Former Tacoma News Tribune political reporter (and avid Philadelphia Eagles fan) Ken Vogel reports for Politico on the sudden plethora of political events scheduled for this 9/11 compared to recent years.
Some, like dueling New York City rallies over the proposed Burlington Coat Factory Mosque, are specifically timed to commemorate the day, while others, like Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln’s Razorbacks tailgate party just treat the date like any other Saturday. But one event in particular stands out for its willingness to cheapen the memory of the attack by expropriating it for political gain:
Washington GOP Senate nominee Dino Rossi’s speech at a Tacoma-area Republican women’s club fundraiser dubbed “Let’s Roll on to Victory” (a take on the exhortation of a passenger on a doomed flight who fought back the hijackers during the 2001 attacks)…
Diana Landahl, president of the Gig Harbor (Wash.) Republican club that is holding the “Let’s Roll on to Victory” fundraiser, said “it was kind of coincidental that we ended up on 9/11, but once we realized it, we decided to make note of this.”
Landahl told Politico that “people seem to be forgetting what happened to us on 9/11,” and of course, what better way to keep this memory fresh than to hold a closed-door, high-donor, political fundraiser at a private residence behind the closed gates of the exclusive Canterwood Golf & Country Club?
When Todd Beamer yelled “Let’s roll!” as he and his fellow passengers heroically stormed the cockpit of United Flight 93 in a suicide mission that ultimately ended in ashes in a field in Pennsylvania, I’m sure this is exactly what he had in mind. Hell, perhaps next year, Rossi should celebrate the day by making the phrase a theme of one of his real estate seminars, as in: “Let’s Roll on to Profits in the Lucrative Foreclosure Market!”
Admittedly, I’m not that sentimental a guy, and I don’t really expect candidates to forever take the day off, especially this close to such a contentious election. But let’s be honest: had it been Patty Murray who shamelessly scheduled a “Let’s roll”-themed fundraiser on 9/11, Rossi’s people would have been all over her for cheapening both a national tragedy and the personal suffering of the victims and their families. And no doubt our local media would have obliged by covering the “controversy.”
But Rossi, well, we all hold him to a lower standard, so don’t expect to see his thoughtless fit of poor taste mentioned on the 11 o’clock news.