Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Doolittle: Slimy from the Start

A history lesson from Steve Smith of the Idiotarian Savant:

It is no surprise to those of us who have followed his career from the outset that John Doolittle (R-CA) has been one of the Congressmen most caught up in the Abramoff imbroglio. To those of you who are just discovering what a frightening little man he is, here's a taste from the early days, when he was just a State Senator.

To summarize, back in 1984, his state senate district having been reapportioned into the ether by the legendary Phillip Burton, Doolittle moved into the district of a moderate Republican incumbent, Ron Johnson. Johnson, sensing the rightward shift of his party, decided to run as an independent, while the Democrats, significantly outnumbered in the district, put up (if that's the right word; the state party was unofficially backing Johnson, and the nominee barely campaigned) a sacrificial lamb.

Trailing in the last weeks of the campaign, Doolittle hit upon a cagey proposition. As the California Fair Political Practices Committee later put it:
Shortly before the election, Doolittle campaign consultant John Feliz coordinated the production of a mass mailer sent on behalf of Doolittle's Democratic opponent, Jack Hornsby. The consulting services of Feliz and a Doolittle fundraiser, Jim Grubbs, along with 60,000 mailing labels, were contributed by the Friends of John Doolittle Committee to the Friends of Jack Hornsby Committee. The mailer was sent to Democratic households as a tactic to bring Democratic candidate Hornsby into the three-way race with Doolittle and former state Senator Ray Johnson, thus pulling votes away from Johnson to Hornsby for the benefit of Doolittle.
Doolittle ended up winning the election by an eyelash, paid a token fine for his lack of ethics, and has slimed his way to bigger and better things ever since. As with the early career of Richard Nixon, whose campaigns against Jerry Voorhis and Helen Douglas portended even more egregious acts later in life, Doolittle's lack of anything that even remotely resembled an ethical core was evident from the start.

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