EDITORIAL: Richardson Is Judas? So Who's Clinton?
Hardly anyone gets accused of blasphemy anymore, but apologists for two different politicians chose Holy Week to skate pretty close to committing that offense.
And sounding ridiculous in the process.
First (see second editorial below), a defense attorney compared Thomas Wright -- who was N.C. Rep. Thomas Wright before the state House justifiably expelled him into outer darkness -- to the crucified Jesus.
Then, at the level of national politics, Democratic activist James Carville, a key operative in Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign also risked a lightning bolt by reacting to New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson's endorsement of rival candidate Barack Obama with this zinger: "Mr. Richardson's endorsement came right around the anniversary of the day when Judas sold out for 30 pieces of silver, so I think the timing is appropriate, if ironic."
You know things are getting desperate when a man of Carville's political skill stoops so low -- or reaches so high -- for an analogy. He spent most of the next couple of days trying to get out of the spot in which he had placed himself. "I was using a biblical metaphor and it had the desired intent," he later said. "People called me left and right and said, 'Whenever I see that guy, I can't help but think of that quote.'"
The anger and disappointment that Clinton's people felt at what they saw as "an act of betrayal" is easy to understand. Richardson, who was himself a Democratic candidate before he dropped out of the race, owed most of his political prominence to Clinton's husband, former President Bill Clinton, who named him energy secretary and did him other political favors.
But, hey, as Mr. Dooley famously said, "politics ain't beanbag." Richardson, like the rest of us, is free to form -- and express -- his own judgment as to who would make the better president.
Carville's "30 pieces of silver" comment was intended to suggest that there was some quid pro quo -- that Richardson had been promised something in return for abandoning his neutrality. Now, of course, any Obama appointment of Richardson, from running mate on down, will have a dark cloud thrown over it.
All this gives rise to an obvious question, of course. It's one that a reporter later asked but Carville dodged: If Richardson is Judas, than who does that make Hillary?
Stand clear. Lightning alert.
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