By now, the hideous rape mailer sent out by the Massachusetts Democratic Party in support of Martha Coakley has been called out by commentators on the right and left as one of the more heinous tactics in the tawdry annals of American politics.
Coakley has refused to disavow the mailing, and has kept up her false assertion that Brown wanted to prevent rape victims from getting treatment.
Now John Garvey, the Dean of Boston College Law School, has weighed in on Coakley’s tactics:
Political ads by nature are not sensitive to nuance. Coakley’s ad charges Brown with a lack of “understanding or seriousness” because he “favors letting hospitals deny emergency contraception to rape victims.” But suggesting that we protect the right of conscience does not show a lack of understanding or seriousness. It does not even show a lack of support for abortion – any more than it shows a lack of support for the armed forces to say that we should exempt Quakers. What both show is a decent respect for religious liberty, as admirable and American as [James Madison] the author of the First Amendment.
Win or lose, Martha Coakley’s legacy will be that she willingly abused the issue of rape for her own political gain.
Which means that Coakley loses no matter what.