PA-15: Is Charlie Dent a Misguided, Un-American, Bigoted Racist? According to his own Logic and that of the ADL, the Answer is Probably "Yes"

In Pennsylvania's 15th congressional district, incumbent Republican Charlie Dent is growing ever more desperate, and apparently ever more hysterical, in his attempts to keep independent Jake Towne out of any and all debates. Jon Geeting has been following the story in detail at the Lehigh Valley Independent blog. On Sunday Geeting reported:
Charlie Dent really does not want to debate Jake Towne. On Friday, he worried that voters wouldn't be able to focus on the contrast between him and [Democratic challenger] John Callahan, and there just wasn't enough time. Since that "problem" would easily be solved by agreeing to more debates, it looks like they had to switch to the even more preposterous claim that John Callahan would somehow be able to hide behind Jake Towne in the debate. I'm still trying to understand what that even means. But now Dent thinks he has the ultimate excuse to chicken out of the debates - Jake Towne's choice of bands.
Over the weekend, Dent announced that he would not take part in any forum that included Towne, and demanded that his Democratic rival do the same, on the grounds that one of the numerous bands slated to play at a Towne campaign event celebrating their successful ballot access petition drive has been deemed "extremist" by the Anti-Defamation League. The Morning Call reports:

A day after Dent said that he was unlikely to join a debate that included independent Towne, his campaign manager, Shawn Millan, said Dent had toughened his stance after hearing of Towne's plan to allow controversial Allentown band Poker Face perform at a fundraiser Friday.

In a written statement Saturday, Dent said the band has been "deemed to be anti-Semitic by the Anti Defamation League." Poker Face is one of five bands that will play at Towne's "freedom concert" Friday. . . .

In the statement, Dent also said, he is "demanding" Callahan boycott any debate for the 15th District seat that includes Towne.

"I'm calling on John Callahan to put aside politics and do the decent thing," Dent said. "Don't give a public platform to someone enmeshed in ideas of anger, violence, anarchy and bigotry."

Simply put, the Dent campaign alleges that Towne is an anti-Semite, a bigot and an anarchist based on a loose association with a popular local rock band that has made controversial statements and been deemed politically incorrect by the Anti-Defamation League. I had never heard of the band before and so cannot speak to these allegations. The ADL report can be read here. Apparently, Poker Face appeared on the group's radar when it was revealed that one of their songs was used in a video made by members of the Hutaree militia group. The band has denied the allegations and provided lengthy responses to the accusations at their website. For his part, Towne released a statement vehemently denying Dent's racially loaded smears:

I am not an anti-Semite, nor have I ever held anti-Semitic views. I condemn any and all racial and religious discrimination. A free and open society that staunchly defends individual rights is the only type of society that can eliminate racial bigotry. . . . The views of any the five bands present at the Freedom Concert are not necessarily the views of Towne for Congress. If any of the bands were believed to be anti-Semites, they would not have been invited to play at the concert.
In a separate statement, Towne went on the attack, listing Charlie Dent's criminal history as a member of the House of Representatives

Dent and the rest of Congress violate their constitutional oaths on a daily basis. Dent supports three unconstitutional wars abroad. He votes for corporatist bailouts for bankers and mortgage lenders alike. He supports unconstitutional wiretapping without warrants, revoking habeas corpus, torture of “enemy combatants,” and much more by his unflagging support of the PATRIOT Act. He wants to strip American civilians living in foreign countries of their citizenship and murder them without trial or due process.
With regard to domestic policy, Dent is moreover a staunch supporter of the new anti-immigration bill signed into law in Arizona. In a press release yesterday, Dent condemned the Justice Department's lawsuit against the state:
Dent sent a letter . . . to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano and Department of State Secretary Hillary Clinton explaining his disappointment in the Administration's troubling approach to addressing illegal immigration. Dent expresses frustration over the federal government’s lawsuit against Arizona . . .
Politico quoted Dent stating:
“I absolutely find it incomprehensible that the Department of Justice could be suing the state of Arizona on this issue of enforcing federal immigration law,” Dent said.
At the very top of his "Endorsements" page, Dent lists the Honorable Pat Toomey. Toomey is also an outspoken proponent of Arizona's anti-immigration law, as Dan Hirschhorn has reported at PA2010. On this issue, Dent and Toomey do not have the Anti-Defamation League on their side. Abraham Foxman, the National Director of the Anti-Defamation League states flat out:
Let's be clear: Arizona's new law is misguided, bigoted, biased and flies in the face of the Constitution and federal immigration law. It is un-American and must be challenged at every opportunity.
Given that Dent slandered Towne as an anti-Semite based on an ADL assessment of statements made by other individuals, what are we to make of Dent's own position in this regard? Ironically, according to Charlie Dent's own measuring stick, namely the ADL, his position in support of Arizona's immigration law reveals him to be nothing more than a misguided, un-American, bigoted racist. Maybe Jake Towne and John Callahan should boycott all events in which the incumbent Republican is allowed to participate. Or maybe we should simply demand that candidates for public office not stoop to the lowest levels of public discourse, mudslinging and character assassination, so as to avoid having to defend their own views in a civilized public debate.


Unknown said...

d.eris thanks for leading me to the article. And the author is right this isn't a racism thing its an attack on a third option. I know Jake to be good guy and stand behind 100%!

dood said...

Excellent article!