Of course Wills sent a syrupy letter of condolence to everyone, no matter how insane or evil, including Billy Roper, the neo-Nazi who was a write-in for governor. And of course Roper has now trumpeted the kind words on his website. And of course the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, has reported the story for the whole world to see. Presumably Elvis Presley, Loy Mauch and the other assorted cranks who made the ballot (and sometimes won) got equally laudatory treatment from Wills.
Judgment. It's important.
Wills' letter to a now-cackling Roper:
“It takes a special person to put their name on the ballot, and it says a lot about you that you had so many willing to help you with your campaign,” Wills’ letter reads. “You should be very proud of your campaign and you have my admiration and respect for making the effort. … I hope you will consider running for office again in the future.”
The rest is equally platitudinous and generic, and closes, “Thank you again for all you’ve done, and will continue to do, for our great State.”
Understand this attention is worth more than gold to Roper, who piled up 49 votes.
UPDATE: Speaker Wills comments:
Oh, for crying out loud. Yes, I sent a letter to every person who ran for office. But to suggest that that means anything other than that I appreciate the democratic process is just silly. After all, the ACLU has repeatedly fought to protect the first amendment rights of the KKK. That doesn’t mean they — or you - endorse the substance of what they are saying. I don’t endorse anything Mr. Roper stands for and have asked that he stop using the form letter to imply such on his website. Honestly, until the Southern Poverty Law Center contacted me, I didn’t know that much about him or his extreme views. However, unlike him, I treat everyone equally. He was a candidate and thus received a letter. The fact is anyone can run for office — no matter how crazy - and that’s what makes America great. I was just trying to be nice but, as it usually happens when I do that, no good deed goes unpunished.