clear. The Bush administration has every right to play up their man’s leadership following the key moment of his first term in office. Asking W to leave 9-11 out of his campaign would be like asking Giuliani to leave 9-11 out of his autobiography. But the use of WTC images in a political ad is so clearly wrong and so obviously in bad taste. Do we really believe, as Karen Hughes suggested, that this is really just a lot of Democratic whining? Do the people who lost loved ones and who are now complaining really all lean left?
I dig the game of politics as much as anyone. But I never reacted to the scene in lower Manhattan with my partisan hat on. I never thought much about Republicans or Democrats during those endless hours in front of the television set. This is not about politics. It is about what has no place in politics. (My original column on the matter is below).