Wallowing In Sleaze
[Hi! It’s Kathy from Birmingham Blues, shaking out the cobwebs and sucking down the caffeine.]
Republican groups around the country have been embarrassing themselves with tacky, stupid, and misleading campaign ads – but the Alabama Republican Party may have outdone them all. The party chairman, Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh (yes, that really is her name, and yes, she wants to be called “chairman”), recorded an attack phone call targeting several Democratic incumbents in state House races by calling them pro-gay. The reason? They belong to the same party as Patricia Todd, unopposed candidate for House District 54 and soon to be Alabama’s first openly gay state representative.
Twinkle trots out the usual suspects, implying that “pro-gay” is a bad thing, and accusing Patricia of going to Montgomery to push the “gay rights agenda”. (Pam, how do you think she got a copy? I know I didn’t give her one.)
The taped phone messages, delivered by state GOP Chairwoman Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh, targeted House Speaker Seth Hammett of Andalusia and Reps. Joe Carothers of Dothan, Terry Spicer of Elba and Lea Fite of Anniston. Each of the Democrats has a Republican opponent.
According to the script used against Carothers, Fite and Spicer, the phone message says each of the targeted lawmakers “has pledged his support to gay rights advocate and openly lesbian House candidate Patricia Todd. Patricia Todd will push to legalize same-sex marriage and gay adoptions.” It urges the voter to “vote no on the gay rights agenda” by voting against the Democratic incumbent.
…A portion of Democratic Party bylaws, cited by Republicans, states, “Any elected public official who attained office as a nominee of the Democratic Party in Alabama … shall not be permitted to qualify as a candidate for public or Party office as a Democrat in any elections if, while holding such public or Party office, he or she did not support the nominees of the Democratic Party in all Special or General Elections during the past four years …”
Sadly, state Republicans are standing behind the ads and seem to quite proud of their party chairman. And the targeted Democrats, rather than stepping up and saying, “Hell, yes, I support my party’s candidate in District 54,” seem almost as horrified as the Republicans that they’ve been associated with a *gasp* lesbian. Rep. Joe Carothers’ response? “I don’t even know Miss Todd, I’ve never even met the lady, and I’m damn sure I haven’t signed any pledge.” Nice.
Patricia remains calm, classy, and focused.
“I mean, it’s just ridiculous,” [Patricia] said. “It’s obvious that they’re desperate and using me to try to get people stirred up.
…”I’m going down there to represent the people in my district who need a lot of help and we need to deal with the poverty rate in Alabama,” she added.
Wow! That sounds really scary, doesn’t it?