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The Long Shadow of Willie Horton

Discussion in 'Political Discussion' started by Wolfpack, Oct 18, 2009.

  1. Wolfpack

    Wolfpack Banned

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    Interesting cover story in the Globe Magazine today about the legacy of Willie Horton, and how his case has reduced commutations and pardons in most states, especially in the Commonwealth.

    I seem to remember a lot of criticism of George Bush for bringing up this issue in the 1988 campaign against Michael Dukakis. People forget that Dukakis vetoed legislation denying furloughs to felons with life sentences. After all, who could ever imagine that a guy in prison for life (without possibility of parole) might actually decide not to return to the jailhouse after one such weekend?

    If that isn't a legitimate campaign issue, then I don't know what is.

    The Long Shadow of Willie Horton - The Boston Globe
  2. IcyPatriot

    IcyPatriot ------------- PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #87 Jersey

    Good post ... there's never enough money spent on keeping society safe. The longer these people are kept locked up the better. you committ the crime you give up your rights to live in a free society ... end of story. So what if you rot and die in the can ... like anyone should care.
  3. Patsfanin Philly

    Patsfanin Philly Rookie

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    #95 Jersey

    Wasn't it Al Gore who first raised the specter of Willie Horton during the Democratic primary that year?????
    RealClearPolitics - Articles - Could Obama Be Another Dukakis?
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2009
  4. Patters

    Patters Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    The issue with Willie Horton was it was used by the Republicans to play the race card; the furlough aspects was merely a the transparent rationale used by the Republicans.

    After the racist Reagan era, Lee Atwater (the Karl Rove of his day) made his death bed apology:

    Lee Atwater's sorrow for the road taken | The San Diego Union-Tribune

    TUCKER (12/3/00): Bush ought to know better. He should have learned from the late Lee Atwater, a South Carolinian who used scorched-earth tactics to win the presidency for the governor's father, George Bush. In a death-bed confessional written for Life magazine, Atwater, who died of cancer in 1991, spoke with deep regret of the bitter war he waged against Michael Dukakis, the Democratic nominee.

    Daily Howler: The second time Willie Horton was used, Bob Herbert kept his trap shut

    In a death-bed confessional written for Life magazine, Atwater, who died of cancer in 1991, spoke with deep regret of the bitter war he waged against Michael Dukakis, the Democratic nominee.

    "In 1988, fighting Dukakis, I said that I 'would strip the bark off the little bastard' and 'make Willie Horton his running mate.' I am sorry for both statements: the first for its naked cruelty, the second because it makes me sound racist, which I am not.
  5. Wolfpack

    Wolfpack Banned

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    How was it racist? Please tell me you don't think it was racist just because Horton happened to be black.
  6. Patters

    Patters Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    The ad was considered racist by many, and even the Bush people distanced themselves from it. It played on the stereotyped fear of a black man raping a white woman. It was directed towards a furlough program introduced, not by Dukakis, but by his Republican predecessor. Let's remember that the Republican Party had a blatantly racist Southern strategy under Reagan. (Reagan started his campaign in Philadelphia, MS, known only as a place where civil rights workers were murdered, and preached States rights there, which at the time was code for segregation.) So, it's no wonder that blacks (and many others) felt the Republicans were playing the race card with that ad. Of course, many white conservatives claimed to believe the ad was fair and had nothing to do with race.
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2009
  7. Harry Boy

    Harry Boy Look Up, It's Amazing PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Willie Horton was a dangerous dirty animal bastard, that creepy little smirking weasel Dukakis in all of his slopping slobbering do-gooding moonbeam liberal sh!t let him out to go to a cookout and said '"now you be a good little boy and come right home before dark" we all know what the savage bastard did.

    They would have used that Ad no matter who it was but it just so happened that Horton was Black so immediately the Left Wing Liberals were all over it with "Their Race Card Garbage" the left wing loves "the race thing" it is their greatest weapon, they scour the news dailey hoping to see a little "Racism" somewhere, we have one guy roght on this forum who is the master of "seeing racism in the white mother f-ckers closet"
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2009
  8. Wolfpack

    Wolfpack Banned

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    And I am asking you: How was it racist? Other than the fact that the criminal happened to be a black man.
    You're either being deliberately misleading here, or you just don't know what you are talking about. The furlough program put in by Sargent was not intended to extend to first degree murderers. The MA SJC, in their infinite wisdom, ruled that it applied to murderers as well.

    As I said in my original post "People forget that Dukakis vetoed legislation denying furloughs to felons with life sentences." The fact is that the Massachusetts State Legislature, which is not exactly a Conservative think tank, passed legislation to amend the furlough program back to what was originally intended so that convicted felons with life sentences would not be eligible.

    Mike Dukakis vetoed that legislation.
    Just because he was black does not mean it was about race. People like you see race in every single little thing. But mainstream America most certainly does not.
  9. Patters

    Patters Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    You be the judge:

    YouTube - Willie Horton 1988 Attack Ad

    Modern day racism is a bit more subtle than the racism of old. What would you consider racist? How would someone from your culture need to be portrayed to make you think that an ad was generalizing about your people, not just a particular person? Who do you think knows better what is offensive to you? People who are of your culture or people who are from a different culture?

    As I said, "The issue with Willie Horton was it was used by the Republicans to play the race card; the furlough aspect was merely a the transparent rationale used by the Republicans." There were other ads that addressed the issue more fairly.

    Do you support a furlough program for people who kill out of reckless anger, pedophiles, first murderers who plea down the charges, and others who are likely to be punished for something less than first degree murder, or are you using a technicality, like the Republicans did, to cast special judgment on Mike Dukakis?
  10. Wolfpack

    Wolfpack Banned

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    Thank you for letting me be the judge and, in my judgement, there is nothing racist in that ad. The simple fact that Horton happens to be black does not make it racist.
    How is that ad offensive to black people? Again, the entire thesis of your argument seems to be (paraphrasing) "the ad is racist because Horton is black." I see nothing in that ad which stereotypes people or is offensive to any culture.
    I think a furlough program for non-violent offenders who are within, say, 1 or 2 years of re-entering society is a good idea. I do not consider any of those examples you gave to be non-violent offenders.

    There is no "technicality" at issue here. The Massachusetts Legislature passed a bill preventing furloughs to convicted felons in jail for life without possibility of parole. Mike Dukakis vetoed that legislation. That is not a technicality - that is a very serious and deliberate action that deserves to be mentioned when debating whether or not he would be a good President.

    Do you think it is a good idea to allow a felon in jail for life without parole a chance to go on a weekend furlough?
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2009
  11. alvinnf

    alvinnf Rookie

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    I think we should grant more pardons , all while being swifter with our use of capital punishment.
  12. Patters

    Patters Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    The technicality is that the the Republicans chose to parse the issue so that it was only about furloughs for first degree murderers. This was absurd, since many states offered furlough programs for equally bad criminals who either plea-bargained or were guilty of technically lesser crimes, such as child abuse. In the ad, the Republicans chose to use a scary looking photo of Horton, what was felt by some to be a stereotype of the dangerous black man, and use him as a symbol of the sort of man that would be released on society if Dukakis was president. In addition, I believe the ad was run most often in southern states where the race issue resonates differently than in the north.

    I'm not against rehabilitation programs for violent prisoners, but it must be done with great care. For instance, if a criminal tortured and murdered people who abused him at a young age, I would at least consider giving him a second chance after a long sentence. If a criminal committed an act of violence as a result of delusions created by prescription or even illegal drugs, I would consider the possibility that this person could re-enter society at some point.
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2009
  13. Wolfpack

    Wolfpack Banned

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    And if the governors of those states were running for President, I woudl have considered it an euqally valid campaign issue.
    A "scary looking photo" of a man who viciously murdered an innocent person? That's really what you are going with to demonstrate that it is racist? The fact that they used a "scary looking photo"?

    You're just looking for something that isn't there, but instead seeing what you want to see. You want to believe Republicans are racists so you see racism where none exists.
    OK, now let me please ask the same question again since you didn't answer it. Do you think it is a good idea to allow a felon in jail for life without parole a chance to go on a weekend furlough?
  14. Patters

    Patters Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I understand that, but the issue was parsed in a way to isolate Dukakis without bringing any Republican governors into the issue.

    The Harvard Crimson :: Opinion :: Assault on Furloughs

    "In defense of Dukakis, sympathetic pundits point out that the Massachusetts furlough program was instituted under Dukakis' predecessor, Republican Ed King, and that California had an almost identical program under then-Governor Ronald Reagan. They remind voters that as Vice President, Bush never objected to the furlough program for federal prisoners, even when a convicted murderer raped a woman in Arizona while on a weekend furlough."

    The Republican Party's Southern strategy was well known and is heavily documented. They were not and are not trusted by blacks. Who would better know the face of racism than those who have been victims of it? Just as some veterans think liberals are anti-veteran, just as some religious folk think that liberals are anti-Chrisitianity, just as some gays think that conservatives are anti-gay, etc., it's a matter of perception.

    I believe there is considerable racism among Republicans, largely because Republicans chose to recruit them in order to win the south. It's something they've actually been doing since at least Nixon, after the Democrats under JFK/LBJ bravely chose to reject the racist wing of the Party. I tend to trust the victims of discrimination when it comes to issue like prejudice. In fact, in this forum, some of the conservative members have sensitized me to religious and anti-veteran prejudice.

    You missed my answer: I'm not against rehabilitation programs for violent prisoners, but it must be done with great care. For instance, if a criminal tortured and murdered people who abused him at a young age, I would at least consider giving him a second chance after a long sentence. If a criminal committed an act of violence as a result of delusions created by prescription or even illegal drugs, I would consider the possibility that this person could re-enter society at some point. (In a furlough, a prisoner re-enters society on a trial basis.)
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2009

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