Arlen Specter wants to swiftboat Joe Sestak in the primary race for the Pennsylvania Senate seat. Specter is running ads taking shots at Admiral Sestak for not having a nice working environment while hunting terrorists. (Not really a place most of us want a “make-nice” environment.)
I was thinking about when pointing a finger four others point back at you. Is there anything in the finger pointing past of Senator Specter that may come back to haunt him? I started thinking about how an issue could create a Willie Horton Series of ads that could totally devastate Senator Specter Campaign. Since the Senator wants to dig stuff up about his opponent, why not go after the Senator’s past?
Karma is pretty funny when it uses irony. While Arlen Specter is ripping Joe Sestak for not being nice while killing terrorists; Arlen Specter has a pivotal role in letting a murderer go free.
The irony is most of us in the Philly area had forgotten about the Unicorn Murderer, Ira Einhorn. The calendar decided to step in with the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. Those of us with enough grey hair were reminded that Ira Einhorn was a local community activist who organized the first local iteration of Earth Day in Philadelphia.
We were also reminded that Einhorn is a convicted murderer. There is a blog eruption of folks writing about this guy – check your local Google (search for “ira einhorn arlen specter”) for all sorts of people talking about this.
What does this have to do with Specter and Willie Horton? Remember when Michael Dukakis was running for president and the Bush campaign effectively tagged him with Willie Horton. Horton was paroled by folks a few levels away from Dukakis. But Dukakis was Governor, so he got credit for the crime spree that Horton went on after parole.
Given those rules, Specter is much closer to the Einhorn issue and should be held just as responsible given his penchant for pointing fingers. In 1979, as Einhorn was busted Arlen Specter was the former Philly DA. Specter represented Einhorn and secured bail on this murder charge. Einhorn only had to put up $4,000 so that he could skip off to France. Makes you wonder what kind of strings did the Senator pull to get such a low bail (it should have been close to $100,000)?
You can look at the Time Magazine article by Steve Lopez (a long time Philly writer who also wrote "The Soloist") of this as well as countless books on the Unicorn Killer. The bottom line is that Specter’s bail maneuver created a legal morass that generated years of court decisions, civil lawsuits, Legislative actions in the Pennsylvania assembly, 2 convictions, and an international incident with the French Parliament. Just the money alone that was wasted in trying to get this guy back is astounding. Should Specter get credit for all heartaches and legal bills caused by his actions here?
I hope that in terms of fair play, since Specter is using the GOP Political Operations Handbook in a Democratic Primary, that the Sestak Campaign can take a few pages and show the rest of us how to stand up to a bully like Arlen Specter.
It would be cool to see some Willie Horton style ads. Ask the family of Holly Maddux, the girl Einhorn murdered, what they think of Arlen Specter’s agility at securing bail. These ads will have more power than the Willie Horton attack ads, because Specter ACTUALLY DID let a killer skip the country.