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The Least Gracious Apology of the Week…

was delivered by Ken Salazar, Democratic Senator from Colorado. In a television interview, Salazar called James Dobson and his group, Focus on the Family, “the anti-Christ.” Salazar now says:

I spoke about Jim Dobson and his efforts and used the term ‘the anti-Christ.’ I regret having used that term. I meant to say this approach was un-Christian, meaning self-serving and selfish.

Oh, OK. Not the “anti-Christ,” just “un-Christian.” Glad you clarified that point, Senator. Salazar is a political novice, which may explain his ham-handed climb-down. But his explanation for his intemperate outburst does not inspire confidence:

Salazar added that his statement came after “being relentlessly attacked” in telephone calls, e-mails, newspapers and radio stations across Colorado.

This is a very curious rationale. If you run for the Senate (or the House, or pretty much any political office) you are guaranteed to be “relentlessly attacked.” Indeed, in today’s world, even amateur commentators like us are relentlessly attacked. The fact that one is “attacked” hardly justifies referring to one’s political opponents as “the Anti-Christ” or “un-Christian.” Imagine, for example, the outcry if President Bush so referred to those who attack him.
What is really striking about this controversy is the mildness of the “attack” to which Salazar refers. James Dobson was one of several leaders who participated in the “Justice Sunday” telecast, intended to rally support for the idea that the Senate should fulfill its Constitutional responsibility by voting on the President’s judicial nominees. This, in itself, is hardly a controversial, let alone “un-Christian,” political position. And it was expressed with extraordinary civility.
Radioblogger has transcripts of the principal speeches given on “Justice Sunday” by Bill Frist, Charles Colson, James Dobson and others. They are a model of rational discourse, replete with references to the Federalist Papers and other similarly unimpeachable authorities. No one ever suggests that the Democratic obstructionists are “the Anti-Christ,” or “un-Christian,” or any other epithet. Neither Ken Salazar nor any other Democratic Senator is mentioned by name. The general tenor of the discussion is far above the norm for contemporary American politics; in particular, it is more intelligent and more civil by light-years than would ever be observed at any gathering of Democrats, MoveOn fanatics, Kosites, etc.
Yet the mere fact that a group of people banded together to advance a political position in opposition to his own was enough to send Ken Salazar into a paroxysm of hate, calling them first “the Anti-Christ,” and then, upon sober reflection, “un-Christian.”
Salazar’s meltdown can only be seen as another symptom of the radical dysfunction that now dominates the Democratic Party. One can’t help noticing, too, how newspapers cover for the Democrats. The Denver Post doesn’t question the logic of Salazar’s excuse for his bizarre slander of James Dobson’s organization. What’s more, it offers a weirdly inept explanation for the benefit of those who may not have known what Salazar was talking about:

Salazar uttered the theological term ["the Anti-Christ"], popularized in the 1970s movie “The Omen,” in an interview with a Colorado Springs television station about his war of words with the conservative Christian group.

Sure, that’s where it came from. A 1970s movie.
UPDATE: A reader points out that Salazar’s revised insult is bigoted:

Salazar’s apoIogy is worse than the original. I am an un-Christian. Why does that make me “self-serving and selfish”? Can you imagine the outcry from liberal groups if a conservative Christian leader called opposition “un-Christian, meaning self-serving and selfish”?

Good point. The kindest thing we could say is that Ken Salazar is not ready for prime time.

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