Sunday, April 23, 2006

While Mary the Traitor deserves to be condemned for what she did, it's important that she be condemned only for what she did and not for what she may not have done. For example, there's much ado about her making campaign contributions to John Kerry and to other Democrats, in particular the claim that "a government official on a government salary, gave at least $7700 of her own money in a single year to Democratic political campaigns". I believe this is what XRLQ might be referring to as an example of a logical fallacy: all we know for sure is that contributions were made in her name; we don't know that $7,700 represented a meaningful amount of money to her, we don't know for sure if she was the one making the donations. Nor, for that matter, is it safe to presume that she was making such contributions because she was aligned ideologically with Kerry and the other Democrats.

Huh, you ask? Whatcha talkin bout, Willis?

Look, from day one, contributors have been trying to figure out ways around the limits on campaign contributions. One such way is to 'have' family members make the contributions. In this case, for all we know, it could have been her husband who wanted to make contributions to the Kerry campaign and elsewhere, but bumping up against donation limits, arranged for and/or persuaded his wife to make the 'excess' contributions in 'her' name. As you can tell by looking at the contribution records, her husband is listed as a donor in his own right.

And her husband, at least judging by the samples on his business's website and by where they live, ain't doing too shabby. Landscaping such as what he does doesn't come cheap. Nor does one tend to live on the street they do if one is pinching pennies. So, it's possible that the money 'she' contributed shouldn't be compared to 'her' salary, but rather to the 'family' income.

And for the final fallacy, that her contributing money to Kerry indicates she is of a like mind, workers in and out of government are often pressured to give donations to the cause du jour of their superiors. This pressure can be related to making donations to a boss's favorite charity, it can be related to donating money to the candidate the boss is backing. It's not legal to pressure staff to make such contributions, but it happens all the time. At the time McCarthy made those contributions, she was (I believe) still working at the CSIS... a liberal-leaning outfit. Is it possible that she gave money to Kerry only because she felt pressured to do so by her superiors? Is that pressure one of the reasons she left CSIS and returned to work at the CIA? I don't know, and, more to the point, most of the people commenting on her donations don't know either.

So let's keep criticizing her for her leaking of classified information (she failed the polygraph and admitted to having unauthorized conversations and the Post itself confirmed she was one of Dana Priest's sources). Let's keep pointing out her connections to Sandy Berger and the other Clinton-era holdovers in the CIA. But let's hold off criticizing her for other things until we are sure we know what we are talking about.