What Fresh Hell Is This?

October 18, 2012

Endorsement News

While I refrain from endorsing anyone (the OPJ is, of course, free to endorse or not as she pleases), I did want to point out a recent Post-Gazette endorsement for the 44th District of the Pennsylvania House:
The Post-Gazette endorses Mark Scappe, a promising alternative.
In case you didn't know it, Scappe's running against Mark Mustio - who the P-G had once endorsed.  But that changed.  Why?  Take a look.  This is how the P-G starts its endorsement of Scappe:
Mark Mustio ran a deplorable, ultimately unsuccessful, campaign for the Republican nomination for state Senate in the spring that raised such a troubling question about his fitness for office that the Post-Gazette withdrew its initial endorsement of him.
The P-G pointed out a few months ago that both candidates (Mustio and Raja) did the usual campaign smears. But added:
Mr. Mustio went further when he superimposed an image of the flag of India behind a photo of Mr. Raja in earlier advertisements and fliers. Although born in India, Mr. Raja -- like millions of immigrants before him -- came to this country as a young man, made it his home by becoming a U.S. citizen and founded a successful business here. He also earned master's degrees at the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University.

Mr. Mustio followed that up by crossing a line this week with an insidious mailing aimed at stirring up prejudices about Mr. Raja's foreign birth. Even though Mr. Raja is known simply as Raja or D. Raja in his business dealings, personal life and politics, Mr. Mustio displayed prominently his opponent's full given name --Dakshinamurthy -- in a campaign flier.

We don't buy Mr. Mustio's explanation that he used the long name because it appears on lawsuits in which Mr. Raja was involved. The subtext is clear. In fact, Mr. Mustio makes it even clearer in his newest, so-called positive television ad in which the narrator intones, "Mark Mustio. He's one of us, not a politician."
Something the P-G called a "breach of decency."

In his defense, Mustio said he regretted using the advisors who came up with what the P-G calls his "race- based strategy."  He hasn't, however, apologized to the target of that strategy, Raja.

Whatever else is going on in this race, on the one side you've got a guy who agreed to an offensive "race-based" strategy that was so indecent that it made the P-G editorial board reverse itself and pull its endorsement and on the other side you've got a guy, Mark Scappe, who didn't.

This is not an endorsement.  But let the the voters in the 44th House District decide for themselves which candidate to support.

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