During the 2008 election, John McCain came across a character defining moment that would be the highlight of his campaign. He was confronted by an elderly lady who questioned Barack Obama’s religion. She said “I read about [Obama] and he is an Arab, not a Christian,” and in that moment he through the right winged “Obama is a terrorist” propaganda out the window. Senator McCain took the high road and said: “No mam, he is a decent, family man, citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues. That is what this campaign is about.”
Moving forward to this election cycle, Mike Fitzpatrick, from Pennsylvania’s 8th Congressional District, has ventured into his own “McCain Moment” when the National Republican Campaign Committee stooped to the lowest of the low. They are attacking his Democratic opponent, Kathy Boockvar, by plastering her picture – with the phrase “Radical Kathy” – on a menacing superimposed picture of Mumia Abu-Jamal, the convicted cop-killer who is in prison for murdering Daniel Faulkner. To spark racial tensions in this community, the NRCC were conducting a robo-call internet campaigns to slander “Radical Kathy,” the candidate who sympathizes with “the cop killer,” or better yet “that black guy.” Mike Fitzpatrick is at a crossroads; he can either denounce the attacks as something extremely ridiculous and as a fishing expedition or he can endorse the attacks by not saying a word.
The campaign the NRCC is running against Kathy Boockvar includes a Tumblr site, – RadicalKathy.com – which includes pictures of “Occupy Wall Street” activists, Black Bloc members, and rioting youth that enjoy wielding Molotov cocktails – an internet poster campaign that has dedicated 95% of the space to Mumia Abu-Jamal and a small corner dedicated to Mrs. Boockvar, and a series of robo-calls that have been going on throughout Bucks County. Transcription of the robo-call campaign reads as:
Hello, I’m calling from the National Republican Congressional Committee at 320 First Street Southeast, in Washington, DC, 20003, 202-479-7000, with a recorded message about congressional candidate and legal activist Kathy Boockvar and convicted Philadelphia cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal.
The husband-and-wife law firm of Boockvar and Yeager has represented one of the leading activists for Mumia Abu-Jamal – and Boockvar’s husband was a lawyer for a witness to the murder who accused the cops of pressuring her.
Boockvar’s husband himself accused the Philadelphia police of intimidating witnesses to the murder.
Boockvar’s colleague at a legal activist group accused the Philadelphia police union of having the state’s Supreme Court in its pocket when it comes to Abu-Jamal.
Last year, a group tied to Boockvar’s husband, held an event at the Constitution Center honoring Mumia Abu-Jamal. The cop killer called into the event from prison.
Call Kathy Boockvar at (215) 839-9383 and tell her that’s too radical for Bucks County.
So what exactly is the “connection” between Kathy Boockvar and Mumia? The connection lies with her husband, Jordan Yeagar, who is a prominent Philadelphia lawyer. As Politics PA pointed out, in 1996, Jordan Yeager was the lawyer for Veronica Jones, a witness who testified against Mumia Abu-Jamal in his 1982 trial. In 1996, Mrs. Jones recanted her statement, claiming she was pressured by police. To make an example of how ridiculous this “guilty by association” theme, Wendell Young – President of United Food and Commercial Workers 1776 – released a letter explaining how Mike Fitzpatrick could be “guilty by association” with his local Catholic priests.
In the letter – published for the first time here by the Raging Chicken Press and distributed to those who attended last weekend’s Bucks County Labor Breakfast – Wendell Young (hypothetically) makes a really good point. Since Mike Fitzpatrick is a Catholic who goes to church every Sunday and throws money into the collection baskets, Mr. Fitzpatrick is as complicit in funding pedophile priests as Mrs. Boockvar is as complicit as supporting a cop killer. Mr. Young goes on to explain his logic:
“Fitzpatrick has launched a despicable campaign saying that 13 years ago, Boockvar’s husband represented a 75-year-old woman who was a literary agent for Mumia Abu-Jamal, convicted 30 years ago for killing a Philadelphia policeman. He also represented a witness in the case in which Abu-Jamal was convicted.
According to The Inquirer, the federal prosecutor said the case against the woman literary agent was “almost like a traffic ticket,” and that it “focused only on (her) protest, not on Abu-Jamal’s crimes.” The paper also reported that Boockvar has never met Abu-Jamal. In fact, Boockvar was a teenager when Mumia killed the policeman.
So what did Mike Fitzpatrick and his cronies at the National Republican Campaign Committee (NRCC) do? They created lie-filled telephone calls and internet ads featuring a huge, scary looking photo of Abu-Jamal with a photo-shopped image of Boockvar, asking ”WHAT’S KATHY BOOCKVAR’S CONNECTION TO CONVICTED PHILLY COP KILLER MUMIA ABU-JAMAL?”
The answer, of course, is NOTHING. I guess that Fitzpatrick and the RNCC are just asking (emphasis included in original context)”
The only reasoning for Mike Fitzpatrick to take this route is out of desperation. Mike Fitzpatrick out of touch with his electorate, he stands with Romney and Ryan on rolling back Social Security, Obamacare – which he voted 30 plus times in the past 2 years to repeal Obamacare – and he stands with Romney on the “47%.” A couple of days before this “Willie Horton-esque” campaign was launched, Mike Fitzpatrick made a gaffe regarding “who” we should actually stand up for. According to Fitzpatrick, we should stand up for the “risk taker,” or the “people who signs the front of your paycheck.” Considering there aren’t many people who sign the front of paychecks anymore – metaphorically speaking since most paychecks are automated – it isn’t too hard to figure who he stands with, and it ain’t the working class people struggling in this economy.
Mr. Young ended his letter with a nice little rhetorical question for Mike Fitzpatrick to think about: “What’s Mike Fitzpatrick’s connection to convicted Catholic Priest child molesters?’” The answer is as easy as answering what’s the connections between Kathy Boockvar and Mumia Abu-Jamal, it’s nothing. This past weekend, Mike Fitzpatrick wanted to make a non-scheduled campaign stop at the Bucks County Labor Breakfast. The attendees of the meeting had the UFCW’s letters distributed to the local union members who attended the meeting, and before Fitzpatrick made it into the building, he was confronted by Wendell Young. According to Mr. Young, they had a serious conversation about what this racist NRCC attack campaign stood for, and that Congressman Fitzpatrick was worried that those attending the breakfast were had the “Mumia stunt” on their minds. During their conversation, Wendell Young said he brought up that moment that defined John McCain’s character, when he was asked if “Obama is an Arab,” – the blatant racist rhetoric the whole entire spectrum of the right was throwing around during the 2008 campaign. When asked if Fitzpatrick would have his “McCain Moment,” and denounce the Mumia Abu-Jamal smear attack as a racist attempt to gain voters, the Congressman turned his back – like he has to so many of his working class constituents,- walked to his car and drove off.
Sean Kitchen is Assistant Editor/Social Media Organizer for Raging Chicken Press. He is a student at Kutztown University.
I am an senior Environmental Science Major at Kutztown University and currently an intern with a state union in Harrisburg. I dedicate my free time to writing and grassroots activism. You can find my twitter address is @RCPress_Sean so send me a tweet!