Earlier today I suggested that truly competitive multiparty elections would reduce the volume of negative campaigning. As if to prove me wrong, my mail this evening includes not one, but two pieces of negative campaign literature targeting neither Republicans nor Democrats, but Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Warren Redlich.
The first is a mailing billing Anti-Prohibition candidate Kristin Davis as "the real libertarian candidate." One side slams Redlich for proposing higher gas taxes. The other touts the Davis platform of eliminating capital gains taxes, slashing business franchise taxes, cutting state income tax rates, ending marijuana prohibition and legalizing casino gambling.
The second is a sleazy production from "People for a Safer New York," a group so obscure that you can't google it. This mailing is a sealed fold-out billing itself as a "Sexual Predator Alert." Open it, and you read that Redlich allegedly "defends sex with children." For that reason, he "constitutes a public danger." Losing track of the narrative, the flier identifies Redlich himself as a "sick twisted pervert...advocating his sick views running as a libertine candidate for governor." It goes so far as to tell readers to "Call the Police!" if they see Redlich in the neighborhood or near a public school. The authors' basis for this hysterical screed is a blog post Redlich wrote in 2008 on the controversy over a racy Miley Cyrus photoshoot. He recalls that no such fuss was made when Brooke Shields filmed The Blue Lagoon, and notes the Shakespearean precedent for sexually active teenage girls. He speculates that it was once considered normal for older men to be interested in Juliet-aged girls, but adds, as a parent of two, that he'll need "a shotgun or two" to keep men away from his daughters. From such slight stuff "People for a Safer New York" have concocted the most despicable piece of campaign literature I've seen in some time.
As everyone will tell you, Redlich has "no chance" to be elected Governor next Tuesday. So why is anyone spending time and money attacking him? Davis's attack is probably more understandable. In the current angry environment there may be enough votes out there to earn a libertarian party a guaranteed ballot line for the next state elections. Anti-Prohibition is arguably competing with the Libertarian Party for 50,000 gubernatorial votes, so Davis wants to prover herself more libertarian than Redlich. As for "People for a Safer New York," I have no idea who they support, but I have to assume that they, too, don't want the Libertarians to get that ballot line. It almost makes me want to vote for Redlich next week just to stick it to those jerks.