Sarah Palin and the scum of the earth

Regardless of the source, at the end of the day, all of this presents something of an ethical conundrum for the Right: whether to find a way to disarm these kinds of assaults, or failing that, to imitate them. Either way, it won’t stop until the other side has a downside for continuing in this vein. The history of national politics suggests, unfortunately, that the latter is more usually the path taken: after absorbing years of harrassing Independent Counsel investigations and a bogus sexual harrassment flap, the Right turned those same weapons on Bill Clinton. After Newt Gingrich mastered the machinery of House Ethics complaints to bring down Speaker Jim Wright, the same machinery was used to help topple Newt. The Right will have a decision to make: whether to make like villians on “24” and adopt the war of personal attrition against family members used by the left-wing blogs, or accept that some punches should not be thrown and some playing fields simply can’t be leveled. Neither choice is an appealing one, and for now at least the fact that the Right lacks the paid online 24/7 resources of the Left suggests that it is not even capable of the former. But in time, that worm may turn, and it’s hard to see how anything in the world of politics will be improved as a result.

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