Look, I was pulling for a Kerry victory last time around, and the Swift Boat campaign against him always struck me as pretty sleazy, but it’s genuinely disturbing to see Ezra gloating that the prospective U.S. ambassador to Belgium may find his nomination scuppered over his political donations:
Senate Democrats, happily, aren’t eager to forgive and forget, and one top aide told The Washington Post that “Democrats may sink [the nomination] to show support for Kerry and teach a moral lesson about the personal destruction wrought by of independent 527 groups such as Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.” That would appear wise. If rich funders understand there will be actual consequences for filling the coffers of vicious smear artists, maybe they’ll be less likely write those $50,000 checks in the future.
Look, I realize “ambassador to Belgium” is a patronage gig anyway, but this still seems petty to the point of unseemliness. However loathsome we find some instance of political speech—and I’ll go out on a limb and suggest that legislators may not have wholly unbiased views about what is beyond the pale—surely it’s got to be a bridge too far when senators are openly and unabashedly using their oversight power as a means of scaring people away from supporting attacks on the politically powerful.