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Posted on Jun 12, 2008 in Uncategorized

Is there no free speech in politics anymore?

It’s often been said that the Democrat Party is one that prides itself in its tolerance and steadfast fight for the allocation of civil liberties to everyone in the United States. Among these liberties of course, if the freedom of speech.

However, in recent weeks it has become quite clear to me that if you say something that goes against the grain, regardless if its just opinion or perspective, if its taken as offensive and you happen to be on a campaign, you will probably be forced out of your job and get more airtime than a Super Bowl commercial.

This latest story involved Geraldine Ferraro:

From CNN.com:

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Former congresswoman and vice-presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro is resigning her fundraising position with Sen. Hillary Clinton’s campaign after controversial comments she made about Clinton’s rival, Sen. Barack Obama.

“I am stepping down from your finance committee so I can speak for myself and you can continue to speak for yourself about what is at stake in this campaign,” Ferraro wrote in a letter to Clinton.

“The Obama campaign is attacking me to hurt you. I won’t let that happen.”

While I understand Ferraro’s logic in doing this, the fact that she even had to consider this move truly brings into question how tolerant either of the Democrats seeking the Presidency are when it comes to handling controversial statements.

With Hillary Clinton having the potential to be the first woman President and Barack Obama having the potential to be the first black President, neither of them should be surprised that from time to time there are going to be comments made that might not have been thought through. If they cant handle comments from campaign staff and/or affiliates, how are they going to handle the job of being President of the United States?

While it might seem that I am blowing this way out of proportion, this is something that should really be watched over the course of the campaign. If both Democrats stick to this mentality of pushing people off of the campaign roster when they say something wrong, they’re going to create a mentality that if one of them wins, will lead to a very interesting White House.

Lets face it, in politics people (particularly staff) make comments that don’t represent the person they are working for. However, the vast majority of the time these people don’t get fired or get forced to resign over their first offense. Instead, a statement is released retracting the comments, apologising, and asking to have the situation put behind them and focus on the real issues.

Just look at how much attention this ridiculous Ferraro story has received. Instead of wasting TV time talking about what someone affiliated with the campaign has done, that time should be spent evaluating the candidates and how they differ.

It’s important to remember that each candidate has ties to people who aren’t exactly the most upstanding citizens, so really all this back-and-forth doesn’t make much sense to me.

But, on the upside, John McCain can sit back, relax, take notes and raise his money while these two go at it.

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