Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Funeral Police

I don't blame Congressman Allen's campaign for drawing attention to the dual roles played by two Collins aides. It's worth pushing the junior senator to explain the arrangement.

That said, I can't get too worked up about senate staffers working on their boss's campaign. To me, it seems inevitable in the age of the permanent campaign.

But Collins Chief of Staff (and campaign manager) Steve Abbott's reaction is something to behold:

Abbott countered that Allen, the six-term 1st Congressional District representative, is improperly sending his office staff to events in the 2nd Congressional District. Abbott suggested it was a way for Allen to increase his visibility in the 2nd District.

Abbott listed dates and events, including military funerals and business announcements from May through July, and the names of the Allen staffers who attended.
You read that right.

Abbott is calling Allen out because his staffers have been seen at the funerals of Maine soldiers who happened to live outside his district.

Now, call me old fashioned, but sending a staffer to the funeral of a local soldier sounds a lot like common courtesy--something the Collins camp has been making a fetish of lately.

And yet, there's Steve Abbott, not only disclosing that he's been tracking the movements of Allen staffers, but also that he thinks their presence at soldier funerals smacks of impropriety rather than, say, decency or respectfulness.

What was that about the importance of civility?

At the risk of stating the obvious, it behooves anyone in Congress or thinking of running to err on the side of maximum respect for American soldiers, and particularly the fallen.

Not because it's politically expedient. But because, ultimately, everyone in Congress bears some responsibility for the fate of those soldiers.

If Sen. Collins--and even Steve Abbott--had exercised that responsibility a bit more responsibly over the last few years, maybe we wouldn't be where we are today.

No comments: