(UPDATE: Hagan has filed a defamation suit against Dole — and she will be seeking damages.)
There has been a large dustup in the blogosphere and in the media over Elizabeth Dole’s fraudulent ‘Godless‘ ad portraying her as cozying up to atheists, so much so that Dem challenger Kay Hagan has a new commercial out addressing the matter:
I’m Kay Hagan and Elizabeth Dole’s attacks on my Christian faith are offensive. She even faked my voice in her TV ad to make you think that I don’t believe in God. Well, I believe in God. I taught Sunday school; my faith guides my life. And Senator Dole knows it. Sure, politics is a tough business, but I approved this message because my campaign is about creating jobs and fixing our economy, not bearing false witness against fellow Christians.
It’s a strong response, placing the tactics directly on the MIA senator (note there’s no mention about the MIA senator’s anti-gay mailer that bashes Hagan as a liberal and in favor of marriage equality (she’s not).
UPDATE #2: The person standing next to Hagan in the ad, one of the alleged Godless Atheists, isn’t one (The Independent Weekly):
Both ads feature shadowy photographs of Hagan standing next to a nameless gray-haired man—presumably one of those atheists to whom the Democrat is allegedly indebted. He is in fact, Charles Frederick (Rick) Stone III, who currently studies theology at the Harvard Divinity School. Until his 2007 move to Boston, Stone lived in Greensboro and taught Biblical studies at Greensboro College, which is affiliated with the United Methodist Church, and Guilford College, which draws on Quaker tradition.
His courses have included Old and New Testament, religious law, and the teachings of Jesus. Stone himself is Episcopalian and a believer in God.
That’s rich. I hope Hagan bankrupts Dole.
A couple of things about the “Godless” debacle trouble me, aside from the base mudslinging of Liddy in her last gasps of desperation. 1) Dole is saying there’s a religious test to serve in public office; 2) Hagan has to respond in a way that affirms this, though she attempts to redirect by saying she plans to focus on the secular. It’s troublesome all around that candidates have to drag personal faith into a discussion about fitness to serve office. For goodness sake, what if an atheist wants to give to her campaign? I’m sure Dole has some atheists on her mailing list of donors. Does it not occur to the surgically preserved senator that non-believers simply want to select a candidate that will address the economy or the host of other issues, given the state the U.S. is in? It’s all ridiculous.
But back to Dole on another matter that has received scant attention in this state — immigration. The ads have been inflammatory, full of fear-baiting. More below the fold.
“I’m Elizabeth Dole and I approve this message.” Announcer: “Associated Press says Kay Hagen is being ‘coy’ about her illegal immigration plans. But Hagan voted to give illegal aliens drivers’ licenses. So, here they came. Costing us a billion dollars each year. Billions in lost wages. What else is Kay hiding?” Hagen (video): “When I get up there, I will let you know, I will let you know.”
In fact, Dole’s very first TV ad focused on immigration. It’s a naked appeal to fear of the Brown Menace, featuring a bunch of sheriffs from around the state talking about the “illegals” and how Liddy is tough on immigration, or as the campaign refers to it — “combatting the criminal illegal alien problem.”
Notice that her campaign managed to find a black law enforcement officer to add some color to put a break in the string of the white, tough-talking good-old-boys. Dole doesn’t say anything in the commercial other than the usual tagline at the end; it’s a series of clips, wonderfully shot, of her walking, nodding, smiling, etc.
If you take a look at how this is framed, Dole is being very careful to narrow her focus on undocumented people who are committing crimes (gang activity, violence, property crimes) other than being here illegally but working and otherwise law-abiding. The fact is that businesses NC benefit from these undocumented workers, and the business interests that support Dole don’t want a serious dragnet that deports low-paid farmworkers, chicken plant employees, construction workers, etc. Dole is counting on the ship-them-out, low-information voters not to make such distinctions.
I’m curious how the Hagan campaign will address this, since immigration is the one issue the Democratic party here hasn’t shown any interest in challenging the hypocritical Republican frame; that’s why Dole is going there.
Immigration08.com is a project that tracks how immigration is playing out in political races across the country. The almost-untold story this year is the exodus of Latino votes to the Dems, as the GOP is bleeding Latino voters. In many ways, the level of racial animus that we have seen in The Base during the presidential campaign harkens back to the reactions we saw against the immigration proposal on the Hill.
The GOP absolutely had a chance to capture the Latino vote, but its intolerant faction wanted no part of it.