Our readers are by now likely familiar with the controversy in Central Florida arising from what has been called the “worst political ad ever,” a spot Democrat first-term congressman Alan Grayson inflicted on the public twisting a statement from Republican challenger Daniel Webster 180 degrees so as to make him “Taliban Dan.”
The substance is as follows. First, Grayson’s ad:
Now the actual context of Webster’s statement:
Grayson, of course, defends the ad even after the firestorm it started begins raging out of control:
We’ll pick up the reaction from NRO’s Jim Geraghty, who has this perfectly right:
There are times when covering politics is pretty depressing. You watch candidates you admire stumble and fall, you watch the empty-headed and hard-hearted thrive. Sometimes the voters have great instincts and recoil from the soullessly ambitious and power-hungry; sometimes you watch them elect anybody with the right partisan affiliation. And sometimes you watch thousands upon thousands of them vote for Alvin Greene because they like the musician Al Green.
Let’s hope that Alan Grayson is a one-termer, and that the people of the greater Orlando area look upon his 2008 election as a one-time snafu; perhaps they were in a Democratic mood and they just didn’t take a good look at the guy. Let’s hope, because he’s been bringing the Daily Kos style of snarling obnoxiousness and sneering insults to Congress from day one, and it’s hard to see how anyone is better off for this, other than Alan Grayson.
Then you have moments like this morning, which suggests that the political world isn’t immune to karma:
In one of the most closely watched U.S. House races in the nation, Republican Daniel Webster now holds a 7-point lead over Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson in Central Florida’s 8th Congressional District, according to a new Sunshine State News Poll.
Webster, a former state senator, leads the freshman congressman 43-36 in the survey of 559 likely voters conducted Sept. 25-27. TEA (“Taxed Enough Already”) Party candidate Peg Dunmire drew 6 percent and NPA hopeful George Metcalfe garnered 3 percent, while 9 percent remained undecided (2 percent cited “other” and 1 percent refused to state).
Digging deeper, the numbers look even worse for Grayson as 51 percent of respondents said they had an unfavorable view of the Orlando-area congressman.
“Grayson has real problems here,” said Jim Lee, president of Voter Survey Service, which conducted the poll for Sunshine State News.
“He’s even more unpopular than the president, which is not surprising given how controversial he has been with his rhetoric, overall style and TV ads.”
Beautiful. Cue Coldplay’s “Vida La Vida.”
Politico declares his latest ad has “backfired,” which is nice to hear. “Rep. Alan Grayson’s attempt to equate his Republican challenger with the Taliban is having a big impact — just not the one Grayson may have hoped,” they write, noting that the Orlando Sentinel and other Florida news voices are declaring, “Grayson has lowered the bar even further.”
He’s left snarling at MSNBC, which John Podhoretz keeps telling me is his intended next employer.
Ed is strangely proud of his least favorite news network: “We criticize MSNBC enough for its naked advocacy on behalf of the Democrats and Barack Obama, so in all fairness, we should note that they do have limits . . . and Alan Grayson apparently found them. Contessa Brewer engages Grayson on his disgraceful, dishonest ‘Taliban Dan’ smear and — to her credit — refuses to let him off the hook for it. At one point, Grayson accuses Brewer of distracting attention from women’s issues, but Brewer fires back and tells Grayson that he approved the ad and its own off-message smears and out-of-context quotes. If Grayson was serious about the issues, Brewer asks, why not just stick to the issues rather than issue an ad rated ‘false’ by Factcheck?”
At Red State, Erick Erickson goes historical with his metaphor: “You might well say it is extreme hyperbole to call Alan Grayson an American Stalin. You would be right. But it is no different than what Alan Grayson, in extremist, hyperbolic lies, is doing to his opponent Daniel Webster. . . .
“As has been well documented, Grayson attacked Bill Clinton Daniel Webster for getting academic deferments from Vietnam and then failing his medical exam, thus denying him the ability to serve his country. Grayson then referred to Webster as ‘Taliban Dan’ selectively editing Webster’s comments to make it sound like Webster was saying exactly the opposite of what Webster really was saying. What’s more, Grayson demanded the Federal Election Commission investigate and incarcerate one of his critics who claims Grayson is crazy.
“Calling Grayson an American Stalin is no less onerous that what Grayson himself is doing. In fact, what Grayson is doing is worse. He is an elected official using the power of his office to threaten and intimidate critics, attack females in Congress as ‘whores’, and fund his campaign to slime opponents with edited video footage making it appear the opponents are saying exactly the opposite of what they did say. Grayson has become the politician who attacks his opponent for having a thespian daughter.”
I liked this line of argument offered in the comments section of a Washington Post blog: “You see this? This is what they think of you. This is what they think of your preacher. Your friends, your brothers, your sisters, your parents. They think your elderly grandparents who haven’t missed a day of church in 40 years are no different than the terrorists who perpetrated 9/11! If you don’t want to vote for the Republican, then at least cast your vote against this!”
It now looks like Grayson has finally cooked his own goose. Hopefully Florida’s 8th District will serve it to him on Nov. 2. The district, after all, only voted for President Obama by a 52-47 count in 2008, when Grayson defeated four-term Republican Ric Keller with the same share of the vote. In 2004, George W. Bush carried the district with 55 percent of the vote and in 2000 he carried it with 53 percent. It’s not Harlem or San Francisco; this is a nominally Republican district that a loon and degenerate like Grayson seems a terribly poor fit for.
But the one thing Grayson has, outside of complete freedom from inhibitions, is money. And that means this latest noxious ad might not be the worst we’ll see before he’s finally turned out of public office.