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Friday, November 12, 2010

Leslee Unruh Condemns Espenscheid's Political Dirty Tricks

I just had my first conversation with Leslee Unruh of the Abstinence Clearinghouse. I've had hard words for the anti-abortion crusader here on the blog. Heck, I even parodied her—à la Fey-on-Palin, using her own words—in a one-act play. So speaking directly to her—that same voice from the news, right here, on my phone, in my living room—carries a certain frisson.

Unruh called me this morning at my request because of a comment that she left on the KELO branch of the Madville Times. I actually wasn't sure if the comment was from her: the comment was only signed "Leslee," but it included an Abstinence Clearinghouse e-mail address. The comment was caught in the spam filter. I thus e-mailed the Abstinence Clearinghouse to confirm authorship of the comment before hitting "Publish." Unruh confirmed that, yes, she wrote that comment.

Unruh commented in response to my post last week on the last-minute attack ad circulated around District 15 by Christina Dena Espenscheid and her sham "District 15 PAC." Espenscheid pretended to be an ultra-liberal group supporting incumbent Democratic State Rep. Martha Vanderlinde, when in fact Espenscheid was trying to drive votes for ultimately victorious "Independent" challenger Jenna Haggar. I also implied that Espenscheid's political dirty tricks were connected to Leslee Unruh's abstinence/anti-abortion organization.

Leslee Unruh responded online thus:

I find the underlying attack on Martha Vanderlinde was despicable. The person who did it did not consult me and does not work for me. No fair minded person can condone it. It shouldn’t have been done to Martha or anyone else. But Martha’s supporters are guilty of the very same thing they are complaining about. I condemn and object to what was done to her and what was done to me. Personal attacks are uncivil and need to stop. People disagree with issues but there is no need for personal attacks on character. It is unethical to attack an individual wrongly instead of debating the merits [Leslee Unruh, comment, 2010.11.11, on "Sham PAC, Fake Flyer Boost Haggar," Cory Allen Heidelberger, KELOLand.com Blogs, 2010.11.05].

Hit that screen cap button, save this for posterity: Leslee Unruh and I agree. She even said so on the phone, saying we might agree on much more than our online antagonism might indicate.

And unless evidence is presented to the contrary, I retract my previous implication and accept Unruh's statement that Espenscheid's dirty tricks were not orchestrated or approved by Leslee Unruh.

When it comes to civil discourse, Unruh's comment above agrees with my principles: Debate the merits. Be civil. Be truthful. You can still criticize your opponent's record, contradictions, and use of bad science. You can argue hard for your passionate beliefs... but you can still be totally honest... and totally open to a polite conversation on the phone.

Next up: Cory bikes up to Castlewood to ride horses and talk farm policy with Rep.-Elect Kristi Noem. ;-)

1 comment:

  1. Kirsten Walrath-Noem11/12/2010 8:28 AM

    Wow! So do we agree it's OK to disagree, and we can all still be friends? What a concept! Too bad this idea came 5 months too late!


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