Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Tennessee Democrats Compare Republicans To Special Olympics Children: "October 12, 2004 Democrats in a race for a state House seat in District 82, are circulating a flyer that shows a retarded child with President Bush's face running in a track race. The headline says: "Voting for Bush Is Like Running In The Special Olympics: Even If You Win, You're Still Retarded."

-- That's cute... Not. See the image here. Do people really think stupid stuff like this helps?



So-Called Austin Mayor said...

In Josh Green's article in the current Atlantic Monthly, there's this passage ...

A typical instance occurred in the hard-fought 1996 race for a seat on the Alabama Supreme Court between Rove's client, Harold See, then a University of Alabama law professor, and the Democratic incumbent, Kenneth Ingram. According to someone who worked for him, Rove, dissatisfied with the campaign's progress, had flyers printed up—absent any trace of who was behind them—viciously attacking See and his family. "We were trying to craft a message to reach some of the blue-collar, lower-middle-class people," the staffer says. "You'd roll it up, put a rubber band around it, and paperboy it at houses late at night. I was told, 'Do not hand it to anybody, do not tell anybody who you're with, and if you can, borrow a car that doesn't have your tags.' So I borrowed a buddy's car [and drove] down the middle of the street … I had Hefty bags stuffed full of these rolled-up pamphlets, and I'd cruise the designated neighborhoods, throwing these things out with both hands and literally driving with my knees." The ploy left Rove's opponent at a loss. Ingram's staff realized that it would be fruitless to try to persuade the public that the See campaign was attacking its own candidate in order "to create a backlash against the Democrat," as Joe Perkins, who worked for Ingram, put it to me. Presumably the public would believe that Democrats were spreading terrible rumors about See and his family. "They just beat you down to your knees," Ingram said of being on the receiving end of Rove's attacks. See won the race.

So-Called Austin Mayor said...

Nick Confessore: The gist is that someone went into Tennessee congressional candidate Craig Fitzhugh's office and "found" a bunch of fliers with George W. Bush's head pasted onto the body of a competitor in the Special Olympics, with the tagline "Voting for Bush is Like Running in the Special Olympics -- Even if You Win, You're Still Retarded."

Why does this seem like a dirty trick? A couple of reasons:

The probligo said...

I am a patient man. Just like I waited for Hans Blix to report, I will wait for the Tennessee DA to complete his enquiry.

We had a parallel in NZ just a couple of weeks back as part of a mayoralty campaign. A weekly newspaper ran a five article expose of one of the candidates for Mayor of Auckland. The content of the five articles was such that a $1.5 million libel lawsuit has been put in train and will be heard later in the year. But that is not the end of it.

A week after the articles appeared, a reprint was distributed as handbills to 15000 houses in the Auckland area. The delivery took place on Thursday night.

The following Monday morning, the campaign manager for the incumbent Mayor resigned. He had been responsible for the distribution of the flier "without the knowledge of" his employer the incumbent mayor. The incumbent Mayor lost the election by some 15% of the total vote. The successful candidate was the one who still has the legal action against the newspaper.

The parallel should be apparent. In this country at least, dirty tricks like this are more than likely to backfire, irrespective of who the perpetrator might be. I hope that the DA is prepared to report in plenty of time before the election.