Breaking down candidates’ decisions George Will February 18, 2007

Two Democratic presidential candidates with national campaign experience are stumbling. A Republican candidate who has run only municipal campaigns is confounding expectations, calling into question some assumptions about Republican voters.

John Edwards has learned — surely he did not know it when they were hired — that two women employed by his campaign have Internet trails of vitriolic anti-Christian, and especially anti-Catholic, rants. One of them wrote a profane screed about God impregnating Mary, and said the Catholic Church opposes the morning-after birth control pill in order to “force women to bear more tithing Catholics.” The other woman, who sprinkles her commentary with a vulgar term for female genitalia, referred to George W. Bush’s “wingnut Christofascist base.”

U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., listens during a town meeting in Berlin, N.H., Saturday, Feb. 10, 2007. The visit is Clinton’s first to the nation’s earliest presidential primary state as a possible candidate for president. (AP Photo/Jim Cole) When the women’s works became known, it was reported that they were, or were going to be, fired. Thirty-six hours later, after left-wing bloggers rallied to their defense, Edwards’ campaign said they would be retained. Edwards explained that the women had assured him that “it was never their intention to malign anyone’s faith, and I take them at their word.”

He really does? The two women — both of whom have resigned, pronouncing themselves, of course, victims of intolerance — are what they are, and are unimportant. But the fact that a prospective president is so pliable under pressure, and so capable of smarmy insincerity — what does he think were the women’s intentions? — is very important.

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