Opinion: Columnists

Rep. Alan Grayson would get more mercy if he'd given more

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Opinion,David Freddoso,Columnists,War on Women,Magazine,Alan Grayson

Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., known for his frequent condemnations of others and questioning of political opponents' motives, has been humbled this week.

His wife, who is divorcing him, accused him of showing up at her home and attempting to force his way into the house, pushing her up against the door and leaving her with bruises. When she called 911, he then allegedly told her, in front of their children, that she would get nothing in the divorce and be left “in the gutter.”

These allegations, which came to light when a judge issued a temporary protective injunction against Grayson, may be untrue. But Grayson may find that his political opponents are unwilling to give him the benefit of the doubt. For when it comes to judging others, both personally and in groups, few politicians are as accomplished as Grayson.

When Jesus Christ said “Judge not, lest ye be judged,” he meant to convey that God only forgives those who forgive others. But there is a purely human side to his wisdom as well: Those who frequently and harshly judge their neighbors always look like the greatest fools when they stumble and find themselves in need of mercy or even just fairness.

Grayson has toned it down in recent months, limiting himself to a few rude and bombastic comments about Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, whom he compared to cult leader Jim Jones and called “Canada's revenge against the United States for acid rain.”

But at times, Grayson has been far more animated. During the debate over Obamacare, for example, he took to the House floor and declared, complete with visual aids, that the Republicans' health care plan is “Die quickly. That's right, the Republicans want you to die quickly if you get sick.”

Late last year, Grayson sent an infamous fundraising email to his liberal donors containing a picture of Klansmen burning a cross – in the Image, the flaming cross was used as the “t” in the word “tea party.” Grayson later doubled down on this: “[T]here is overwhelming evidence that the Tea Party is the home of bigotry and discrimination in America today, just as the KKK was for an earlier generation,” he said. “If the shoe fits, wear it.”

Facing a difficult re-election in 2010 (which he lost) Grayson called his opponent, Daniel Webster, “Taliban Dan” in an infamous attack ad that ultimately backfired. Webster had spoken at a Christian men's gathering, referring at one point to Saint Paul's controversial admonition for wives to “submit to their husbands." Grayson's ad replayed the phrase repeatedly. But as the video shows, Webster was telling these men they should not dwell on such parts of scripture, which might seem to make their lives simpler (including “Children, obey your parents.”), but rather on parts that challenge them (“Husbands, love your wives.”). PolitiFact noted at the time that Grayson took Webster's comments so far out of context as to give them the exact opposite meaning than Webster intended.

In his 2012 return to Congress, assisted by a new and more favorably drawn congressional district, Grayson made great hay out of abuse accusations made by his opponent's ex-wife. Using his highly active Twitter account, Grayson seemed almost gleeful to promote a story that may now come back to haunt him: “BREAKING NEWS,” he tweeted, with link: “My Opponent Was 'Very Abusive' to His Ex-Wife.”

Justice and mercy would recommend leaving Grayson alone to muddle through an ugly divorce with young children caught in the middle. But Grayson has gone out of his way to make this course of action nearly impossible for anyone of average virtue.

It's a lesson that anyone who speaks or writes in public should take to heart.

DAVID FREDDOSO, a Washington Examiner columnist, is the former Editorial Page Editor for the Examiner and the New York Times-bestselling author of "Spin Masters: How the Media Ignored the Real News and Helped Re-elect Barack Obama." He has also written two other books, "The Case Against Barack Obama" (2008) and "Gangster Government" (2011).
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