THIS IS OK: The "Happy Holly Boys" photo that Republican attorney general candidate Leslie Rutledge sent around on state time on a state computer while a DHS lawyer doesn't upset Republicans. Nor should it, except for the public time wasting. But the idea that a Democratic candidate, John Burkhalter, earned money for a struggling business long ago as a similar dancer has Republican puritans really fired up. Double standard anyone?
The Arkansas Democratic Party
today highlighted news reports of Republican candidates
with records of violence against women.
The Jonesboro Sun wrote about orders of protection filed against Republican House candidate Jack Ladyman
over complaints of physical and verbal abuse.
and others have written about a Republican candidate for JP in Pulaski County, Jesse Macom-Teague,
who was convicted of domestic battery
and also accused in a separate incident of beating a girilfriend.
There's lots more today in the oppo game, including dueling male dancers and a Republican candidate with a problem paying debts. Read on.
Democratic Party of Arkansas Chair Vincent Insalaco
issued a statement about candidates with violent histories:
“It is downright shameful and atrocious that two Republican candidates — Jack Ladyman and Jesse Macom-Teague — have such dark histories when it comes to violence against women. What does it say about these men who have been physically abusive to women? If voters were aware of this, they would be outraged. There is simply no place for violence against women in our society. How irresponsible can the Republican leadership be to stand by these candidates?"
"Rep. Tom Cotton already has a dismal record when it comes to violence against women, since he was the only member of the Arkansas delegation to vote against both versions of the Violence against Women Act. I call on Tom Cotton, Asa Hutchinson, French Hill, Rick Crawford, and Republican Chair Doyle Webb to condemn these candidates’ actions and demand they withdraw their candidacies.”
It's unclear to me how much 11th-hour disclosures — however well documented — affect weary voters. But I suspect more is to come.
Macom-Teague has responded in his case by saying he was a Marine war veteran suffering from PTSD. That drew a call to me today from a decorated Marine combat veteran of the same era who still is treated for PTSD. He said it's a large and not sufficiently addressed issue for veterans. But he also said it should not be used as a "pass" for unacceptable behavior and to do so is a disservice to others. He also wondered about Macom-Teague's saying he was decorated for combat duty in Iraq in 2002. The U.S. invasion didn't occur until 2003 and only some elite CIA units were operating in Iraq in advance, the Marine said. I have asked for Macom-Teague's DD-214, a record of service, to clarify the issue. Macom-Teague hasn't responded so far. UPDATE: He says he will not comment further.
A Republican woman is also making news in the Democratic opposition research department. She's Patricia Mays,
a Republican candidate for House
in Monticello, with a messy financial history
— federal tax liens
and court judgments on credit card debt,
the latter not reported on state ethics forms.
No Republican has yet been heard on abuse of women or on the cited financial problems. But I HAVE heard a lot from sanctimonious GOP Comstocks (they pushed it onto Drudge this week) about the long-ago reported fact
that businesman John Burkhalter
briefly and long ago earned money for a struggling business as a Chippendale-style dancer. I invite you to listen in full to their "smoking gun" — an interview of Burkhalter by Larry Henry of KFSM
— and then work up some righteous indignation about a man who pulled sewage out of a pipe with a five-gallon bucket and an ice cream scoop to build the American dream. Yes, he maybe even briefly entertained as a dancer to make ends meet.
The pious sanctimony of the Republican faithful over a bit of youthful trivia is telling about their priorities. His Republican opponent for lieutenant governor, Tim Griffin,
has spent most of his working life on the payroll of partisan politicians as a political hatchet man. Their dirty deeds including scheming to keep black and Latino people
(many of them in military service) from voting in Florida. Tricking someone out of their constitutional right is OK. Taking your shirt off is not. .....
..... Unless, of course, you are Leslie Rutledge,
a Republican candidate for attorney general who has apreciation, not indignation, about male dancers. As a DHS attorney, she mailed around racy photos of hottie boy bodies
while at work on state time at a state computer. ("Afternoon snack," she labeled one email with attached photo of a body builder wearing not much more than a smile and a thong.) I don't care about these photos either and ignored them when I got the same batch of e-mails from which Blue Hog compiled the link. But the hypocrisy is getting deep.