After the first misleading Alan Grayson ad that attacked his opponent, Daniel Webster, for his college deferments during the Vietnam War, I was a bit skeptical about the next ad calling Webster “Taliban Dan.”
In the first ad, Grayson blatantly misrepresented Webster by labeling him a draft dodger. Webster received five deferments while he was in medical school. He then made himself available for the army but then was given a medical deferment because of a problem with his feet. There was no draft dodging there.
The second ad seemed believable because the comments that Grayson used from Webster’s speech came from an appearance at a fundamentalist Christian organization that Webster has deep ties.
The quotes are disturbing, but not completely out of line with some Christian extremists who take ever word of the Bible literally.
“Wives, submit yourself to your own husband.”
“She should submit to me. That’s in the Bible.”
Those quotes fit many of Bill Gothard’s Institute for Basic Life Principles, the organization that Webster spoke at and gathered the curriculum to home school his children.
It seemed that Grayson might have had a reasonably accurate ad this time. However, the Grayson campaign refused to release the speech from where the quotes originated. That raised some doubts, and now FactCheck has done a better job than I at getting at the truth.
FactCheck determined that Grayson’s campaign edited the speech to make Webster appear to be saying something that he did not. While Webster is not refuting the “submit” comments in the speech, he clearly did not advocate women submitting to their husbands in the Taliban fashion.
Here is what FactCheck wrote, followed by a clip of Webster’s speech.
Grayson campaign spokesman Sam Drzymala told us that the campaign interpreted Webster’s remarks to mean that he believes wives should submit to their husbands. As evidence of this interpretation, Drzymala pointed to Webster’s comment to husbands, “She can pray that, if she wants to.”
The phrase “if she wants to,” though, shows that Webster was not imposing his “radical fundamentalism” even on the people at the religious training conference. Also, the Grayson campaign’s interpretation is aided only by selectively editing the video to concoct a phrase that doesn’t even exist in the video: “She should submit to me. That’s in the Bible.” That’s a mash-up of two sentences that read: “Don’t pick the ones that say, ‘She should submit to me.’ That’s in the Bible, but pick the ones that you’re supposed to do.”
In a year of political lows, Grayson has sunk lower, treading water at the bottom of a scum-filled pond with few others.