Captain's Quarters Blog

« Guess Who Wanted To Fly In New Zealand? | Main | Murtha, The Gift That Keeps On Giving »

June 10, 2006
Anti-Semitism In Virginia Democratic Primary?

Forbes Magazine reported on a potentially explosive story when it relayed accusations that campaign material for James Webb used anti-Semitic imagery to combat his opponent in the upcoming Virginian Democratic primary for the Senate, Harris Miller. According to Forbes, the drawing used stereotypical cartoon images about Jews to show Harris as a greedy manipulator, charges that came from the Harris Miller campaign itself:

Senate candidate James H. Webb, President Reagan's former Navy secretary, was criticized by his Jewish opponent Friday over a campaign flier that depicted the opponent with a hooked nose and cash spilling from his pockets.

The flier was intended for distribution among labor groups. It was titled "Miller the Job Killer," referring to Webb's opponent for the Democratic nomination in Tuesday's primary, businessman Harris Miller.

The flier, drawn in comic-book cartoon style, depicts Miller with a grotesquely hooked nose and cash overflowing from his suit pockets as he orders an underling to find ways to export U.S. jobs overseas. The flier refers to Miller as the "anti-Christ of outsourcing."

Miller called it "despicable."

"One of the things I hoped we would keep out of this campaign, because it has nothing to do with the campaign, is my religion and my background," Miller said.

Webb denied using anti-Semitism as a part of the campaign and accused Miller of distorting Webb's views on affirmative action into accusations of racism. Webb did apologize to anyone who found the flyer offensive. Joe Gandelman at The Moderate Voice decried this kind of campaigning, ending by noting that this should make George Allen's re-election even easier, although Allen already polls a majority and a wide lead against both candidates.

Forbes did not include any of the imagery from the flyer, and Eric at Classical Values wonders why. He provides links to the flyer, and Larry Sabato takes a look at Harris Miller, and neither of them see any anti-Semitism involved. Eric also notes that another passage in Forbes that painted Webb as anti-Semitic, a supposed quote that called Miller the "anti-Christ of outsourcing", came from another source entirely:

The use of quotes is dishonest, representing paraphrase as quotation. They took 'anti-Christ of outsourcing' from the following:

Harris Miller, aka the Antichrist if you're an unemployed IT worker, is gearing up for a Senate run as--a Democrat? "I think businesspeople can be good Democrats," Miller told me last week. "I'm proud to be a businessman; my father was a small businessman."

And as for Miller's quote about 'a good thing for the American economy?'

As for outsourcing, another bogeyman that trade unions, some legislators, and Lou Dobbs say will have all of us flipping burgers at McDonald's, Miller thinks it's a good thing. "Global sourcing continues to be a net positive for American workers and the U.S. economy," he said in an October release.

While some might defend this as 'accurate,' it's misleading, and as I said before dishonest, even if unintentional. That sort of thing would have serious repercussions in the academy.

Readers should see the material before jumping to the conclusions leveled by the Miller campaign. Here's the actual flyer, minus most of the text (click on it to expand):

I agree with Eric. This is a childish effort by Webb's campaign, with no subtlety and no class. The artwork -- if it can be called that -- comes from the kind of comic book a pediatric dentist might have in his waiting room in a vain attempt to relate to his young patients. If Webb thinks that this kind of advertisement will resonate with the Virginia electorate, he must have one very low opinion of their intelligence.

But is it anti-Semitic? Here is a picture of Harris Miller juxtaposed with one image from the cartoon:


I don't see a wad of cash hanging out of Miller's pocket or a cigar in his mouth, but other than that, it looks like a fairly honest and un-bigoted cartoon representation of Harris Miller. He certainly can expect similar treatment from editorial cartoonists if he wins the primary, and especially if he experiences the sort of miracle it would take to defeat George Allen.

An even more humorous note is how the flyer treats James Webb. Take a look at the heroic pose given in the flyer and compare it to this picture from a speech he gave:

I would say that Webb has an overly imaginative sense of self-esteem. Notice that Webb's features get almost completely obliterated in this drawing, replaced by Generic Man good looks.

I don't think Webb or his staff are anti-Semites, at least not on this basis. Forbes should have done more research into this topic instead of just regurgitating whatever complaints Harris Miller communicated. However, I'd also say that no one at the Webb campaign has a clue about political advertising -- and on that basis, I do agree with Joe Gandelman that George Allen will not have many sleepless nights in this election season.

NOTE: Pictures of both candidates were taken from their own websites.

UPDATE: A couple of points. First, I was unclear above; what I meant was that Miller's picture had no cigar or wad of cash. I was being flippant, but wound up being unclear. I did obviously see the two in the cartoon, but that's the price one pays for a lack of clarity. Mea culpa.

Second, while I don't believe this to be anti-Semitic, I can understand how one might believe it to be. Good discussion in the comments on this, and I hope it continues. Joe Gandelman is still unconvinced -- be sure to read his follow-up post. And the Commissar points out the real Democratic anti-Semite in the South.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at June 10, 2006 7:16 AM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry is

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Anti-Semitism In Virginia Democratic Primary?:

» I’m Going To Have To Disagree With Joe from Blue Crab Boulevard
Joe Gandelman has a post about a campaign flyer that was written in response to an AP article published in Forbes. It would appear that Gandelman wrote the entire post based on that article. And I think he got sucker-punched by the AP's m... [Read More]

Tracked on June 10, 2006 10:27 AM

» More On Senate Candidate Webb And The Cartoon from The Moderate Voice
Yesterday we ran this post about a story about Virginia Senate candidate James Webb's campaign having put out a cartoon that his Jewish opponent considered antisemitic.

D... [Read More]

Tracked on June 10, 2006 12:50 PM

» More On Senate Candidate Webb And The Cartoon from The Moderate Voice
Yesterday we ran this post about a story about Virginia Senate candidate James Webb's campaign having put out a cartoon that his Jewish opponent considered antisemitic.

D... [Read More]

Tracked on June 10, 2006 12:51 PM


Design & Skinning by:
m2 web studios

blog advertising


Proud Ex-Pat Member of the Bear Flag League!