In a statement by John Ladenberg, his democratic opponent, attacking McKenna, what appeared to be an insult to came across as a compliment.
What struck me about the dispute was its subtle reminder of something fired former US Federal Attorney John McKay said last May at a the Washington Mainstream Republican's annual conference.
"What we've done is take issues like gay marriage and rubbed people's noses in it. ... We raise abortion up on the flagpole every single time to create dissension, to create some line that has nothing to do with what Republicans are about. We should accept people into the party who have divergent views, on immigration, on gay marriage."Raise abortion up on the flagpole. Raise abortion up on the flagpole.
When I read that statement originally I pondered that phrase. What was he talking about? I never did figure it out but now I think I know. What he was alluding to, whether he knew it or not, was "waving the bloody shirt". The imagery and circumstances are, of course, inverted which would be typical in an age when good is bad and bad is good, but it kind of works in this instance.
Now we get to watch McKenna and Laudenberg see who can wave the biggest, bloodiest shirt.