Fresh on the heels of one inappropriate photoshop, a new Republican Senate candidate has waded into another controversy involving a female Senate candidate. This time, the victim is Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA), while the perpetrator is her likely 2014 opponent , Congressman Bill Cassidy (R-LA).
In a blog post, The Hayride compared Senator Landrieu to Italian dictator Benito Mussolini for her vote to end filibusters on judicial nominees. The blog entry also featured this lovely picture, with Landrieu’s face superimposed on Mussolini’s body:
The Hayride is unaffiliated with Landrieu’s campaign and the blog entry would not have gotten any real publicity…had it not been tweeted out by Joel DiGrado, who manages Cassidy’s campaign against Landrieu:
(By the way, this is just a personal peeve – her name is not “Mary” – it’s Senator Landrieu. There is a way to attack an elected official’s policies and votes without being disrespctful)
Naturally, Landrieu’s campaign condemned the post:
“Louisiana politics is colorful and spicy, but this picture is downright despicable and disrespectful,” Landrieu campaign manager Adam Sullivan said Friday.
Making things even worse: DiGrado refused to comment on the story when Politico tried to contact him. This is in stark contrast to the way the NRSC handled their “Obama Girl” tweet, featuring Alison Lundergan Grimes: that tweet was deleted, the NRSC acknwoledged it was inappropriate and said that they were taking action against the staffer who had tweeted it.
Two particular items to note here. First, staff speaks for the candidate, and this includes Twitter. If you work for a candidate and you tweet, congrats, everything you tweet is now seen as a reflection on a candidate. One of my predecessors as State Representative, Jack Pressmann, repeatedly told staff that if they were ever arrested, the lead story would be “An aide to Representative Jack Pressmann was arrested…” He was absolutely right. Staff speaks for the candidate. That includes Twitter. As such, be careful what you tweet.
Second, if you are going to say something absurdly stupid, pick a direction and go. DiGrado should be doing one of two things right now: he should either apologize and delete the tweet, or he should double down and scream about how Landrieu voted for dictatorial powers (kinda funny how a majority vote apparently means dictatorial power, but that’s a different story). By ignoring calls for comment, he is losing the opportunity to put his stamp on the story and hit Landrieu for her vote. He’s pulling an ostrich and putting his hand in the sand. As a result, he has a half-hearted, bad tweet that comes with all of the negatives of doing something stupid losing the opportunity to hit his opponent.