Friday, August 18, 2006

Victimizing the victims

Politicians are often tempted to use crime victims for poliltical advantage. But it's a temptation they should resist.

Aside from being unseemly to use a victim or a victim's family that way, there is also the real possibility that it can backfire or blow up in your face.

That's what happened when Jeff Wagner put the grieving father of a young murder victim in a TV ad when he ran against Jim Doyle for attorney general, calling on Doyle to support the death penalty.

It may well be happening now to Paul Bucher, Waukesha County DA and attorney general wannabe. JS Politics Watch reports:
Family of slain agent wants ad halted

The family of state Justice Department agent John "Jay" Balchunas today called on the campaign of Republican attorney general candidate Paul Bucher to pull a radio ad that mentions Balchunas' 2004 murder.

Bucher, a Republican and the Waukesha district attorney, has made a campaign issue of a large backlog in cases at the state crime lab under incumbent Democratic Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager.

The letter asks that "attempts to use his murder for political purpose, including any advertisement or 'news brief' stop immediately.

"Any suggestion that the attorney general (Peg Lautenschlager) or the Department of Justice was in any way responsible for his death is outrageous. Please let our son rest in peace and respect his memory," the Balchunas family letter says.

The Bucher ad features voices of the parents of a rape victim accusing the department of "sitting" on DNA evidence from their daughter's rapist for six months. During that time the rapist, Anthony Bolden, went on to participate in Balchunas' killing, the ad states.

Greg Leifer, campaign spokesman for Lautenschlager, said her campaign sent a transcript of the Bucher ad to the Balchunas family, prompting today's letter.
UPDATE: Bucher backs off:
Bucher to modify radio spot
Republican attorney general candidate Paul Bucher today agreed to modify a radio campaign commercial to remove the name of a slain state Justice Department agent.

The family of slain agent John "Jay" Balchunas requested earlier today that Bucher not use Balchunas' murder for political purposes.

"Of course, we are going to modify the ad," Bucher, the Waukesha district attorney, said in an interview. "We are trying not to politicize Jays's death at all." He said he was "sensitive" to the family's concerns.
What about the other family, the rape victim's parents, who are in the commercial? Here's what the mother told the newspaper:
"(We) are not Republican or Democrat, we're just trying to get people to listen to our story," the mother said. "It's not that we think that (Bucher) is the best - he might be - but we're trying to stay neutral."
They may be "trying to stay neutral," but Bucher is crassly using them for his own political gain -- or what he thinks will be a gain. It could end up a net loss.


At 12:21 PM, Blogger J.J. said...

Leave it to Bucher to shoot himself in the foot while aiming at Peg (whose office I have to admit screwed up royally on this investigation).

Who in their right mind would mention a murdered officer by name in a political ad without first gaining written permission from the family? No wonder Bucher's lost so many cases.

At 12:48 PM, Blogger BoBoBloggerBoy said...

Will Jessica McBucher come out against this ad for it 'using' this poor dead officer the way she came to the defense of the poor mom of a diabetic child being "used" by Doyle in his ad?

Me thinketh not.

At 1:01 PM, Blogger BoBoBloggerBoy said...

"Of course, we are going to modify the ad," Bucher, the Waukesha district attorney, said in an interview. "We are trying not to politicize Jays's death at all."

Bullsheet Bucher.

He said he was "sensitive" to the family's concerns.

Like "BullDog" Bucher can ever be sensitive. hah.

At 12:21 AM, Blogger Michael J. Cheaney said...

Like "BullDog" Bucher can ever be sensitive. hah.

Because sensitive equals E. Michael Mcann -or in his case cannot or will not prosecute.

At 12:55 AM, Blogger XOut said...

Rare - but true.

Xoff is right on this one.

At 9:22 AM, Blogger goofticket said...

Don't vote for anyone who uses the dead to promote any political agenda.
It is sick and wrong.


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