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December 12, 2013 3:57 AM Who Is the Senior Republican Funeral Exploiter?

By Jonathan Bernstein

I don’t really have anything to say about this, other than to say that it’s not the first time. Or the second time. In fact, the evidence strongly suggests that there is, somewhere (at the RNC? Fox News?) a Senior Funeral Exploiter whose job it is to carefully monitor all funerals, memorial services, and other potentially solemn occasions in which Democratic politicians are expected to attend with the goal of finding some “inappropriate” behavior. And once it’s identified, it spreads rapidly through the GOP-aligned press.

The classics of the genre are the Paul Wellstone funeral, and Bill Clinton at the Ron Brown funeral. I seem to recall others, too, but don’t have any handy citations.The Ron Brown one was classic…Republicans basically spent all eight years of the Clinton Administration trying to get everyone to accept what they thought was self-evidently true, that Clinton was a phony and a usurper; “catching” him “faking” grief at Brown’s funeral, they thought, would convince everyone. Oh well.

Anyway, what I wonder about it, as I tend to do about these things, is whether this is supply or demand driven. Is there something about the consumers in the conservative marketplace that makes Funeral Exploitation particularly lucrative? Or is this something that conservative elites just are certain will resonate, and so they’re constantly pushing it.

I don’t recall any equivalent on the other side; please remind me if I missed anything. Surely Democrats have exploited similar “gaffes,” but none of them I can think of were funeral-based.

So I have no idea of why the pattern exists, although I’m pretty sure it’s not about Democrats actually being a bunch of rude jerks (I assume good manners are equally distributed among politicians).

[Cross-posted at A plain blog about politics]

Jonathan Bernstein is a political scientist who writes about American politics, especially the presidency, Congress, parties, and elections.

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