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Posted by on Jun 9, 2006 in At TMV | 60 comments

UPDATED: Senate Candidate Webb Caught In Bigotry Web

Yes, Virginia, in Virginia you should file this one in your Reprehensible Department File:

[Virginia] Senate candidate James H. Webb, President Reagan’s former Navy secretary, was criticized by his Jewish opponent Friday over a campaign flier that depicted the opponent with a hooked nose and cash spilling from his pockets.

The flier was intended for distribution among labor groups. It was titled “Miller the Job Killer,” referring to Webb’s opponent for the Democratic nomination in Tuesday’s primary, businessman Harris Miller.

TMV, you’re just being hypersensitive. What’s wrong with that? THEN READ MORE:

The flier, drawn in comic-book cartoon style, depicts Miller with a grotesquely-hooked nose and cash overflowing from his suit pockets as he orders an underling to find ways to export U.S. jobs overseas. The flier refers to Miller as the “anti-Christ of outsourcing.”

What’s wrong with that? He didn’t call him the “Christ Killer of outsourcing.” True. And he didn’t show him with horns, cutting a pound of flesh from a Christian child, or digging a new Grand Canyon in a Virginia neighborhood while trying to get a penny off the street.

But Miller has it right:

Miller called it “despicable.”

“One of the things I hoped we would keep out of this campaign, because it has nothing to do with the campaign, is my religion and my background,” Miller said.

And, indeed, we know that there is nostalgia in this country, but the days when people would play the “remember that he’s Jewish” card vanished back in the days when New York kept re-electing Senator Jacob Javits.

And Webb? Well, perhaps the best thing he didn’t say was that he was only “following orders” (from his political consultant). The response he gave wasn’t much better than that:

Webb said the flier was not intended to disparage Miller’s religion or heritage and apologized if it was perceived that way.

“I would not in any way look at that and say that it was anti-Semitic. Harris is the one who’s played the race card in this campaign by distorting my views on affirmative action,” said Webb, a Republican-turned-Democrat and best-selling author.

The apology is good news. Of course, the damage is done (and a message has been delivered to some voters). And what does it say about a candidate who would (a) allow such tripe in his campaign and (b) argue that he didn’t realize there was anything wrong about portraying his Jewish opponent in a cartoon with a big schnozz and being the “anti-Christ.”

And is he suggesting that if Harris distorted his views, then that gives him license to run a sterotypical cartoon about about his big-nosed anti-Christ Jewish opponent — a cartoon typical of what has run for hundreds of years and is still being run in certain parts of the world (SEE GRAPHICS).

Frankly, if independent voter TMV lived in Virginia, he’d be urging people to cast a protest vote and if Webb won he’d then cast another one himself and vote for Republican Sen. George Allen, who is seeking a second term. True, a protest vote is a harsh use of one’s vote, but it would be valid unless Webb fires some people or names the names of who was responsible.

On the other hand, even if he doesn’t do that perhaps Webb still does belong in a legislature.

But I don’t know the date of the next elections in Iran.

UPDATE by Holly in Cincinnati:
A reader found the Webb campaign flyer in question online and placed a link to it in the comments. Here is the LINK.

UPDATE II: Make sure you read our latest post on this issue as well.