Child Rape Politics

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The Washington state Republicans did a phone ad campaign in the 44th District targetting the two incumbent Democrats for their lack of support for tough child rapist penalties.

I think it is a great ad. It sticks to the facts: a child rapist is moving into their community, and the Democrats oppose keeping people like him behind bars for life. People are complaining because people are, in the words of John Lovick, one of the Democrats, "unnecessarily fearful." No, they are not. They are rightfully, justifiably, necessarily fearful. "Scaremongering" is only a reasonable claim if there is not an actual, material, imminent reason to be afraid.

The other Democrat, Hans Dunshee -- always good for a soundbite -- said, "It's that threat (of sex offendeers) that is more important than the politics of it." Right. And this ad lets people know that they refuse to take the threat seriously enough.

Dunshee caps it off with an accusation that the Republican candidates, Mike Hope and Robert Legg, of lying when they said they had nothing to do with it. I know both of them. Saw them tonight, actually, at a meeting of the Evergreen Republican Women, where one of my state reps, Dan Kristiansen, was speaking (I am in the 39th District, which is next door to the 44th).

I can't see either of them lying about this, especially Robert, who's one of the nicest and most honest people I know. He's a pastor and has served in the Air Force for almost 30 years, currently serving in the office of the Inspector General. If he says he didn't know about it, as far as I and the people who know him are concerned, he didn't know about it.

Not that I would care if they did know about it. It's a great ad. I don't care about negative ads when there's something to be justifiably, angrily, negative about. I hate manufactured rage over relatively unimportant issues, but this is an issue most voters have some legitimate outrage about: we are seeing a nearly constant release of violent rapists from prison, and little is being done about it. Frankly, I do not think it is possible to discuss this issue, and what the Democrats did (and didn't do) about it, and not be extremely negative.

Of course, Dunshee can't be taken too seriously; he is the guy who said that "Whatever we do on sex offenders, the Republicans will want to do more. ... If we want to hang them, they'll want to to hang 'em and shoot 'em," disguising the fact that Dunshee did not want to hang them, but let them out of prison after a few months.

The bottom line is that if people were not so upset, the Democrats wouldn't care; and people are only so upset because there is something to be so upset about. In order for their complaints to be taken seriously, they are going to have to convince the people that a. there is nothing to be concerned about or b. the Democrats are doing a good job at keeping child rapists behind bars. As neither is true, they won't have much luck.

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"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

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This page contains a single entry by pudge published on March 16, 2006 11:24 PM.

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