WILSON: Politicians hide personal attacks within facts and analogies

Posted: Oct. 26, 2012 3:06 pm Updated: Dec. 7, 2012 3:15 pm


Anybody who says "it's not personal, it's politics" has never been in a political campaign or close to one.

Political campaigns are deeply personal for candidates, their families and their closest supporters. Yet those same candidates don't see their own comments as personal or hurtful to others.

U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, the Republican challenger in Missouri's Senate race, said during a visit to the Tri-State area last week that he stood by his comments about Sen. Claire McCaskill being "like a dog" who fetches bad things from Washington D.C.

Was he getting personal with those comments? Akin said no.

"The problem with an analogy is there are several different points. You could try to take it the wrong way, and that's allowed people to do that," Akin said.

"Are people going to look at distractions, or are they going to look basically at four years of failed record in a country just about on the blocks?"

He had no apologies for his comment. It was just his way of making a point about what he sees as McCaskill's bad record.

Akin was accompanied by his wife, Lulli, during his visit to Hannibal. She apparently did not get the memo that politics isn't personal. During a September interview with the National Journal, Mrs. Akin said the move by party bosses to push Akin off the ticket was "tyranny."

"It's just like 1776 in that way," Mrs. Akin said.

She went on to explain that was when American colonists "rose up and said, ‘Not in my home, you don't come and rape my daughters and my ... wife.' But that is where we are again."

The mention of rape was perhaps a mistake. The party bosses who had turned their backs on Akin did so after he made comments during an interview about how women could "shut down" their bodies and not get pregnant in cases that involved "legitimate rape."

Political attacks, snubs and comments apparently are only personal when they're coming your way. When they're headed the other way, they're ... facts.

There were lots of facts thrown around in the third and final televised debate between President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney last week.

During one exchange on China, the president said: "While we were coordinating an international coalition to make sure these sanctions were effective, you were still invested in a Chinese state oil company that was doing business with the Iranian oil sector."

Apparently Romney was responsible for the actions of a company in which he invests.

The snarkiest comment by Obama during that debate may have been his comments after Romney pointed out the U.S. Navy is scheduled for cuts that military commanders say are too deep. Obama retorted that times are changing and it does not take as many ships.

"We have these things called aircraft carriers where planes land on them," Obama said.

These examples of over-the-top comments come from one Republican and one Democrat, just so that nobody thinks it's personal.