The Pennsylvania media is on to Joe Sestak’s strategic gaffe:
U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak frequently tells supporters at campaign events that he would rather risk his job than shirk a principle. The Delaware County Democrat says it is for that reason that his campaign has been demanding that television stations across the state, and Comcast here in Philadelphia, pull ads created and funded by private groups attacking his run for the U.S. Senate.
But by attacking his attackers, does Sestak help draw attention to their claims?
That seemed to be the case with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which is running an ad on 21 TV stations in Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Scranton and Johnstown that says that Sestak voted 100 percent of the time with U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on “job-killing” legislation on health care and energy.
Two stations in Pittsburgh pulled the ad for one day, but the resulting media coverage only helped spread the message.
The report points out that the same is true of his unsuccessful effort to stifle the Emergency Committee for Israel. And what does Sestak say, now that it’s apparent his “shut-up” strategy is a bust?
That ad claims that Sestak “raised money for an anti-Israel organization the FBI called a front group for Hamas,” the Palestinian group that funds terrorist attacks on Israel.
Sestak said his campaign asked Comcast to pull the ad because it is “harming Israel’s security.”
“This was not any kind of political calculation,” Sestak said. “For me, this was purely based on how I look at Israel, which is always about security and not politics.”
Groan. He tried to trample on the First Amendment rights of his opponents for Israel’s sake? Good grief. Shouldn’t he then have tried to take down J Street’s ad? I mean apparently debating Israel policy is somehow a threat to the Jewish state. But no, it’s actually a threat to Sestak, one so severe he’s tried to squash the entire discussion.
But if we want to talk about what is good for Israel, let’s ask Israelis. Only about 10 percent of them approve of Obama’s policy, which J Street tells us (most recently in its ad that features Obama quite prominently) is exactly what Sestak is supporting. Oh, Israelis don’t get to decide what is in their security interests, at least according to J Street.
One thing is certain: Sestak and the Democrats are petrified of making Israel a campaign issue. They simply want critics of their approach to pipe down and voters to accept on faith that their self-descriptions as pro-Israel are unassailable. If we weren’t a democracy where all issues of public policy are open to debate and where elected leaders must be accountable for their actions, it would make perfect sense.