I can't define sleaze, but I know it when I see it

Tuesday, October 03, 2006 at 04:55 PM

Here's a question you probably won't get right unless you live in Vermont:  What is the claim to fame of Christopher Stewart, the grandson of Potter Stewart, the Supreme Court Justice who famously said that he couldn't define obscenity but would know it when he saw it?

Answer:  Being the aide to Martha Rainville, Vermont's Republican candidate for the House seat vacated by Bernie Sanders' run for the Senate, who supposedly plagiarized the statements of Hillary Clinton and others, posting them on Rainville's web site as though she had said them.

Rainville fired the poor guy.  And yes, that's facetious sympathy.  Before working for Rainville, little Stewart worked for Rich Tarrant, a multi-millionaire Repub who's opposing Sanders for the Senate, and who is running a remarkably slimy campaign of distortion and ignorance.

Now, assuming that Stewart is responsible for the plagiarism, what exactly does this say about Martha Rainville?  She doesn't bother to even visit her own web site?  She visited the web site, but somehow thought she had, in fact, made the plagiarized statements?  Do either of these possible answers commend her ability to serve effectively in the House of Representatives, where her oversight duties would be exponentially greater than during this campaign?  What about the fact that Rainville apparently has so little to actually say about the issues that her aide resorted to plagiarism to have something to post on the web site.

Final question: Does it look like the Repubs are finally getting to the bottom of the barrel of potential candidates?  At least here in Vermont, it looks like the first requirement to run for office as a Repub is that you not have held elected office before.  That means you have no record to defend, and it will take time for people to dig up the skeletons in your closet.