Candidates for elective office have always been held accountable for the actions and words of their supporters, and this standard has been upheld by both Republicans and Democrats. That holds true even when that supporter is the candidate’s spouse, as we saw when Democrats challenged Michelle Bachman and Sarah Palin for their respective husbands’ political activity. Yet in Bloomington and Monroe County politics, Democrats argue that rule does not apply – because it is politically inconvenient for Democrats.
You will understand why I refuse to play by those rules.
On Sunday, the wife of John Hamilton (the Democratic candidate for mayor) penned an editorial attacking efforts to defund Planned Parenthood. In the comments on HTO and on Facebook, I asked why it was not disclosed that the author was Hamilton’s wife. This made Hamilton supporters angry, and I was (predictably) accused of misogyny. Never mind that I have criticized both male and female candidates and elected officials for their spouses’ public words and political behavior – it is “misogynistic” to bring that up. Unless, of course, a Democrat does it. Then it’s not only acceptable, but encouraged.
Hamilton’s wife wrote about defunding Planned Parenthood on a national level, but that issue is of local importance as well. After all, about 150 people rallied at the Planned Parenthood “clinic” on South College Avenue calling for no more tax dollars to go to the local abortuary. This includes grants by city government, which Hamilton wants to lead starting on January 1. Given the local policy connection to this issue, and given that any candidate’s most enthusiastic supporter is his or her spouse, it is wholly appropriate to bring up the relationship. It is reasonable to at least ask if Hamilton shares his wife’s views.
This is very simple: The opinions of Hamilton’s wife, especially because there is a local policy angle on this issue – are relevant to Hamilton’s candidacy. The Herald-Times should have disclosed that the author of that editorial is married to the Democratic candidate for mayor, especially since they do not share the same last name. It speaks volumes that Democrats become angry when factual information about a candidate and his supporters becomes public knowledge.