Monday, October 23, 2006

Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline drop kicks his moral compass

By Diane Silver

The darling of Kansas' Religious Right -- Attorney General Phill Kline -- seems to have totally lost his way, particularly in the area of morality.

I say that because I have always thought that one of the Ten Commandments is "you shall not bear false witness against your neighbor." Apparently, Kline stayed home from Sunday School the day that was taught.

Kline's latest is a TV ad using an actor to portray his Democratic opponent Paul Morrison as speaking words Morrison says he never uttered.

The ad never states this is a dramatization or that Morrison disputes the wording or that the words are from two sexual harassment cases (from the same woman) that were either dismissed for lack of evidence or dropped. And despite what Kline claims, neither case was settled. That word comes from the attorneys who represented the woman who made the charges. The woman who filed the complaints is Kelly Summerlin, who worked as the victims-witnesses coordinator in the district attorney's office.

AP reports:
The ad is unusual for having an actor portray an opposing candidate, without telling viewers they're hearing a dramatization. The actor does not appear on screen but reads the statements attributed to Morrison in a voice-over.

"As someone who's seen a lot of Kansas political ads, that's a jaw dropper," said Bob Beatty, a Washburn University political scientist. "That's the kind of ad where the people sitting around planning the ad have to pause and say, 'Are we going to run this?'"

The ad also has an unusual ending: "To be continued" appears on screen.

Not surprisingly, this ad is appearing as Kline's poll numbers are dropping among women, and as the state's only woman attorney general -- a Republican -- has endorsed Morrison, not to mention all the church fundraising that at least one group has said should be investigated.

Let me be clear: If Morrison is guilty of sexual harassment, I'd take that very seriously and would have to rethink my support of the Democrat.

However, in the 15 years since this allegation was made, it has never been proven. No other incidents of this sort have even been hinted at and, most tellingly, Kline's campaign hasn't come up with one shred of evidence that this incident actually happened. I suspect that if Kline could make this case against his opponent he would.

What's sad here is that Kline seems to be so desperate to win that he's turning his back on what he has claims is his steadfast sense of morality.

"To be continued..." says the ad. Isn't it time for Kansans to say this has continued long enough?

1 comment:


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