I knew that the ugliness of politics would eventually hit close to home. But what I did not envision is that it would come at the hands of fellow conservatives. If you follow Virginia politics, you’ve probably seen some mention in the last two days of a scuffle between US Senate candidate Jamie Radtke (also Richmond Tea Party’s prior president) and Erick Erickson of the conservative blog, RedState.
Earlier this year, Erickson had endorsed Jamie’s candidacy, noting:
“I have met George Allen a number of times, like him tremendously, but I have personally decided to support Jamie Radtke for the Senate. Once someone has been beaten, I tend to think we need not run them again for the same seat. Republicans have a habit of doing that and, at this time, I think we need some fresh faces.”
Erick Erickson — RedState.com
However, when another blog (not RedState) indicated that Erick Erickson had admitted that he needed to essentially temper his support for Jamie due to his bosses’ relationship with Jamie’s primary opponent (George Allen), Erickson launched a very personal (and potentially libelous) attack against Jamie, including charges that she was drunk when speaking at a conference earlier this year.
I realize that many of you know Jamie, and that you know that these claims against her (you can find them online, I won’t give it any daylight here) are ridiculous. So here we are, facing unbelievable economic and political adversity, and we have to focus on conservative in-fighting within the republican party. Its one thing to have differences in a chosen political course, but its something altogether different to cross the line into character assassination. What makes matters worse is that there were some other Virginia entities that are considered “partners” in furthering conservative principles that forwarded/shared these allegations with their group’s members without even checking with Jamie’s campaign for a statement (again, I’m too disgusted to expose them here…you can search online for details).
So I guess I’m not surprised…it was inevitable that Jamie would be attacked, as her plainly spoken, no-nonsense conservative vision is a threat to the status quo. What *did* surprise me is how quickly people who *know better* were to join the character assassination. Perhaps this is just my naïveté showing as a political novice, that this is what I should expect when a tea party patriot throws his/her hat in the ring to run for office. Lesson learned.
To see Jamie’s response to the attack piece, head on over to her campaign website for details, text copied below:
Erick Erickson Owes Jamie Radtke and the Tea Party an Apology
Aug 25, 2011
Yesterday, on the front page of Redstate.com, Erick Erickson lashed out and wrote a blog smearing Jamie Radtke with completely false attacks by publishing libelous pejoratives in hopes of damaging her reputation.
Erickson wrote his column in response to a report on another blog that he had told Radtke, “My bosses are HUGE [George] Allen friends, not just fans. They are socially connected. So I’m having to tread carefully in this.”
Erickson, after confirming that he had made the statement, wrote a vicious blog that defamed Jamie’s character.
“Erick’s blog goes beyond the pale,” Radtke stated. “He crossed the line by publishing complete falsehoods. Now, it is his responsibility to admit he did wrong, set the record straight and apologize – and that is what I am asking Erick to do.
“This kind of scurrilous behavior and treatment has been repeatedly carried out on tea party leaders and conservative candidates who dare challenge the good ‘ole boy Washington Establishment. This attempt by the Washington Establishment to destroy the tea party and their candidates must stop. Enough is enough.
“What is most important is that we focus our attention on beating a President and his liberal Democrat friends who want to fundamentally change America. I encourage the tea party to stay determined and committed to fight back against the negative narrative on us and let’s defeat Obama and his liberal cohorts.”
Carter Wrenn, chief strategist for Radtke’s campaign, stated that a formal letter from legal counsel had been sent to Erickson demanding a retraction. “To put it as bluntly as possible,” Wrenn said, “Erick Erickson made an untrue and malicious attack on Jamie Radtke yesterday and repeated it again today. He should retract his statement, admit it is untrue and apologize for his mistake.”