185 news articles, blurbs, blogs, columns, and other scraps of Internet. 185, as of 11:40 p.m. Arizona time today. 185 pieces of electronic information posted on what is perhaps the most asinine news item of the day: Arizona governor Jan Brewer’s statement about her father. This is what Brewer said:
“Knowing that my father died fighting the Nazi regime in Germany, that I lost him when I was 11 because of that… and then to have them call me Hitler’s daughter. It hurts. It’s ugliness beyond anything I’ve ever experienced”
The governor was of course responding to the tiresome and blatantly unfair criticism directed at her and most of the state of Arizona over SB 1070, a bill that several Obama regime hacks can’t even be bothered to read before resorting to vilification. This is not to say that legitimate criticism of the bill isn’t possible, of course, but that isn’t what caused Brewer personal harm.
It didn’t take long for the entire left-wing of the news media on the Internet, from the fringes to the mainstream, as well as Brewer’s GOP challenger for the governor’s seat this fall, to launch a full-scale smear campaign that even puts Squealer from Animal Farm to shame. The governor was denounced as a liar and a fraud, because as it turns out, her father a) worked for a munitions plant during and after WWII – he did not serve on the front, and b) he died of lung complications in 1955.
Looks pretty bad, doesn’t it? Well, there are a few things to consider here. First, it could be construed, certainly, by the statement that Brewer was suggesting that her father was actually “in Germany”, but this is not the case. She meant that the Nazi regime was “in” Germany. How do I know this? Because the governor released a statement today clarifying the matter that makes perfect sense to me. Here it is, in its entirety:
“My father, Wilford Drinkwine, moved our family before I was born from Minnesota to Nevada to work at the Hawthorne Ammunition Depot in Western Nevada at the outset of World War II. He passed away when I was 11 years old. His death came after a long and painful battle with lung disease, contracted following years of exposure to hazardous chemicals and toxic fumes while working as a civil servant at the base.
“I loved my father and was proud to hear him tell me that he was doing his part to help fight the Nazis in Germany. It’s a similar story that I have heard from countless people from my parent’s generation — from women who worked in the factories to other family friends I met growing up near the depot. My father and mother instilled in me an understanding that many of those defenders of freedom who lost their lives in World War II never set foot on the battlefield.
“Even in the end, when my dad struggled for breath, he never regretted serving his country, helping free Europe from Hitler’s grip. I have proudly recounted his story in many places for many years. My father’s patriotism and sacrifice needs no embellishment.”
Even if you hate SB 1070, and you aren’t particularly thrilled with Brewer, stop and think about it. I have no doubt that the comparisons of her, and the state of AZ, to the Third Reich, stirred up genuine emotions. I have no doubt that she hadn’t the slightest intent of attempting to cash in on the prestige of WW II veterans in the national memory. She had a human moment, and explained why these vicious comparisons are personally hurtful to her.
In our media, however, no one is allowed to have a human moment. This is true on both sides of the political spectrum, and so I don’t make this a partisan issue. I was sickened by it when it happened to Obama in 2008 – the “lipstick on a pig” absolute nonsense – and when Glenn Beck did it to Deborah Medina, to name only a few examples. Everyone is expected to be a perfectly polished, flawlessly articulate touring machine of sound-bytes, catch phrases, and insipid platitudes. At the same time, an ever-circling flock of vultures are waiting to swoop down the moment a public figure deviates from these expectations to strip the flesh from their bones. Everyone complains about this phenomenon and everyone indulges in it, sort of like Internet porn and Lady Gaga.
This, in itself, is bad enough. What’s even worse are the predictions people end up making as a result of the gaffe. In this case Brewer’s opponents are salivating so fiendishly that they may need to strap on bibs to catch the drool. I’ll give you an example: an E.D. Kain of “American Times” writes of Brewer’s original remark,
This could spell the end of whatever prospects Brewer may have enjoyed for reelection. Signing controversial immigration laws is one thing – lying about military service is quite another.
Is he high? Brewer jumped 19 points in the polls among Republican voters after signing SB 1070. The only people who consider her statements about her father to be potentially disqualifying are the people who despise her already, and won’t be inclined to consider the nature and context of her statement or the following clarification. If Brewer, whose professional and legislative history are both impressive and in keeping with the views and values of most Arizonans, loses a single vote over this, I would be extremely surprised indeed.
But it is imperative for the left to viciously attack Brewer sooner, rather than later. On the left, Brewer probably stands out as the most dangerous figure in America (or she will eventually), partially because she isn’t a Sarah Palin. She has longer, more impressive, and more relevant experience, she can handle the media, she has a charming personality, she is generally quite articulate, she understands the policies and the issues at stake, and she’s never seen Russia from her house (or Mexico, to my knowledge). It will be difficult if not impossible to make her a national punchline or to come up with obvious material for a Saturday Night Live sketch.
So her enemies will have to take what they can get – an unfortunate arrangement of words expressed during a human moment of frustration and recollection of the sacrifices that her father really did make to really help beat those Nazis over “in” Germany. None of these types, you and I know full well, dear reader, would ever impugn the sacrifice of the female or black or even white male workers in the factory during WW II under any other circumstances. Liberals are obsessed with egalitarianism, all other things being equal (no pun intended); if anyone would see the munitions workers and the front-line troops as more or less deserving of equal honor and glory, they would. Brewer’s father was a civil servant overseeing the production, but his exposure to the toxic chemicals was just as real, and just as deadly.
Speaking only for myself, while I wouldn’t necessarily equate them, I would never denigrate the workers who made the victory over Nazism and Japanese imperialism possible. Nor would I categorically rule out the idea that a disease contracted while working in a factory full of toxic chemicals as a part of the war effort counts as a death earned in the service of one’s country.
But then, I like Jan Brewer. I’m supposed to like her opponent now because of this? Really? I don’t think so. Try harder next time.