BOSTON (CBS) – One of the many things people have come to hate about politics is the way in which otherwise-intelligent people will, under the pressure of the spotlight and in their zeal to win or retain power, say foolish things that debase their credibility.
That’s what just happened in the Democratic primary race for attorney general, where two strong candidates, former Assistant Attorney General Maura Healey and former State Senator Warren Tolman, are locked in a close contest.
It came at the tail end of a Boston Globe debate where Healey was peppering Tolman with vague innuendo about his private-sector legal work, a common staple of tough campaigns that nonetheless makes you wonder if she’d engage in similar sliming as AG.
After a solid two minutes of Healey cutting him off when he tries to respond, Tolman calls her line of questioning “unbecoming,” suggesting she’s focusing more on attack points than real issues.
From the ginned-up, over-the-top response from the Healey campaign and its followers you’d think Tolman had called her a Yankee fan.
The absurdly knee-jerk accusations of sexism that have since enveloped Tolman are reminiscent of similar phony outrage that greeted Mitt Romney when he accused opponent Shannon O’Brien of being “unbecoming” during a 2002 debate.
That didn’t work back then, perhaps because there’s nothing gender-specific about “unbecoming,” which means “unflattering” or “unattractive.”
But Tolman lost the high ground here Wednesday when he apologized for the remark, saying “I am always sorry if something I say offends anyone.”
Better find another line of work then, we don’t need more leaders who are paralyzed by political correctness.
It’s – you know – unbecoming.
Listen to Jon’s commentary: