Voters say they hate negative, attack campaign ads, but political pundits and consultants say it works. The pundits must be right because there is no other explanation for Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton trailing in the polls for Michigan Attorney General.
His opponent, Bill Schuette, has run some of the sleaziest ads I have ever seen, but he has finally been shamed into taking one of them off the air by the family of someone he was shamelessly exploiting. But that, in my opinion, is not the sleaziest ad.
The TV ad most people have seen has lead to a profane-filled death threat against Layton, yet it still stays up.
That ad stars Debbie McIntosh, of Grand Blanc, whose son, Adam, 25, was murdered in 2006. She is very angry that the killer did not get more time and that he was the only one charged, even though there’s no evidence that anyone else was involved. Republicans are using the millions of dollars of unregulated corporate cash to run that smear ad exploiting McIntosh holding a photo of her son and calling Leyton a liar.
Even after an anti-Semitic attack by McIntosh on the Flint Journal web site and death threat, the ad is still running.
I’m not sure what crime has to do with the Michigan Attorney General, since the job is largely a civil and administrative posts and acts as the state’s attorney, but the Republicans have been trying with no success to paint Leyton soft on crime. Every ad they have run has had a foul called on it by the nonpartisan Michigan Truth Squad.
In his two terms as Genesee County Prosecuting Attorney, Leyton has prosecuted more than 20,000 criminal cases to Schuette’s zero. The teabggers have driven the Republican Party so far to the right they are in danger of falling off the cliff, but one thing they constantly claim is that they will not support career politicians. Yet almost all of the Republican candidates can qualify for that label.
While Leyton was serving in local government as an elected prosecutor, he also served on the Flint Township Board of Trustees, first as a Trustee and later as the Township Clerk; Schuette was, first, a U.S. Congressman, a member of former Gov. John Engler’s cabinet, then a state Senator and finally an Appellate Court Judge.
This is just more Republicans teabagger hypocrisy.
The ad that was pulled off the air claimed that Leyton was “overly lenient in the plea deal he reached with a drunken driver who led police on a chase that resulted in the death of Flint police officer Owen Fisher,” according to subscription only Gongwer.
“Flint police officer Owen Fisher, murdered while on duty. An open and shut case: not for David Leyton," the ad says. “He plea bargained down to just three years in prison; said it was just and right."
But Gongwer said David and Vida Fisher, the deceased officer's parents, said “the ad is wrong and that Christopher Bentoski would see more than three years in prison for his convictions on assault with intent to do great bodily harm and fleeing police.” The Fishers also criticized Schuette for using the story without consulting with them first and for making an ad that was disrespectful to their family.
"We request that Mr. Schuette remove this ad from the airwaves," David Fisher said. "Our son was a tremendously civil human being and this ad is both uncivil and incorrect. We believe that Genesee County prosecutor David Leyton approached this case with appropriate gravity and treated our family respectfully."
Back to the drawing board, and since Republicans have so much unregulated corporate money to burn, a new ad is already up in its place featuring Republican Oakland County Executive Brooks Patterson criticizing Leyton for plea bargains. Patterson is very familiar with plea bargains; like the one he took in 2003 to reckless driving after being pulled over for possible drunk driving.