The news here in the Carolinas is North Carolina Republican Senator Liddy Dole's attack ad on her Democratic opponent in tomorrow's election, Kay Hagan. Rather than show any shame, she is redoubling her efforts and running another one, just like the first. I have seen all three commercials broadcast locally (we get Channel 13 in this area), but I can only find the first two on YouTube (see below).
Hagan is making major inroads, so Liddy Dole ties her to some atheists named Godless Americans, with whom she attended a Boston fundraiser. (Since when do politicians know everyone present at a fundraiser?) The Miami Herald reports:
Voters, church leader speak out against Dole's `godless' ad
By LISA ZAGAROLI
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- U.S. Senate candidate Kay Hagan said she came to talk about issues, but it wasn't long after arriving at an early voting site in Charlotte that a few voters brought up what's become the focal point of the race - the "godless" ad that Sen. Elizabeth Dole is running against her.
"What a nasty campaign this has turned into at the last moment," Doug Gubbins, a retired computer programmer from Charlotte, said to Hagan as she worked the voting line at Marion Diehl Recreation Center.
As Carolina voters make their final decisions about who to vote for, the contest between Dole, the Republican incumbent, and Hagan, a Democratic state senator from Greensboro, brewed both on the airwaves and on the ground.
Dole began airing a second ad featuring a fundraiser for Hagan in Boston. The event, which was hosted by Democratic supporters, was held at the home of a man associated with the Godless Americans PAC, a group opposed to references to God in government.
In Dole's new ad, the announcer asks, "If Godless Americans threw a party in your honor, would you go?"
Hagan declined to talk about the ad war with reporters in Charlotte, except to say she would continue to pursue legal action. On Thursday, she initiated a lawsuit that claimed Dole's ad was false and defamatory.
On Friday, Dole responded by filing a motion to dismiss Hagan's "frivolous" suit. The motion said the lawsuit is "essentially a political press release that attempts to manufacture causes of action where none clearly exist."
The backlash against Dole continued with a church leader sending the senator a sharply-worded letter.
"We are writing to deplore as strongly as possible your recent 30-second television advertisement," wrote the Rev. Sekinah Hamlin, president of the N.C. Council of Churches, a coalition of 15 Christian denominations that work on racial, gender and economic issues. One of the churches that support the council's work is First Presbyterian of Greensboro, where Hagan serves as a Sunday school teacher and elder.
"We cannot remain silent when you challenge the beliefs of faithful fellow Christians and suggest that a leader in one of the state's oldest and largest denominations doesn't believe in God," wrote Hamlin, an ordained Disciples of Christ minister.
Mixing religion with politics didn't sit well with some voters either.
"I'm glad you're out here because I did not appreciate that," Charlotte nurse Barbara Sherman said to Hagan about Dole's ad.
Charlotte homemaker Leslie Hand said she was tuning out campaign ads because she knew the Republican Party shared her pro-life stance and other values.
"It's important to have people who will speak up for the values I believe in," said Hand, a Dole supporter.
Sharon Seward of Charlotte, a children's ministry director, said she doesn't like negative campaigning on either side and the candidates ought to stick to the issues. But she said Dole's ad did raise questions for her about Hagan.
"We need to know where people stand, but I want it always to be the truth," she said. "I would like to know where she stands but I don't know."
For one previously undecided voter, the Dole ad made the difference. Tom Carlin, a registered Republican and stay-at-home dad from Charlotte, said he'd decided to vote for Hagan after seeing it.
"The ad I saw showed a lot of desperation on her (Dole's) part," said Carlin, who has grown disenchanted with the direction that Republicans have brought the country in over the last eight years. "The separation of church and state is important to me. That was sort of a last-ditch effort to bring religion into it to try to galvanize that part of the electorate."
The voice over the last part of the ad proclaiming "There is no God!" is Ellen Johnson's, not Kay Hagan's. Can you tell by watching?
The really great part of this response ad isn't simply that Hagan replies to the heart of Dole's nastiness, but the additional Steel-Magnolia, southern-lady zinger: "and Senator Dole knows it!"
For the win!
Undoubtedly, Dole does already know it, which makes it all the more underhanded, low and pathetic.
Chris Cillizza writes on THE FIX:
As stated above, I saw this ad only last night, but I am unable to find it on YouTube to reproduce it here. (My apologies! You can watch it on THE FIX, linked above.) This second ad from the Elizabeth Dole campaign is considerably more muted, claiming "Kay Hagan's faith is not the issue," which of course, is news to the voters who have seen the ad. Of course it is. The new ad implies that she made "promises" to the Godless America PAC.
Unbowed by the criticism over her first ad attacking state Sen. Kay Hagan (D) for her connections to the Godless Americans PAC, North Carolina Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R) is up with a new commercial tonight that doubles down on that message. The full ad is below but here's the toughest line it it: "They want to take God out of the Pledge of Allegiance and our everyday lives. If Godless Americans threw a party in your honor, would you go?"
The fundraiser in question took place in the home of author Wendy Kaminer, whom the National Republican Senatorial Committee actually describes as "a leader in the Godless movement." Wow, I've read her books, so does that make ME Godless, too? (snark) Obviously, these right wing attack-dogs are threatened by anyone with ANY alternative or minority opinions. They really would be far more at home in a country that doesn't allow dissenting opinion and should consider moving to some SOCIALIST place (more snark).
Besides the nasty GOP head-tripping politics is what lies beneath this whole foofaraw: an acceptable prejudice, an acceptable bigotry. It is OKAY, at least in certain areas of the south, to publicly hate atheists. Here in the Carolinas, you might as well accuse Kay Hagan of partying with Ted Bundy. Yes, I know the fundamentalist line: NOOOoooo, we don't HATE, we love them and want to convert them, blah blah blah, ... Well, I don't buy that for a second. If you love people, you want them to have equal representation in the government and you want them to have civil rights like yourself. Fundamentalists don't, and this is exactly what happens when they invade politics. Fundies want gays, atheists, non-Christians, to settle for second-class, or simply silence. They do not want gays or atheists to openly participate in the political process. This enduring McCarthyism is more than a little troubling. This is bigotry, folks. Stigmatizing atheists as Bogeyman incarnate is prejudice, tantamount to singling out any ONE group for ridicule and hate.
HEADS-UP TO MY FELLOW CHRISTIANS: THIS IS WRONG.