Disloyalty That Merits An Insult
Last Friday the New York Times asked me to comment on New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson's endorsement of Sen. Barack Obama for president. For 15 years, Richardson served with no small measure of distinction as the representative of New Mexico's 3rd Congressional District. But he gained national stature -- and his career took off -- when President Bill Clinton appointed him U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and later made him energy secretary.
So, when asked on Good Friday about Richardson's rejection of the Clintons, the metaphor was too good to pass by. I compared Richardson to Judas Iscariot. (And Matthew Dowd is right: Had it been the Fourth of July, I probably would have called him Benedict Arnold.)
I believed that Richardson's appointments in Bill Clinton's administration and his longtime personal relationship with both Clintons, combined with his numerous assurances to the Clintons and their supporters that he would never endorse any of Sen. Hillary Clinton's opponents, merited a strong response.
I was fully aware of what kind of response calling someone a Judas would evoke.
Certainly, it didn't take long for the resign-renounce-denounce complex to kick into high gear.
In a bit of bloviation that brought joy to my heart, Bill O'Reilly pronounced himself "appalled."
Keith Olbermann, about two degrees shy of the temperature necessary for self-combustion, quipped, "So if he's Judas in this analogy, who's Jesus?"
Even Diane Sawyer took the analogy to the extreme, questioning, "Are you saying that he made a deal of some kind when you talk about 30 shekels?"
Others opined that my remark was "tactless" and "ugly."
Heck, I give myself some credit for managing to get the Clinton and Obama campaigns to agree on something -- that neither wanted to be associated with my remarks.
I know enough to know that comparing a former Cabinet secretary and sitting governor to Judas is inflammatory and provocative. I expected the coverage that it evoked.
Was it a desperate gambit for attention? Was I just trying to prove my point that both Samantha Power's resignation from the Obama campaign for calling Sen. Clinton a monster and the Obama campaign hysterically promoting Geraldine Ferraro's misguided statements were equally silly and superficial?