Is it worth the price?

On Star Trek: Deep Space 9, the Captain in one episode lied, cheated, stole, and acquiesced in murder to get the Romulans to become the allies of the Federation. He violated every precept of his personal code for what he believed was the greater good. In the end, he decided he could live with it, although it was clear he had parted with a large part of his humanity in the deal.

With the Foley fiasco and the House leadership obviously complicit in a cover-up of it, the Democrats and those working for them have been handed a political tool of the highest magnitude. (For purpose of this post, I’m not ignoring the illegality, immorality, and revulsion of Foley’s pedophilia and Hastert’s enabling of it, but I am concentrating on the political effects.) I believe that no one would quarrel with the Dems using the illegality and the conspiracy as campaign issues these last 37 days. Pointing those out and driving them home is an obvious choice.

However, there is a darker use possible for this data, and that is to use it to keep the Republican’s homophobic supporters and other bigots at home on Election Day. That is, suppose the homosexual aspect of it were played up, deliberately, to suppress general turnout from the Right. Picture running ads saying the Republicans hated Clinton because he was having sex with an adult woman instead of a teenaged boy. Picture using it like Karl Rove would use it.

I know the arguments against it. It would be playing on prejudice. Such a tactic would be as vile when Dems do such a thing as when the Right does it. It is wrong to appeal to bigotry to win. It is dirty and low and a betrayal of principle.

But I also believe that we may well be looking at tyranny and political prisons in this country soon, or civil unrest in which thousands will die, many of them children, because they always are killed in civil wars. Civil wars get uncivil very quickly.

So my question to you, Shakers, is: what should the Democrats do with this? Should they stick with trying to draw votes to themselves by focusing on the crime and conspiracy, or should they take a page from Rove’s playbook and try to suppress the Republican turnout by focusing attention on the salacious aspects? Or are there other options to consider?

And most important, given the fact that supporting such a decision is certain to leave any decent person feeling slimy, is it worth it?

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