You would think that with the economy tanking, 48 million Americans without health insurance and the Iraq war that Republicans would be offering solutions to the problems we face not trafficking in smears and diversionary tactics. And, you would be wrong. The Republican Party in Minnesota is now using its well-honed negative attack machine to go after Ashwin Madia, a Iraq war veteran who is running for Congress in the third congressional district.
Erik Paulson, the Republican candidate, can't compete with Madia on the issues, so he and the state GOP are doing what they do best:
While Republican Party representatives took heat this week for claiming in fliers that DFL candidate Ashwin Madia had the "wrong demographics" to serve the people of the 3rd Congressional District, they got off lightly with respect to the not-so-veiled undercurrent in their attack on Madia's "lifestyle." By larding in mentions of Madia's household (he's a renter, not an owner) and his hobbies (he's not a soccer coach), the tacit insinuation that Madia must be gay is made easier to politely ignore. But it appears to be the real payload behind GOP efforts to point out Madia's purported, um, difference from the stolid homesteaders of the 3rd District.
Yup, it is another attempt by Republicans to use anti-gay innuendo as a way to distract from the reality that they do not have a political agenda that appeals to voters outside of their right-wing evangelical base.
For the record, Madia is not gay. He is a 30 year old who has served his country honorably as a Marine and is now campaigning to continue that service in Congress. He has also stated clearly his support for LGBT civil rights. He is not someone who deserves the Rovian smear job that has become par for the course for the Republican Party.
He is the kind of smart and pragmatic leader we need in Congress to help solved the multitude of challenges that our country is facing. That's why a few weeks ago Bil Browning, Bilerico alumni Lane Hudson and I served on the host committee for an event in Washington, DC benefiting Madia.
While Paulsen evades the issues that voter's care about and continues baseless, negative attacks, Madia has articulated a strong positive vision for moving the country forward.
Paulsen may feel at home with the negative and hyper-partisan approach of George Bush, John McCain and Karl Rove, but the rest of us know that it is time for the kind of serious political change that Ashwin Madia is proposing.