Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Scary attempts to influence your votes

Click here to e-mail Peter Bronson

Halloween always comes early in election years. Candidates just can't wait to dress up in bizarre lies and knock on doors to scare voters.

The campaign goblins are already ringing doorbells in Cincinnati.

Franken-coroner. Morgues are ghoulish enough without adding scary music. But Hamilton County Coroner Carl Parrott is sending out postcards that creep out voters - maybe not the way he intended.

They show "13 People who won't vote for Carl Parrott.'' No, not cadavers in the morgue - they're "Felons in prison who can't vote.''

Turns out eight of the 13 color mug shots are black faces. And that means Parrott is playing the race card against black opponent O'dell Owens, says Hamilton County Democratic Chairman Tim Burke, who has a poster-sized blowup of Parrot's postcard.

Parrott said the mug shots were randomly selected murderers and rapists he has helped to convict (see www.carlparrott.com) . Campaign manager Mike McNamara said, "The ratio of African-Americans to Caucasians on this card is actually lower than what the coroner's office usually deals with.''

Parrott said the flier emphasizes that, unlike Owens, he is a forensic pathologist who has produced evidence to solve crimes. "It's not about race, it's about crime,'' he said.

Owens said it's a reach for Parrott to take credit for what the police and prosecutor do. "I think it was just poor judgment,'' he said. "I don't interpret it as racist. I just wonder what has this got to do with the coroner's race?''

Good question. We don't need CSI to tell us the coroner's ads scare voters stiff.

The Blair Draft Project. This nightmare on Clifton Avenue was hatched by some University of Cincinnati faculty members, to spread a bogus scare that President Bush is trying to bring back the draft. The UC News Record reported that the final week in September was "Draft Week,'' complete with a "Die-In'' protest, in which "Demonstrators basically lie down en masse, as if dead ... to show that people actually die in wars ...''

Stop the presses: People die in wars. And they call this "higher education?'' The question is, higher on what?

The only draft bill in Congress was introduced by Democrats, to create a rumor that they could use against Bush, who has no intention to revive the draft. The bill received only two votes.

But some fanatics on the far left, who know better, are spreading lies to scare students into voting for John Kerry. And that's creepier than Osama in a Michael Moore mask.

Drake-ula. The campaign to raise taxes for Drake Hospital is sending out fliers that show the cover of U.S. News & World Report's "America's Best Hospitals'' edition. It includes a report, "Drake Center: The Rehabilitation Specialists,'' claiming, "as seen in U.S. News & World Report's Best Hospitals Issue.''

But Drake is not listed in the Best Hospitals rankings. Not in rehabilitation, orthopedics, neurology - nowhere.

Take off the mummy-wrap of hype, and it turns out the glowing report about Drake was written by Drake. It's an advertisement it bought in the magazine. But the flier implies that it's part of the U.S. News report.

Drake is a great hospital. But for now, it's one of the nation's best only at misleading voters.

And here's something really scary: The worst October surprises are walking around somewhere like that creepy guy in the Halloween movies, waiting to jump out of the bushes just before Election Day. It's enough to make a voter scream.

E-mail pbronson@enquirer.com or call 768-8301.

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