Here we go again, Republicans “targeting” Democrats with violent imagery. First it was the halfling governor of Alaska, the Quitta from Wasilla Sarah Palin, putting crosshairs on Rep. Gabby Giffords, among others, and now it is the Arizona Republican Party putting a bullet hole in Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick’s chest. Nothing suggestive there, oh no. What could possibly go wrong?
The Arizona Republic reports, Ann Kirkpatrick’s Senate campaign decries Arizona GOP ‘Wanted’ poster:
U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick’s Senate campaign is objecting to an Arizona Republican Party “Wanted” poster that features her photo with mock bullet holes.
(Photo: Arizona Republican Party)
Kirkpatrick’s campaign issued a statement calling it a “gross political attack” that recalls the Jan. 8, 2011, assassination attempt on then-U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., who suffered a near-fatal gunshot wound to the head in a mass shooting near Tucson.
“Arizonans have witnessed, firsthand, how inciteful rhetoric and imagery can influence acts of aggression and violence towards elected officials,” Arizona Democratic Party Chairwoman Alexis Tameron added in a written statement. “Today’s political stunt by the Arizona Republican Party illustrates not only a lack of judgment, but a complete disregard of the tragedy that traumatized so many Arizonans on January 8, 2011.”
The Old West-style “Wanted” poster, which was delivered Thursday to a Kirkpatrick campaign office, says “Absentee Ann Kirkpatrick” was last seen “running from constituents who want to hold her accountable.”
The poster also identifies Kirkpatrick, a three-term Flagstaff Democrat running against incumbent U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., as a “loyal Obama-Clinton Democrat.”
“Afraid that Arizonans won’t ‘want’ her in the U.S. Senate if they learn more about her record and positions, Ann Kirkpatrick has been hiding out,” Arizona Republican Party Chairman Robert Graham said in a statement about the poster. “Arizona voters with information on Ann Kirkpatrick’s whereabouts are urged to ask her if Obamacare is still her proudest vote. Please approach with caution, as Kirkpatrick has been known to flee voters when asked tough questions. Kirkpatrick’s known associates include President Obama and Hillary Clinton.”
Tameron called on Graham and McCain to apologize and to condemn what she called “a painful and tasteless political act that is unworthy of our politics.”
Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, said in a statement: “In a state and country that know the toll of gun violence too well, there is no room for invoking the use of firearms in our politics. Our political leaders have the responsibility to avoid a descent into messages that might suggest that elections are settled anywhere else than at the ballot box. We urge Arizonans of every political stripe to join us in asking the Arizona Republican Party to refrain from using this irresponsible imagery and to apologize.”
Max Croes, Kirkpatrick’s campaign manager, said the Arizona GOP is reflecting “the desperate and disgusting campaign John McCain and his allies have chosen to run.”
“There is absolutely no place for this disturbing imagery in Arizona politics,” Croes said in a statement. “Arizonans deserve better than a 33-year incumbent who would let these kind of disgusting tactics occur — but it’s just more proof that McCain has abandoned the principles he was once respected for in a desperate attempt to save his political career.”
Despite the complaints, state Republicans showed no sign of backing down.
“Ann Kirkpatrick has decided once again to make something out of nothing in order to avoid accountability for her record in Congress,” said Matt Specht, a state GOP spokesman. “She clearly doesn’t want to talk about her support for Obamacare and her failure to appear on the campaign trail.”
McCain’s re-election campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
Whoever is responsible for the poster and for approving it, including AZ GOP Chairman Robert Graham, needs to resign. Any “apology” would be insincere and wholly inadequate. The AZ GOP could easily have made the points it wanted to make without resorting to this violent imagery. There is simply no excuse.
And if John McCain hasn’t yet stepped up to denounce this poster and the people responsible for it, he needs to man up and do the right thing right now. Remember your “no ma’am” moment, Johnny, when you defended Barack Obama against the claim of one of your nutty supporters that he “is an Arab” in 2008? Where is that John McCain today? No honor, no decency, sir.
The Republic’s Laurie Roberts reminds us what happened the last time. Bullet holes on a Kirkpatrick attack piece?:
Apparently, GOP leaders learned nothing from Sarah Palin.
Maybe you remember her infamous cross hairs map in 2010, the one that targeted legislators who voted for Obamacare. “Don’t Retreat,” she tweeted, along with a picture of the map. “Instead – RELOAD”.
Among those in Palin’s gun sights was Gabby Giffords. [She also targeted Ann Kirkpatrick and Harry Mitchell.]
Ten months later, a crazy person shot Giffords and 19 others, killing six.
Fortunately, we in Arizona have no more crazy people, so hey no worries.
I suppose Kirkpatrick should count herself lucky. At least the GOP didn’t put one of those bullet holes between her eyes.
Sarcasm is not going to cut it.