Dems get a pass from P.C. police [Commentary]

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High minded intentions also mitigate acts of maladministration, gross negligence and bad behavior. To wit:

•The thousands of unaccompanied young children crossing our southern border is a human tragedy resulting from a porous border and a failure to enforce our immigration laws, but the president's heart is in the right place; after all, it's always about the children…

The Affordable Care Act has opened to generally poor reviews, with dysfunctional websites, coverage interruptions and sky-high premiums dominating the news, but the president cares so much…

Hillary Clinton's tenure at the State Department was marked by an unsuccessful "restart" with Russia, missed opportunities in Syria, and a 9/11 redux at our embassy in Benghazi, Libya. But she's so smart, and she worked so hard and nobody has traveled as much as she did…

Ol' Bill Clinton might be a fast talker and serial womanizer, but he's so good on the issues, and remember, he's pro-choice…

The bottom line: front line progressive soldiers in the service of progressive causes are able to tap deep reservoirs of good will when their negligence and/or hyperbole crosses traditional lines of good sense and common decency.

And there is no corresponding "hall pass" available to similar "line crossers" on the right.

The second explanation is about how the left has learned to play the game. And it is here that progressives have achieved an important advantage over the right. They understand it's all about winning — distressingly insulting and over the line comments notwithstanding. Here, the sooner forgiveness is bestowed, the quicker its candidates can get back on message — and in the winner's circle.

It may be that the presence of the "Christian Right" also makes it more difficult for Republicans to survive ludicrous, hurtful remarks. A higher bar makes for less wiggle room.

These distressing rules of the road allow important liberals to sustain themselves during the initial stages of a public controversy. Just tap the always available well of good intentions. Then blame the racist, homophobic, sexist Republicans for quoting you out of context. And remind everyone you're pro-choice.

Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s column appears Sundays. The former Maryland governor and member of Congress is a partner at the law firm King & Spalding and the author of "Turn this Car Around" and "America: Hope for Change" — books about national politics. His email is ehrlichcolumn@gmail.com.


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The "crush" defense [Poll]

Attorneys for Maureen McDonnell and her husband, former Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell, told a jury this week that the couple wasn't scheming to get rich by abusing the prestige of the governor's office, but rather that Mrs. McDonnell had a "crush" on an executive and couldn't help but allow the man to lavish $150,000 in gifts on the pair while they happened to promote his diet supplement. Is that plausible?

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