Well, I’m getting a whole lot more publicity today than I wanted. It turns out that Representative Jerry Weller not only accused Tari Renner of supporting drug legalization at last night’s debate because of my endorsement, but is also running ads and sending direct mail pieces slandering both Renner and myself.
Here are a few additional reports I found today:
The Sun Times:
Speaking of smears, Weller, in the closing days of the campaign, is running a radio ad and sending out a direct mail piece noting that Renner is endorsed on a Web site called “DrugwarRant.com” and implying that Renner is somehow aligned with a group promoting heroin use. The race is featured on the site, but Renner is not for what they are for and told me he never asked for their help. Said Renner, this is “as low as it’s gotten.”
I’m not a group and I don’t promote heroin use.
And the highlight was Renner blowing up over allegations he supports the use of all drugs including heroin. He called the attack scurrilous and said Weller stepped way over the line. Weller says Renner accepted a campaign donation from a website that also has directions on how to inject heroin.
I don’t even know how to inject heroin. And I don’t support the use of heroin. Never have. I do support changes in how we deal with it because our current policies are abject failures.
From WLS (ABC7 – Chicago)
Some endorsements are not worth it. Democrat Tari Renner says it shouldn’t be a crime to have a small amount of marijuana but he is rejecting an endorsement from a group that favors the legalization of all drugs. His opponent, republican congressman Jerry Weller, whose engagement to the daughter after Central American dictator has generated a controversy of its own, says that Renner’s views on drugs endanger families in the district, and so it goes in this hot congressional race.
Weller isn’t talking about Renner’s views on drugs. He’s exaggerating mine (and just making some up) and projecting them onto Renner, just because I think Renner is a better choice than Weller.
Neither Tari Renner nor his staff have contacted me, nor have they asked for my endorsement or acknowledged my endorsement. My endorsement was not based on any discussion with Tari Renner or his staff.
My endorsement was driven, in part, by my belief that Representative Weller is completely out of touch regarding federal priorities in drug policy. Jerry Weller has shown, through two specific votes (HR2799 on 23-Jul-2003 and HR4754 on 7-Jul-2004), that he feels our federal tax money should be spent harassing terminally ill patients in California who are following state law and their doctors’ recommendations regarding medical marijuana. He has also supported increased funding (with our tax money) for a drug eradication program in Colombia — a program even the Drug Czar’s office admits has not worked. Jerry Weller appears to base his drug policy decisions more on what his Indiana friend Representative Mark Souder wishes than what’s best for Central Illinois residents.
On the other hand, Tari Renner has stated in his National Political Awareness Test (NPAT) responses that he would support the following statements:
- Support mandatory jail sentences for selling illegal drugs. Mandatory jail sentences should be reserved for serious drug offenses.
- Expand federally sponsored drug education and drug treatment programs.
- Decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana.
- Allow doctors to prescribe marijuana to their patients for medicinal purposes.
- Increase border security to stop the flow of illegal drugs into the United States.
(Note that Jerry Weller refused to provide any information about any of the issues even though he was asked to do so by: Major news organizations and key national leaders of both parties including, John McCain, Republican Senator, Geraldine Ferraro, Former Democratic Congresswoman, Michael Dukakis, Former Democratic Governor, Bill Frenzel, Former Republican Congressman, Richard Kimball, Project Vote Smart President http://www.vote-smart.org/npat.php?can_id=CNIP0580 )
If Jerry Weller claims that Renner supports drug legalization or legalization of heroin, then Weller is lying. Also, if he claims that I promote heroin use, he is lying.
In addition, using drug legalization as a smear tactic is really unconscionable on the part of Weller, because it derails the possibility of real discussion of serious drug policy reform issues.
When Jerry Weller uses my endorsement of Tari Renner as an attack on Renner, he not only unfairly impugns Tari Renner, but also infers that it is somehow improper for me to want to have an open discussion on drug policy reform through my website.
Weller’s tactics are not only ugly, they are dishonest.
What perhaps should be asked is:
- What about Weller’s contributions from Pharmaceutical companies? How has that affected his views on medical marijuana?
- What about Weller’s connections (through his father-in-law) to drug traffickers and organized crime?
I live in the 11th district. And I care about my representation. I don’t make a cent from this web site (it costs me money). Out of my own pocket, I made a contribution to the candidate of my choice (I’m in debt, but I felt it was something I needed to do).
Today, I received a check from Tari Renner, returning my donation. It was like a slap in the face. It really hurt. Because of Weller’s slander, I am no longer welcome to take part in the political process.
I’m still voting on Tuesday, though. And it won’t be for Weller.
Update: I was interviewed on WJBC, along with some flunky from the Weller campaign who tried, unsuccessfully, to justify the lies in Weller’s ads. He used a guilt by association approach, that didn’t work – particularly when they started asking him about Guatemala.
He also tried to claim that Renner is out of the mainstream – a laughable idea since both candidates in the neighboring 15th district agree with Renner regarding medical marijuana. It’s Weller who’s out of the mainstream, out of the district, and frankly, out of the country much of the time.
I hope that Weller will pull the ads. I finally heard one while I was on hold, and it’s extremely offensive. And I’d like to issue a challenge: Now that Renner has returned my donation, how about Weller returning his donations from the pharmaceutical companies?