Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Obama Wants Racial Dialogue, Gableman Stuck On Polarization

The uproar over a race-baiting television advertisement paid for by the Mike Gableman for Supreme Court campaign - - not an outside group, by the way - - has led to a formal complaint with the State Judicial Commission (text of story at the bottom).

That's all well and good, but it's after-the-fact, the ad is still on the air, so the swift-boating damage is already done to Butler's campaign.

And shame on the Gableman campaign for crafting, airing and continuing to defend it.

Butler is an African-American; the ad falsely implies that Butler released an African-American defendant back into the community, where the defendant re-offended.

Butler was not a judge during the case. He was the defendant's public defender. But the ad shows Butler and the defendant in unflattering, attack ad-style smear photos side-by-side.

What they have in common is their race, nothing more.

It's a Willie Horton-type ad, and drags Wisconsin into racist mud - - in a campaign for the State Supreme Court, no less.

Those parsing, chuckling about or defending the ad - - Gableman supporter Charlie Sykes did not, calling the ad misleading (Sykes' analysis and the ad are here,) - - are essentially confirming that when an African-American runs for statewide office, that candidate will be openly attacked using race as the club.

Counter-balance that negative, nasty, Jim Crow-George Wallace era attitude with the effort by Barack Obama today to try and move the political process past racial divisiveness towards dialogue and understanding.

Race has no place in the State Supreme Court campaign.

It's there only because Butler is African-American, and the state is overwhelmingly Caucasian, and the Gableman campaign cynically thinks the route to winning a seat on our state's highest court is to appeal to some voters' worst fears.

Gableman may win, but will always be known as the candidate who played the dirtiest of race cards to get there.

Journal Story text about the complaint is below:

TUESDAY, March 18, 2008, 1:01 p.m.
By Stacy Forster

Group files complaint over high court ad

Madison -- A group has filed a complaint with the state's Judicial Commission over a controversial ad from Mike Gableman in this year's state Supreme Court race.

Gableman, a Burnett County circuit judge, started running an ad last week that some say misrepresents the facts in a case handled by Justice Louis Butler when he was a public defender, and Citizen Action of Wisconsin has asked the commission to investigate whether the ad violates the judicial code of ethics.

Gableman's campaign continued to defend the ad.

The code says, "A candidate for a judicial office shall not knowingly or with reckless disregard for the statement's truth or falsity misrepresent the identity, qualifications, present position, or other fact concerning the candidate or an opponent. A candidate for judicial office should not knowingly make representations that, although true, are misleading, or knowingly make statements that are likely to confuse the public with respect to the proper role of judges and lawyers in the American adversary system."

"If Mike Gableman is willing to mislead the public and violate the judicial ethics code merely for political gain, think about what he would do on the bench," Robert Kraig of Wisconsin Citizen Action said in a statement.

The group said the ad misrepresents the facts of the case by implying that Butler was a judge at the time and that Butler's actions resulted in the release of the child molester, Reuben Lee Mitchell.

Gableman campaign adviser Darrin Schmitz downplayed the complaint, saying it was a "stunt from a left-leaning citizen action group" that is filled with meritless claims and falsehoods.

"The ad is factual, the so-called complaint is meritless and is based on falsehoods," Schmitz said. "Citizen Action is simply trying to divert voters' attention away from the clear choice in the race."


Anonymous said...


The ad may be misleading, but it is not racist. I really do not care if Butler is black, white, blue, green or yellow. I think he is an activist judge and will not vote for him because of that. Why does the left always have to bring up race, you must have a low opinion of us fellow Wisconsinites to suggest that we cannot vote for Butler because he his black.

Who does not want a racial dialogue? This is not new to Obama. Obama belonged to a church for over 20 years, who had a pastor who made numerous racist comments, but Obama says he was not aware of them. Obama did not even say if he would quit the church. However, Obama sang a different tune regarding the Imus scandal. Obama is a fraud, a used car salesman.

James Rowen said...

Of course it's racist. The African-American defendant/African-American justice pairing is just a coincidence? C'mon.

The race card here is being played by Gableman.

I predict he will take down the ad, though as I said, the damage has been done.

This 'activist" label is a joke. Gableman and Ziegler will be WMC activists. That's why they are being supported. That's what politics is all about and these are political offices.

Name-calling at Obama is silly.

Can you match his contribution to the dialogue?

He doesn't run from his name, Mr. Anonymous.

Anonymous said...

Obama does not run from his name? How come he never uses his middle name?

So if Butler put out an ad with Gableman's picture and a picture of a white defendant would you consider that racist?

The first anony is right about Obama, he gives a great speech, but never answers any of the critical questions regarding his lifelong church. If my pastor had racist beliefs I would have been out of there in less than 60 seconds and never looked back. You need to go back and listen to Rev. Wright.

You have rose colored glasses on Jim. I have not yet decided who to vote for, but I was leaning toward Obama, but now I am not.

Butler is an activist judge, look what happened when he gets on the court, strikes down medical malpractice caps on Non economic damages, which was in place for many years, and need I mention the stupid lead paint decision.

I am sure Butler is a nice man, but I would never vote for him. He got crushed the last time he ran. He is only on the court because Doyle appointed him.

I really do not care if Gableman is supported by the WMC, Butler is supported by WEAC, and the trial lawyers, who are special interests too. But I guess those groups are alright.

TheRealCharlieSykes said...

anony march 20 - read the Green Bay Press Gazette analysis of the lead paint case in their editorial at http://tinyurl.com/272rst. You just have it wrong.