It's blindingly obvious to me at least that if there was ever a time to stay on the issues and try to deal with the awful mess we're in, it's now. Judgment works both ways, and I think a lot of us are going to judge candidates who lean heavily on guilt by association, a discredited American political idea if there ever was one.
Posted by William Tully, on October 14, 2008 10:53 AM
Goddess, God or fortune, preserve us from ever being subjected to the laser scrutiny trained on a presidential candidate! It's a wonder we can find anyone halfway sane to run for that office. The most important company a candidate keeps is that of her or his own conscience.
It's wrong and foolish NOT to judge candidates by the company they keep and the company they kept. But "guilt by association" - condemning and rejecting someone solely on the basis of a single association - is foolishly narrow-minded and morally wrong.
Posted by Willis E. Elliott, on October 8, 2008 4:12 PM
New or previously unknown candidates running for a new position are always somewhat of a mystery. Even people who have a long, detailed record are still untested and it is unknown about how they will behave in the future.
Posted by Adin Steinsaltz, on October 8, 2008 3:34 PM
McCain, Obama, Biden and Palin -- wake up! The people of America are in deep distress; they are crying out in desperation. Quite frankly, we don't have time for such insensitive foolishness. If you cannot win on the issues, the economy being THE BIGGEST issue, then you simply do not deserve to win.
Posted by Susan K. Smith, on October 8, 2008 1:24 PM
The candidates' current behavior and recent records--whether you are for or against them--offer ample evidence of their public policy views and their capacity for leadership. We don't need "gotcha" moments from past associations to judge them. By their current words and deeds we can know them..
Posted by Susan Jacoby, on October 7, 2008 5:00 PM
No one act, or even an ongoing friendship, should define any candidate. But how they manage that relationship, bring us into their confidence about why it was worth it, or how they made a mistake in the past about it - their answers to those questions should inform our thinking about who deserves to be our next president.
Posted by Brad Hirschfield, on October 7, 2008 4:41 PM
As much as we instill virtue in our own candidate and vice in his opponent, guilt by association rarely works. First of all, every national candidate either comes from the financial elite or rubs shoulders with them. Second, politics is about money, in both savory and unsavory ways. There's no pure position in this regard.
Posted by Deepak Chopra, on October 7, 2008 4:09 PM
I befriended and hosted my grandfather's assassin in the hope of changing him but after several months of dialogue and friendship, I realized he was too steeped in hate to change and I politely told him that our ways must part. Should this taint me forever? I don't think so.