December 04. 2013 8:08PM

Outrage du jour Garcia, Sullivan and victimhood

Last week, Rep. Marilinda Garcia, R-Salem, announced her candidacy for Congress in the 2nd District. Rep. Peter Sullivan, D-Manchester, reacted with his customary unhinged rant. Suddenly every Republican in New Hampshire was rising to defend young Garcia's honor.

Sullivan tweeted that Garcia was conservative state Rep. "Al Baldassaro (sic) in stiletto heels, a lightweight, and O'Brien clone." The insults kept coming. "Bill O'Brien + Kim Kardashian = Marilinda Garcia," he wrote. Asked to apologize, he later said the comparison was unfair to Kardashian. What a guy.

For those out of touch with pop culture, Kardashian is a pretty reality TV star with long black hair who gained national prominence when a private sex tape of hers was leaked. Garcia is a pretty young woman with long black hair who has bachelor's degrees from Tufts and the New England Conservatory of Music, a master's in public policy from Harvard, and who teaches harp (the instrument, not the beer).

With his little rant, Sullivan vaulted Garcia to national prominence. Suddenly she was the helpless victim of a sexist bully. What we saw was something different: a sad little partisan struggling to express himself because he hasn't the creativity to invent a better put down.

Sullivan has a long history of insult-laden temper tantrums. When his friend Jennifer Peabody (a brunette, incidentally) won a city school board seat, her residency was questioned after her election. Sullivan went online to accuse another Democrat of spreading lies about her after she kicked him out of Raxx Billiards, where she tended bar. The charge was not true (though the allegations about Peabody's residency were, and she had to resign her seat). This is his way. Scream first, think later.

Knowing Sullivan's history, we took his Kardashian comparison to mean that he thought Garcia was an intellectual lightweight, as he said, not that she was trampy, which he did not say. Sexism is a serious allegation, and although plausible in this case, it is debatable. Politics is cheapened by those who leap to label political opponents as sexists or racists or bigots on the flimsiest of evidence, and we were not about to do so here.

It was disappointing that so many Republicans chose to play the victim card here. (If there is one word that we would never think of to describe Marilinda Garcia, it is "victim.") It is a tenet of conservatism that the accusatory tactics of the left are tarnishing American politics. They should be eschewed, not copied.