Lee “Willie Horton” Atwater Comes to Washington State
He may be dead (rot in Hell scumbag) but his ghost is all over the map.
It’s hard to believe that a liberal state like Washington might be sending a Republican to the Governor’s Mansion. The two candidates are running neck and neck. If you live within broadcasting range of Washington, you’re undoubtedly sick to death of their TV commercials.
Republican Dino Rossi is running against Democratic incumbent Christine Gregoire. The same two candidates ran against each other four years ago; it was possibly the closest election in American history. After several recounts, Gregoire won by a handful of votes. There's been a lot of bitterness and accusations and countercharges since then.
Washington isn't a swing state. I haven’t yet seen any TV ads about McCain or Obama. Instead we’re getting bombarded with jillions of commercials for Rossi and Gregoire.
But anyway, about Lee Atwater: Dino Rossi’s newest tactic is to exploit a massive bureaucratic fuckup that had nothing to do with the governor. The state government has lost the addresses of 1,300 paroled/released sex offenders. This is intolerable, and heads need to roll.
And now the Republican Governors Association has spent $2 million on a “Willie Horton” campaign to blame Christine Gregoire. Letters (with grisly photos) have been sent out to hundreds of thousands of Washington households. It’s a combination of fear tactics (“this swarthy predator is loose in YOUR neighborhood!”) and the Atwater School of Character Assassination.
Law enforcement is furious at the Republican Governors Association for this sleazebucket attack. A group of police officers from throughout the state has sent a letter saying:
“We are writing to express our collective outrage at the Republican Governors Association (RGA) for broadcasting misleading television ads that distort Governor Gregoire's record and slander the hard work we do every day….These attacks trivialize the work we do every day and exploit a parent's worst fears. And to what end? So that in less than thirty days a parent will be frightened into putting a check mark next to Republican Dino Rossi's name. These attacks are disgusting, unethical and desperate.”
The letter also mentioned that Gregoire has supported law enforcement “every step of the way,” she’s pushed for tougher sentencing for sex offenders, and that Washington’s crime rate is the lowest it’s been in fourteen years.
Here are some more links to this scandal.
cross-posted at Bring It On!