Negative campaign ads will be with us from now until after the November election, but the television commercial Minnesota's Democratic-Farmer-Labor party is airing now, suggesting that Gov. Pawlenty stood by and watched as the state irresponsibly released sex offenders into the general population, hits too far below the belt to go without comment.
The current ad is particularly irresponsible because it comes at a time when Minnesota is trying to develop a policy for dealing effectively with sex offenders. Trying to portray Pawlenty as uncaring about the issue is not only a lie, it clouds an issue we should be looking at in careful, reasoned ways.
The DFL ad is a calculated appeal to emotions, and as such it's even more reprehensible than Pawlenty's emotional call for the death penalty at the height of the search for North Dakota University student Dru Sjodin last fall. The question of what to do with sex offenders is complicated, and it's inherently emotional. That's why the policy debate needs to take place on the most reasonable plane possible.
But the DFL ad isn't meant to contribute to the debate. It's meant for political gain. The commercial begins with a close-up of Pawlenty's eyes, then pans out to show his face. "Are these eyes looking out for us?" says a deep voice. "No, these eyes just watched as administrative bungling and the wrong budget priorities let rapists and sexual predators back on the streets."
It's safe to say that everyone in government, in both parties, wants to protect our state from sex offenders. To portray the governor as uncaring is not only dirty politics, it politicizes an issue that shouldn't be about politics.
-- Faribault Daily News
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