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There's despicable attack ads and there there's this one, offered up by the Republican Governors Association against Vincent Sheheen, Nikki Haley's Democratic challenger in South Carolina. It attacks Sheheen for doing his job, being a criminal defense attorney. The ad is drawing fire from both the South Carolina Bar Association and the American Bar Association, which has written to RGA Chair Gov. Chris Christie demanding that the ad be withdrawn.
"A fundamental tenet of America’s justice system and Constitution is that anyone who faces loss of liberty has a right to legal counsel," wrote ABA President James R. Silkenat in a letter to Christie, who is a lawyer. "Lawyers have an ethical obligation to uphold that principle and provide zealous representation to people who otherwise would stand alone against the power and resources of the government — even to those accused or convicted of terrible crimes."

Emphasizing that the ABA does not endorse political candidates, Silkenat noted that his letter does not support or oppose any candidate in the South Carolina race: "However, as leader of the nation’s largest lawyers’ organization, I am writing to express that the message the ad sends is wrong in the context of the American system of justice, and it must be rejected."

Silkenat closes with an appeal to Christie that is, shall we say, ironic: "Since you are a lawyer yourself, I trust you share the ABA's concerns and hope that you join us in rejected the ad's message that undermines trust and confidence in our nation's rule of law." Appealing to Christie on the rule of law might not be the most effective approach.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Fri Apr 25, 2014 at 12:49 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (27+ / 0-)

    "The NSA’s capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything. [...] There would be no place to hide."--Frank Church

    by Joan McCarter on Fri Apr 25, 2014 at 12:49:59 PM PDT

  •  The appeal should have gone like: (12+ / 0-)

    "Perhaps you should not run such an ad seeing as you yourself are in need of the same kind of legal counsel Mr. Sheheen provided to his clients."

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Fri Apr 25, 2014 at 12:53:19 PM PDT

  •  This year's Willie Horton ad (4+ / 0-)

    Sadly it seems every year has a Willie Horton ad. They make the "Daisy" seem almost quaint in comparison.

    GOP 2014 strategy -- Hire clowns, elephants, and a ringmaster and say "a media circus" has emerged and blame Democrats for lack of progress. Have pundits agree that "both sides are to blame" and hope the public will stay home on election day.

    by ontheleftcoast on Fri Apr 25, 2014 at 01:04:15 PM PDT

    •  Eh, it doesn't have the racial overtones (3+ / 0-)

      of the Willie Horton ad, so at least there's that.  Granted, your average South Carolina voter probably thinks "violent criminals" = "black people" (even though that's not even true), but still...

      29, white male, TX-07 (current), TN-09 (born), TN-08 (where parents live now)

      by TDDVandy on Fri Apr 25, 2014 at 01:34:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah but it's the same fear mongering (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        about the criminal justice system. They want "guilty until proven innocent" (unless they're the ones on trial). They want every sentence to be for life (or the death penalty) so no paroling prisoners (Note that Obama's clemency effort will drive them over the edge at some point).

        GOP 2014 strategy -- Hire clowns, elephants, and a ringmaster and say "a media circus" has emerged and blame Democrats for lack of progress. Have pundits agree that "both sides are to blame" and hope the public will stay home on election day.

        by ontheleftcoast on Fri Apr 25, 2014 at 01:39:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You're preaching to the choir here. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ontheleftcoast, PsychoSavannah

          These are, of course, generally the same people who have a loved one get arrested for something and come crying to my office about how the DA and the judges just want to railroad them.

          Many of them, of course, voted for the "tough on crime" DA and judges.

          29, white male, TX-07 (current), TN-09 (born), TN-08 (where parents live now)

          by TDDVandy on Fri Apr 25, 2014 at 01:41:16 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Probably. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        But I don't think such thinking is limited to the "average South Carolina voter."

        And yes, even though such thinking not even true.

        Being the single intellectual in a village of 1,100 souls ain't much fun, especially when 1,099 of those don't think you're all that smart.--Lucy Marsden

        by Miniaussiefan on Fri Apr 25, 2014 at 02:40:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  But the "daisy" ad was not a lie. Goldwater was (0+ / 0-)

      as much of a hawk as his successor, McCain and given the chance, would have used nuclear weapons on N Vietnam.
      But what is great is that it ran only once and resulted in a landslide for LBJ.
      Now that's powerful advertising!

      You all laugh because I'm different; I laugh because you're all the same

      by sajiocity on Fri Apr 25, 2014 at 04:24:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Being a criminal defense lawyer myself (5+ / 0-)

    I find this ad thoroughly sickening.

    I'll be the first to admit that most of my clients are not the world's best people.  But they're just as deserving of a vigorous defense as Chris Christie (BOOM!)

    29, white male, TX-07 (current), TN-09 (born), TN-08 (where parents live now)

    by TDDVandy on Fri Apr 25, 2014 at 01:36:25 PM PDT

  •  Republicans just don't think (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hawkseye, defluxion10

    things through.  Rich people hire lawyers, individuals or companies that need the best money can buy and have the money to buy it.  The lawyers will still take the money from rude nasty clients, but it really doesn't help you much if your lawyer hates your guts.  And most Republican governors,  they need lawyers.  Ask my Governor, he always has an ethics problem under investigaton.

    Or ask Chris Christie.  He certainly is one to let his mouth get in the way of good sense.  

  •  Note: A Republican Governor in Nebraska (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TDDVandy, sajiocity

    is employing those dastardly lawyers to argue the case FOR the Keystone XL pipeline.

    Pick your favorite glib-quote to describe the situation:

    A) "Can't have your cake and eat it too"
    B) "Depends whose ox is getting gored"
    C) "I'm a two-faced rat talking out of both sides of my mouths"

    Huey728 "I'm not really big on calling strangers on the phone, but I felt this election was too important to just sit back and watch." Elections are decided exactly this way; every damned election! GOTV counts... the votes!

    by Nebraska68847Dem on Fri Apr 25, 2014 at 01:42:31 PM PDT

  •  I find it ironic that Christie would slam criminal (5+ / 0-)

    defense attorneys as he just hired one himself.

    Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right.

    by darthstar on Fri Apr 25, 2014 at 01:43:07 PM PDT

  •  What a delicious dilemma for poor Gov Crisco! (0+ / 0-)

    Did he know about the ad?  When?  Did he approve it?

    Putting the fun back in dysfunctional.

    by hawkseye on Fri Apr 25, 2014 at 01:44:41 PM PDT

  •  This sort of slime (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joan McCarter

    Happened in the 1980s on Long Island. I remember radio ads slamming some Democratic candidate for whatever as untrustworthy because he was a defense attorney. Me, seething in the car, thinking about John Adams.

    I wonder what Markos thought when he started this blog? Sure, come for the politics, but stay for the friendship and cat pics!

    by The Pollster on Fri Apr 25, 2014 at 01:53:08 PM PDT

  •  Oops (0+ / 0-)

    Christie just let that cat out of the bag. How bad is he really doing? So bad that he has to refurbish conservative credentials with this kind of junk. Na na na, na hey hey, good  bye.

  •  The ad is in heavy rotation on the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TDDVandy, Miniaussiefan

    network channels.  

    What adds insult to injury here is SC didn't even have any domestic violence laws on the books just 10 years ago and the ones there now are not "all that".

    Listening to the NRA on school safety is like listening to the tobacco companies on cigarette safety. (h/t nightsweat)

    by PsychoSavannah on Fri Apr 25, 2014 at 02:00:43 PM PDT

  •  Christie (0+ / 0-)

    must be a wife beater or something to even point fingers at
    non partisan defense attorneys involved in domestic violence cases.

    Why even go after these attorneys?

    I am America (and so can you!) -Stephen Colbert psychological operations_(united_states)

    by Krush on Fri Apr 25, 2014 at 02:05:50 PM PDT

  •  Sadly, as long as stuff like this, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the Willie Horton ad and the James Byrd, Jr. being dragged ad continue to work, you will continue to see them.  

    If you get confused, listen to the music play - R. Hunter

    by SpamNunn on Fri Apr 25, 2014 at 02:21:16 PM PDT

    •  Yes, it really is a very effective ad (0+ / 0-)

      and it will work. How did he DARE defend those awful men who beat up women? And NOW he's pretending to be the champion of women's causes? (Remember that Sheheen is running against female Republican governor Nikki Haley). The implication is, even for the more sophisticated: "defense attorney or not, he shouldn't have chosen to (?) defend THOSE guys."

      The documentary-style black-and-white pictures of women crying and alone, and the inflammatory "ripped from the headlines" quotes are more icing on the sickening cake. PLUS the horrible, grainy B&W photo of Sheheen that makes him look like a dimwitted mob boss.

      Very nicely done, and being drummed into the electorate many  times a night.

      "That's going to leave a mark," as they say.

      This kind of thing is a crime against the polity, but lucky for the perpetrators it's not one they need a defense attorney for.

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