I can't imagine who said ethical permissiveness and anxiety about Bass' prospects. Possibly the same person who's going to go on to quote the editorial's conclusion
Furtado's actions were wrong primarily because they were dishonest, but also because he used a government computer in Bass' office to promote his boss' candidacy. Democratic partisans predictably said that Furtado’s misbehavior reflected poorly on Bass himself -- that it revealed an atmosphere of ethical permissiveness or anxiety about Bass' prospects.
That's what they're supposed to say. For most people, though, the real question raised by this incident is: What was Furtado thinking? Didn't he know that urging Hodes supporters to deploy their resources outside of New Hampshire might tip off others that a dirty trickster was at work? And what did he think he might accomplish -- that bad-mouthing Hodes' chances would scare off supporters? (Since when do New Hampshire Democrats become faint of heart at the prospect of being involved in a losing cause?) And why send these messages from a government computer in Bass' office -- making the act not only easily traceable but also in possible violation of House ethics rules and federal campaign law?
While these small-potatoes incidents are more entertaining than they are scandalous, we can't help but be concerned about what apparently is a talent shortage in the political trenches. These were the best aides that congressmen and candidates could find?Perhaps in a predictably partisan way, I'll point out that these were not the best aides that just any congressmen and candidates could find. These were the best aides that Republican congressmen and candidates could find. Or they had grown so accustomed to functioning in an atmosphere of, yes, ethical permissiveness that they didn't think they'd get caught no matter how incredibly, mind-blowingly stupidly they acted.