DLC Democrat Andrei Cherny's refuses to apologize for Willie Horton style attack.
Now remove the name "Lloyd Levine" and insert the name of your favorite Democratic candidate.
If I told you that the piece had been sent by the Republican Party or by Russell Pearce, it's reasonable to suggest that a good number of Democrats here in the Valley would be up-in-arms over the blatantly racist implications of the photo: minorities are scary, and they're going to kill you.
After all, that's the message we hear all the time from blowhards like Pearce, Tom Tancredo, the Minutemen or the loathsome and fortunately-no-longer-in-office J.D. Hayworth.
But this piece wasn't sent by Russell Pearce or the Arizona Republicans.
It was sent by none other than Democratic Congressional candidate Andrei Cherney, back when he was running for the California State Assembly.
Cherny's history with this kind of politics was revisited by the Arizona Republic yesterday.
Cherny drew criticism or lost endorsements from a host of Democratic leaders, including the National Organization for Women's local chapter, former Assembly speaker Antonio Villaraigosa, then-Los Angeles Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski, Los Angeles Democratic Party Chairman Eric Bauman and three Democratic assemblymen.Back then, Cherny defended the attacks, called them accurate and even claimed that only a real racist would claim that his mail piece above was racist.
Levine and others complained the mailers were misleading since he was rated pro-choice by several groups and did not work for the assemblyman during the contraception vote.
Critics blasted the mailers' racial undertones. Among the critics was Mike Shimpock, a Los Angeles-area campaign consultant who worked for an assemblman who endorsed Levine because of the mailers' "blatant race-baiting and patently false accusations."
You get that? If you think that the mail piece above is racist, Cherny thinks that you're the racist.
To suggest that's utter crap would be an injustice to utter crap.
But, let's give Andrei the benefit of the doubt for a moment.
I'm not going to justify the distortions and outright inaccuracies that his mailings included (claiming that a pro-choice candidate is anti-choice is pretty bush league, not to mention wrong), and I'm certainly not going to justify the outrageously racial undertones of the piece shown above.
For the sake of argument, though, let's say that Andrei just got carried away.
When he ran for the California Assembly, he was taking his first shot at elected office. He was 26. It was probably going to be a close race. He really wanted to win and made some errors in judgment.
The mistakes of youth.
The kind of thing that you're supposed to learn from.
And ten years later, one could hope that a now-36-year-old Cherny could look back and say something like, '"Yeah... that was a mistake. I wouldn't run my campaign that way again if I could do it over."
This kind of statement – while not really excusing his behavior – would at least show some contrition... some acknowledgement that race-baiting and lying about your opponents is wrong.
But unfortunately, it doesn't appear that Cherny learned a damn thing.
Asked about the mailings by the Republic this week, Cherny said: "I think (the mailers) were accurate and did fairly represent the positions of the people I was running against."
Cherny was running against a pro-choice candidate, and he knowingly claimed that his opponent was anti-choice. The National Organization for Women's local chapter said that Cherny's attack was "just absolutely absurd, and it's really dirty politics."
So, Andrei still thinks he was right, even though everyone else knows he was lying.
And the race-baiting? Does Andrei feel bad about that?
No. Not a bit, in fact.
On Tuesday, Cherny said the criticism a decade ago of "race-baiting" was "a pretty terrible charge to throw out against somebody. But I accept sometimes people say things in the heat of a campaign that aren't true."Well, of course he accepts that people say things in the heat of a campaign that aren't true. After all, he's done it (and continues to do so).
But there's something almost more disturbing here: Andrei thinks he was the victim here because someone dared to suggest that his attack mail was race-baiting.
Someone attacking you for race-baiting is a "terrible charge to throw out against somebody."
But the act of race-baiting? Andrei has no problem with it at all.
Race-baiting is wrong, whether it's done by J.D. Hayworth, Russell Pearce, or, yes, Andrei Cherny.
We don't expect a J.D. Hayworth to apologize for hurling horrible attacks at illegal immigrants because, well, that's what he does.
We don't expect a Russell Pearce to suddenly realize just how racist his legislation is, because that's just what he does.
But we should expect - and insist on - more from someone running as a Democrat.
When this issue was raised with Cherny this week, there was a path for him to at least partially redeem himself for the kind of crap he pulled.
He couldn't bring himself to do it. His character wouldn't permit him to acknowledge his mistakes.
Now, he might realize that Democrats are actually offended by this kind and decide - for political purposes - to admit he was wrong.
But he was given that chance this week and what did he do? Defend it.
Any apology now would be as fake as a three-dollar bill.
The fact that Andrei doesn't understand - or refused to admit - just how wrong he was - makes him the completely wrong kind of Democrat we should be sending to Congress.