Republicans are once again having a field day at the expense of their Democratic rivals. Recently, Pennsylvania Lt. Governor Catherine Baker Knoll was lambasted by Conservatives from states such as Utah and Texas for attending a funeral for a Pennsylvania Marine that was killed in Iraq on July 10. Ms. Knoll has been excoriated on various Conservative and Evangelical web-logs for the heinous crime of not just showing up at the funeral of one of her constituents, as she has done dozens of times before, but also for handing out a business card as way to give the family a phone number to get in touch with her if there was anything in the way of help she could offer. The nerve of some people.
The initial criticism of Lt. Gov. Knoll came from one Rhonda Goodrich, sister in law to the slain Marine and registered Republican and Anti-Michael Moore protestor who swears she has no political bias in the matter. Ms. Goodrich fired off a letter of non political protest to her local paper, the Post Gazette, which spread with the speed of a Joseph Wilson op-ed piece in the New York Times around the country…well, at least it spread to Provo, Dallas an Orange County, California…sparking a firestorm of Conservative and Evangelical outrage. It is still a bit unclear why Conservatives in those states religiously read the letters to the editor page of the Post-Gazette with such passion; I scan fifty to one hundred news items a day but I must have missed it.
To be fair to Ms. Goodrich, she’s stated that if Pennsylvania Republican Senator Rick Santorum or even President George W. Bush had showed up, she “would have been all over them as well.” Therefore, it should be taken as a given that Ms. Goodrich would be disgusted, as any good Conservative Republican would, if the Commander in Chief of the Marines would be so callus as to show up at the funeral of one of his troops to offer his respects.
My personal opinion is that if Lt. Gov. Knoll did anything wrong, it was to apologize for caring and showing support for the family of a slain soldier, whether or not she agreed if the death or the war that caused it was legal or necessary. But that’s just me.
Still however, it is a cautionary tale that every Democrat or moderate Republican should take to heart. It proves once again that:
A) The conflict in Iraq is strictly a Conservative Republican war and Democrats are just not welcome…
B) If Ms. Goodrich is to be believed, politicians of any political persuasion should never publicly grieve or show any support for the families of our dead soldiers….
C) If they do so publicly grieve, they should never offer to help the families of the slain by offering them a way to get in touch if they wanted or needed help…
D) If any Democrat from a contested Northeast state does anything that a Republican in a solidly Republican state such as Texas and Utah perceives as….whatever the hell they perceive it as, then that Democrat can expect to be treated like Max Cleland, Ann Richards, John Kerry or any of the other people who have been smeared by the Conservative Evangelical Machine since George W. Bush first got into politics.