Is the GWC ad about David Prosser the worst judicial campaign ad ever? Is it worse than the Gableman campaign's ad about Rueben Mitchell?
Well, it seems to raise many of the same issues. The ad may be literally true (Prosser did not prosecute) but it implies that he failed to do so because he wanted to help the Catholic Church cover up the offending priest's activities.
This, it turns out, is not true. One of the victims has now come forward and told us that the matter was not prosecuted because of concern for the victims. He appears to believe that this was the right decision based on the information available to Prosser at the time. The other victim (his brother) apparently agrees. The truth or falsity of an ad's implicit message was an issue with the Mitchell ad as well.
The ad also arguably misstates the role of a prosecutor which is not to charge every case that is brought to him. He or she should consider the emotional toll on the victim, the nature of the available evidence and the probability of future harm. That Prosser made the right - or at least a reasonable - call - at the time based on the information available to him - is reflected in the victim's statement of support. He has said that the ad is "offensive" and "inaccurate" and takes what happened "out of context." He has objected to being used as a "political tool."
Of course, the ad was prepared by the always nasty GWC and not the Kloppenburg campaign. Why it went forward - whether out of incompetence or cynicism - is a topic for another post. She can't coordinate with them and they don't have to pull the ad simply because she asks them to pull it.
But she still should have called upon them to pull it. To say, as she did, that they have the right to free speech is a non sequitur. Of course, they do. But that doesn't mean that the ad ought to have been run. That doesn't require the rest of us to be nonjudgmental about it.
For those of you who recall that there were some nasty ads exploiting awful cases in 2008, so do I. I recall, for example, criticizing an ad (run against Louis Butler) that showed a crime scene photo of a murdered young women even though (as far as I know) her family never objected.
Even if Ms. Kloppenburg did not want to ask the GWC to pull the ad, she might have condemned it as I and other conservatives condemned the Mitchell ad. We all get pushed out of our comfort zone in hard fought political campaigns. But to remain silent as an abuse victim is exploited and objects to that exploitation is disappointing.