Friday, July 1, 2011

John Lynch’s Willie Horton

October 1, 2010 by Amelia Chasse  
Filed under HP_Featured, News & Politics

Campaign ads exposing the crimes that had been committed as a result of Gov. Michael Dukakis’s inmate furlough program became the final nail in the coffin for his presidential bid in 1988. Because every good ad campaign needs a spokesperson, prisoner Willie Horton was introduced to Americans as the inmate who had raped and murdered a young couple while on furlough.

Could history be repeating itself this election cycle, with John Lynch in the Dukakis role? First, Americans for Prosperity launched an ad highlighting a bill Lynch signed into law that mandates shortened sentences for parole violators, leading to “sexual predators now being release in New Hampshire communities.” The ad is damaging, but it needed a Willie Horton character to give the allegation teeth.

Gov. Lynch, meet Michael Seibel. He’s the three-time sex offender who violated his parole by molesting an underage girl at his pregnant teenage girlfriend’s baby shower. Under the new law, Seibel will only have to serve 90 days of jail time for his parole violation, where he formerly would have served five years. The Conway Daily Sun carried a story today that laid out all the sordid details of Seibel’s past offenses, including heartfelt quotes from the parents of a young girl he recently stalked.

If the AFP or John Stephen is smart, they will make Michael Seibel the poster boy for Lynch’s agenda. With heartstring-pulling family members and regretful state legislators speaking out against the new law, this could be a rare example of a race that is won or lost due to a single, specific policy issue.

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