Last week I was in Virginia to campaign for Bob McDonnell, who is running for governor there.
One of our stops was in Tazewell County, in the beautiful southwest corner of the state and I was encouraging the crowd to work hard for Bob. The next day, one of the three Democrats in the primary, Terry McAuliffe, issued a breathless press release because I had engaged in voter "suppression" -- as if anyone in the world but Terry McAuliffe actually thought I was being serious.
You saw it — I thought "only a robot programmed without a humor chip would not take that comment as a statement of political strategy," but then I found out that maybe there is a reason that McAuliffe would be so sensitive about tires. In 2004, when he was the chairman of the Democratic National Committee — Democrats in Wisconsin were actually convicted of slashing the tires of Republican campaign workers.
I was joking about it, but I should have known that he's a little sensitive on the subject of tires and voting.
Either the completely farcical treatment of letting the air out of tires is just close to the truth for Mr. McAuliffe, or he really is a humorless android who would hate being governor if he actually were to be elected.
I was one for 10 1/2 years, and if that kind of thing has him in knots, he'd probably not last but a few weeks.
Maybe Virginia voters will spare him the misery of actually holding office and discovering that he would be subject to criticism.
I really hate to let the air of his tires, but running for and holding office is not for the faint-hearted for whom every statement has him reaching for a box of Kleenex.
I've said some dumb things in my public life and will surely say more. But this was not one of them and I will not apologize to Mr. McAuliffe.
Personally, I think the silly and manufactured hurt feelings cranked up over every utterance in the practice of political correctness is worse than any offensive statement.
If your feelings are hurt so easily and you crumple into a puddle of tears every time someone says something that scratches the surface of skin thinner than a layer of onion, then for heaven's sake, don't enter the field of politics because this is a contact sport and people get hurt and sometimes leave the field on a stretcher in defeat Instead of on the shoulders of his teammates in victory. If that's too real for you, buy a ticket and watch it from the stands.
Or watch re-runs of "My Little Pony" on Nickelodeon.
That's my view, I would love to hear yours. E-mail your comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org