Tuesday, November 4, 2008

What happened to Elizabeth Dole? A new "most hateful video"

The other high profile Republican incumbent who lost a Senate seat is a little more problematic than Sununu. Tonight, much of the controversy about Elizabeth Dole's loss in North Carolina centered on an attack ad against her opponent, Kay Hagan.

First, here's the ad:

Here is local coverage of the ad, and the candidates' statements about it:

This resulted in an editorial from the Charlotte Observer, who expected something better from Dole.

When [Jesse] Helms retired in 2002 and Salisbury native Elizabeth Dole was elected to take his place, voters here breathed a sigh of relief. Surely Dole would not stoop to the racial appeals that marked too many N.C. elections and soured so many people on politics. It just wasn’t her way. While she might be every bit as conservative as Helms, her style was not divisive. She did not demonize her opponents.

Until now. In a new TV ad that must have the late Sen. Helms smiling and cheering from the great beyond, the Dole campaign has attacked her opponent, Democratic state Sen. Kay Hagan of Greensboro, as “godless.” Hagan attended a September fundraiser in Boston sponsored by dozens of people and co-hosted by two persons associated with a group called Godless Americans PAC. Dole’s ad says Hagan took “godless” money. Hagan’s campaign says she did not receive money from the PAC, though she did get money from one of the co-hosts. She has demanded Dole halt the ad.

Then the editorializing began:

The Dole campaign stepped across a broad line, portraying Hagan as not Christian and suggesting she does not believe in God. The Dole ad shows a picture of Hagan while a woman’s voice, not Hagan’s, intones, “There is no God.”

This is indecent. It is...a lie born of Dole’s desperation in a race in which she has trailed for weeks. It is also a deliberate attempt by Dole’s campaign not just to distort the truth, but to shatter Hagan’s admirable record as an elder for more than a decade in Greensboro’s First Presbyterian Church, as a Sunday School teacher and a volunteer in her church’s fundraising campaigns, worship services and community service programs.

But this is presumably not the sole reason why Dole lost, since she was already apparently trailing in the polls before she aired the ad. The Wilson Daily Times, while glossing over the negative ads by both candidates (similar, in fact, to the negative statements in the New Hampshire Senate race), chose to concentrate on more substantive issues:

Dole was elected by North Carolinians in 2002 with high hopes that she would use her vast political experience to become a force for the Tar Heel state in the [Senate]. She had served in both the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations and been the president of the American Red Cross.

With that kind of resume, voters assumed that she would quickly rise up the ranks of the Senate. Those dreams, however, have not come to fruition.

Dole has played a role in some major issues affecting the North Carolina, most notably for this area the federal tobacco buyout program, but on many others her voice has been absent from the table.

And, more disturbing to many North Carolinians, has been her absence from many parts of the state. Most voters expect their senators to remain a visible presence in the state, but Dole has been content to spend most of her time in Washington....

Hagan’s record in Raleigh is that she has moved through the ranks to become one of the most powerful legislators in the N.C. Senate. She has co-chaired the Senate’s appropriations committee and was listed as one of North Carolina’s 10 most effective senators by the non-partisan North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research. Among the issues she has been a part of is raising teacher salaries and increasing funding for higher education.

What sets Hagan above Dole is the fact that she has spent most of her life living and working in North Carolina. She has served her constituents in Greensboro well and has assembled a team that will work to represent the interests of all North Carolinians. During the campaign, she has been far more visible than her opponent, and we hope that visibility will continue if she is elected to office.

Oh, and by the way, Elizabeth Dole resopnded to criticism about the ad...by airing another ad. Her website links to the blip.tv version of the ad (which is also on YouTube:

Incidentally, I couldn't find the first ad (see above) on Dole's website. I had to go to YouTube to find it.

And yes, I'll pull a Jim Bakker and say, "I was wrong." Three hours ago, I said this on FriendFeed:

Perhaps Dole gave the No on Prop 8 "Mormon invasion" ad a run for its money; I'll have to find the Dole ad.

And I'm forced to agree that the Dole ad is more hateful than No on 8's Mormon Invasion ad which I discussed earlier. Dante Atkins, you've been bumped to second place; your ad demonized fictional representations of people, but Dole's people demonized a real person.

Sphere: Related Content
blog comments powered by Disqus