Politicizing death then and now: Different rules apply

Published June 14, 2004 4:34PM (EDT)

Courtesy of Liberal Oasis.

Bill Kristol, Weekly Standard editor, on Fox News Sunday (6/13/04): "I think [the death of Ronald Reagan] could have an impact if the Bush campaign has the nerve to make it have an impact."

"John Kerry said at the 1988 Democratic convention, speaking on behalf of his fellow Massachusetts liberal Democrat Michael Dukakis ... that the Reagan presidency was a period of 'moral darkness.'"

"Now ... no one wants to politicize the death of a recent president. But you know what? The Bush campaign should. And they should, in my view, they should go up with an ad next weeka very respectful ad about President Reagan and say:

"We have a disagreement. George W. Bush was a Reaganite. John Kerry thought that the Reagan presidency was a period of 'moral darkness.'"

Bill Kristol on Fox News (10/30/02): "Look, Paul Wellstone was a very political guy, and I suspect he would have liked his own memorial service, if I can put it that way. And the fact it was a little over the top, and some of us maybe found it a little distasteful and a little too partisan."

"Paul Wellstone was a tough, partisan politician, a man of the left, a proud man of the left. There's a big tradition on the left of turning funeral services into political rallies."

" ... When Rick Kahn said, 'We can redeem the sacrifice of Paul Wellstone's life if you help win this election with Walter Mondale,' that's a little crazy. I mean, you can't redeem the sacrifice of Paul Wellstone's life by electing Walter Mondale. So there's a kind ofpoliticization of things like death, which is a little weird."

" ... For the left, the personal is political. And I think you did see that in this memorial service."

By Geraldine Sealey

Geraldine Sealey is senior news editor at Salon.com.

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