WHAT IS IT WITH THE REPUBLICAN PARTY IN THE SOUTH and disgusting political flyers and mailers?
A nasty flyer has turned up in Tennesse politics which depicts a handicapped athlete running on a track with George Bush’s face pasted on.
The text reads:
Voting for Bush is Like Running in the Special Olympics — Even if You Win, You’re Still Retarded.
The Traditional Values Coalition and other right wing operations in the South jumped on this fast alleging that Tennessee Democrat Craig Fitzhugh‘s office, which shares space with the Kerry/Edwards Campaign, was distributing this flyer.
I have just spoken to Fitzhugh’s office — and here are the facts so far.
First, the Chairman of the Democratic Party Randy Button and Craig Fitzhugh have denied that these flyers were produced and/or distributed by Fitzhugh’s or the campaign office.
Remember when the equally nasty RNC mailer emerged in West Virginia and Arkansas? It took more than a week for Ed Gillespie and the RNC, which originally disavowed knowledge of the mailer, to own up that the “ban the Bible” mailer was an RNC product. In this case, the denial from the Dems is immediate and firm.
Fitzhugh’s office reported to me that they have asked the District Attorney’s office to investigate and looks at this flyer and the attempt to pin it on Fitzhugh as a disgusting — but more importantly — an illegal act.
What has been reported is that these flyers were left in a trash can in Fitzhugh’s office. No one on Fitzhugh’s staff or among campaign volunteers saw that these flyers had been deposited by anyone in the garbage. Shortly after some unknown individual dropped the flyers in the trash can, another individual came into the office and found the flyers in Fitzhugh’s trash — and then made this public.
Coincidence? I think not. I hope the D.A. goes after these culprits and nails them hard.
This appears to be a classic dirty trick.
But when the dust clears on this one — despite the efforts of Fox News and the Traditional Values Coalition to try to keep this mailer linked to Democrats — the RNC has to not only live with its admission of producing and distributing a duplicitous, homophobic mailer but that it has produced a culture in its party where this kind of political prank seems to be becoming a norm.
— Steve Clemons