SLIME MACHINE: Republican Party brands Democratic candidate crooked based on dishonest descriptions of her record.


Donald Trump
-style demeaning nicknames have become the new normal in politics and not just in the U.S., but also in Arkansas. It is not a moment for celebration.

Here’s the New York Times on the rising use of demeaning terms for opposing political candidates — there’s “Crooked Claire,” “Corrupt Chris,” “Phony Phil” and “Two-Faced Tammy.” All these are Republican labels for Democrats, I should add.

And now in Arkansas, the Arkansas Republican Party has adopted the tactic, branding Celeste Williams, a Democratic candidate for House District 95 from Bella Vista, as “crooked Celeste” in a nasty attack mailer. The link to KFSM explains at length the flaws in the advertising. Her opponent, Republican Rep. Austin McCollum, ducked responding. (Shame, perhaps? Too much to wish for.)

Crooked? Williams, a nurse, is described as a friend of Hillary Clinton. (She’s never met her.) She’s described as an opponent of tax cuts. (This is based on a partial clip of a quote in which she objected to a tax cut for the wealhy.) She’s described as a supporter of a health care plan that would bankrupt the country. (She supports the Medicaid expansion in Arkansas championed by Republican governor Asa Hutchinson.)

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How low can Doyle Webb, chair of the Arkansas Republican Party go? Pretty low if his own personal record is an indication. Celeste Williams is crooked in Webb’s view, but Republican state Rep. Mickey Gates of Hot Springs, accused of years of felonious cheating on his taxes, is good to go for another term in the legislature.

Williams has responded with class to the attack mailer. Sad to say, if recent polling is any indication (rising approval for Trump in Arkansas), classy doesn’t appear to be a winning strategy.


Speaking of the Trumpification of America: Here’s news of the arrest of a man who groped a woman he didn’t know on a  Southwest airline flight.

Federal prosecutors allege that the hand belonged to 49-year-old Bruce Michael Alexander from Tampa, another passenger on the Southwest Airlines flight, who reportedly told authorities after being arrested Sunday that “the President of the United States says it’s ok to grab women by their private parts,” according to a criminal complaint.