Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Blundering into Berlin

In a recent interview with the Florida Baptist Witness ("Publishing Good News since 1884"), U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris, R-Fla., said she opposes secular government and supports a theocracy instead. The separation of church and state is a lie, the U.S. Senate candidate said:
... We have to have the faithful in government, and over time, that lie we have been told, the separation of church and state, people have internalized, thinking that they needed to avoid politics, and that is so wrong because God is the one who chooses our rulers. And if we are the ones not actively involved in electing those godly men and women, and if people aren’t involved in helping godly men in getting elected, than we’re going to have a nation of secular laws. That’s not what our founding fathers intended, and that certainly isn’t what God intended. ... If you’re not electing Christians, then in essence you are going to legislate sin.
Amid the ensuing furor, the Harris campaign released a statement saying, in effect, "Jews are OK, too," but letting the church-state comments stand. The statement included a quote from Harris' current campaign manager:
As the grandson of Holocaust survivors, I know that she encourages people of all faiths to engage in government so that our country can continue to thrive on the principles set forth by our Founding Fathers, without malice towards anyone.
To clarify, this was Harris campaign manager Bryan Rudnick speaking, not Harris campaign manager Jim Dornan, who quit in November 2005; or Harris campaign manager Jamie Miller, who quit in April 2006; or Harris campaign manager Glen Hodas, who quit in July 2006.

Her congressional staff also has been remarkable for turnover. Since Harris took office in 2003, she's been through four chiefs of staff and four press secretaries.

The first ex-Harris for Senate campaign manager, Dornan, told The Palm Beach Post, "I have never in my life worked for somebody like her, ever, and hopefully I'll never have to again. ... She was an equal opportunity abuser." He told The Associated Press the Harris campaign is "one of the most disastrous ever run in the United States."

I reminisce about all this because Katherine Harris, "disastrous" campaign and all, easily won this week's primary and now is the GOP candidate for U.S. Senate in Florida. Ain't politics grand?

I am reminded, as so often, of the movie Casablanca. Conrad Veidt calls Humphrey Bogart "just another blundering American," and Claude Rains replies: "We musn't underestimate American blundering. I was with them when they blundered into Berlin in 1918."

All those Florida Republicans who have been backing Anyone But Harris now have to decide: Vote Harris, or vote Democrat? If they close ranks and back the party, as party members used to do, the laughingstock could have the last laugh, and blunder her way straight to the U.S. Senate.

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