A few days ago, I noted that Rep. Alan Grayson, having falsely accused his opponent Dan Webster of being a draft dodger, was now calling accusing him of Taliban tendencies. Grayson claimed, among other things, that Webster has advocated the blblical command, “wives submit to your husbands.” To support this claim, Grayson’s ad included a clip of Webster uttering those words.
To the surprise of no one who has been paying attention, it turns out that Grayson obtained his money quote through the magic of editing. What Webster actually said was:
Find a verse. I have a verse for my wife; I have verses for my wife. Don’t pick the ones that say, um, she should submit to me. That’s in the Bible, but pick the ones that you’re supposed to do. So instead, love your wife, even as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it, as opposed to wives submit yourself to your own husband. She can pray that if she wants to, but don’t you pray it.
Grayson’s campaign manipulated these words to make it appear that Grayson was saying that wives should submit to their husbands. Indeed, the ad does so four times.
Grayson has already been called on his latest lie by FactCheck.org and the Orlando Sentinel. The latter publication, the congressional district’s leading newspaper, warns that “by twisting Webster’s words, Grayson risks eroding some of the support he may have won from independent voters.”
There’s an interesting back story to the Grayson ad. Grayson’s senior policy adviser is left-wing blogger and smear-artist Matt Stoller of MyDD notoriety. As Erick Erickson reminds us, Stoller has called the Anti-Defamation League “a crazy, racist institution” and John McCain a “crazy cancer-ridden dishonest madman.”
The Stoller-Grayson match must have been made in heaven, unless it was made in hell.
I imagine that it was from Stoller, perhaps via his fellow lefty blogger Markos Moulitsas (author of American Taliban), that Grayson latched on to the Taliban Dan Webster theme. It’s one thing for politicians to accept “netroots” money; it’s quite another to adopt their talking points. What’s next, a Grayson “Screw Them” ad?
You can write anything on a blog (or in a silly left-wing book), but campaign ads require evidence, or something that can pass for it. To get his “evidence,” the Grayson-Stoller team resorted to “using edited video to make [Webster] appear to be saying the opposite of what he really said” (as FactCheck.org aptly put it).
So there you have it. A dishonest and deranged candidate manufactures evidence in the service of a dishonest and deranged netroots theme. The lesson for lefty bloggers and would-be strategists should be: if you must try this, try it home, not in a real political campaign.
To help Webster make Grayson pay, go here.