Guilt by Association

Ted Rall drew an offensive cartoon after 9-11, and wrote an offensive editorial. This is because Ted Rall has an extreme leftist perspective (which one could charitably call "Nader-Kucinichian").

Then he praised Howard Dean.

This praise was noted by the Dean campaign's weblogger Matt Gross, who linked to it as he does dozens of articles of week.
Apparently, Matt's note of the praise by Rall on the Dean campaign weblog is tantamount to Howard Dean "cherishing" Rall's endorsement, as far as Volokh is concerned - and Glenn also comments disapprovingly.

If this is the new moral standard by which to judge a politician, then what should we make of the explicit courting of the white supremacist vote by former GOP chairman Haley Barbour? The answer is none. But that's the kind of association that should be setting off alarm bells, not this.

The point here is that whatever you think of Ted Rall, it's not an endorsement of his views to accept his praise. I personally find Rall loathsome - but he doesn't set policy any more than does Ann Coulter. And if Coulter's endorsement of Bush was reported in Bush's weblog, it wouldn't be a moral failing on Bush's part either.

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