Category Archives: Politics: 2010 Election
One of the things that is worrisome about movements like the 'Tea Party' is the potential for fascism. That's not to say fascism is part of the ideology, or an inevitable consequence of it, but there's a certain fellow-traveler feeling that is hard to ignore. Here's an example relating to the Tea Partyiod GOP candidate for Senate in Alaska: Miller security guards handcuff editor. Note that the guys imprisoning the reporter/editor are private security, not cops.
And from Florida (via Political Animal), where Florida congressional candidate Allen West (R) is running his nutty (and very successful) campaign against the estimable Ron Klein:
NBC News ran a report documenting West's background associating with a violent gang of criminals, which the Justice Department believes is involved in drug running, arson, prostitution, robbery, and murder.
Yesterday, things managed to get even worse, still. West spoke at a public park in the South Florida district, and a 23-year-old videographer was on hand to record the candidate's remarks, which is hardly an unusual modern campaign practice. But things got ugly when West's gang allies were caught on tape harassing and threatening the Democratic staffer.
As the local NBC affiliate noted, “Threats can be heard on the video tape. The West supporters forced him to get back into his car.”
The threats worked — the Democratic party decided to take “videographer off the campaign trail altogether yesterday” because they felt they couldn't protect him.
I tend to like tough Democratic ads, especially if they deliver the shiv with a gentle touch. I think this Joe Sestack ad (PA-Sen) hits the spot:
… but will voters agree, or will some be offended?
On the other hand, I suspect this Jack Conway ad (KY-Sen) will work for it intended audience, although it doesn't work as well for me:
Conversely, this Solomon Ortiz ad (TX-) has a good concept, but I don't think the execution is all it could be (especially as it stomps on the last point, which suggests the opponent could be a big target):
First there was the original ad that started it all
Then the Saturday Night Live parody version,
And then it all went very viral, very fast:
This Alex Sink 2-minute ad, Profits Over Patients: The Rick Scott Story, is hard-hitting and, I would hope, devastating.
Devastating, that is, unless TV viewers are inured to scandal…which is always possible in Florida. Polls in the Governor's race suggest a very close race.
Mr. Dan Grech
WLRN Miami Herald News Director
Dear Mr. Grech,
I am a law professor at the University of Miami. I am writing to express my concern about something I heard on WLRN this morning during the Miami Herald News segment. The segment concerned the discussion held yesterday in the Miami Herald editorial offices between competing candidates for Congress in FL-22. (I was in my car, but I believe it ran shortly after 7:30am. I can't find it online.)
In the discussion of the candidates' differences over immigration, Allen West's position was described as “hardline”; his position was that babies born in the US should not have citizenship. Whatever the merits of this idea as social policy (the so-called 'anchor babies' to which he referred have been shown to be pretty much mythical) it does listeners, most of whom are not professors of constitutional law, a great disservice to call this a “hardline” position. It is not a matter of policy that could be changed by Congress or the Executive. It is, quite simply, part of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.
Either the candidate is proposing that we ignore the Constitution as it has been understood for generations, or he is proposing that we repeal the 14th Amendment. Proposals to violate the law, or to amend basic rules that have served us for generations, may be called many things — I'd call them “radical” — but they cannot fairly be called “hardline” without substantially more context than your report offered.
We might call differences on how aggressively to attempt to enforce immigration laws — e.g. what resources to devote to factory or farm-worker raids — as an issue to which the “spend more on enforcement” position is fairly abbreviated as “hardline”. But the “ignore the Constitution” or the “repeal the 14th Amendment” positions are something else entirely, something I hope your future reports — even the very short ones — will make more clear.
A. Michael Froomkin
Laurie Silvers & Mitchell Rubenstein Distinguished Professor of Law