Maryland Attorney General and Democratic candidate for governor Douglas F. Gansler has built himself a fair collection of scandals throughout his campaign (and we’re not even past the primary yet): He is reported to have encouraged state troopers to speed and run red lights while headed to routine appointments. He accused Democratic rival Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown of running solely on his African-American heritage. He appeared to have facilitated a debauched weeklong underage party in Delaware. He announced endorsements from people who didn’t actually endorse him.
They run from mildly embarrassing to downright shameful, but in politics what can’t be absolved can usually be forgotten, right? But Gansler just broke formerly the number one rule in politics*: Don’t minimize your opponent’s military record. At a public appearance, Gansler said about Brown, “You know, his (campaign) ads are about how he was a lawyer in Iraq, and that’s all fine and good, but this is a real job, and we need to have somebody who actually has leadership experience.”
Real job?! That’s the kind of thoughtless attack that could inspire someone to cross party lines to defend a fellow veteran against. And someone did. Republican Del. Robert A. Costa had this to say in Brown’s defense: “Lt. Gov. Brown and I may belong to different political parties, but as a fellow soldier, I appreciate his service to our country in Baghdad during wartime. To say it’s anything less than a ‘real job’ is insulting.”
In a clarifying statement, Gansler said he had the “utmost respect” for Brown’s service in Iraq.
* This rule was recently surpassed by “Don’t send pictures of your private parts over the Internet” and “Don’t say something stupid about rape.”
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