Moral Low Ground

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Democrat Uproar over Racist, Sexist Right-Wing Ad Targeting Janice Hahn’s Anti-Gang Initiative

A political television advertisement targeting Democratic congressional nominee and Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn is being slammed as blatantly racist and sexist.

Some are calling it “the most racist, sexist political ad in history.”

According to USA Today, the ad, paid for by a political action committee (PAC) called Turn Right USA, is meant to suggest that Hahn is weak on gang violence. It depicts Hahn as a strip club pole dancer flanked by black men with automatic weapons who are supposed to be gangsters.

“Give me some cash, bitch, so we can buy some more heat… Give me your cash, ho, so we can get out the pen’,” the black men rap.

The ad is meant to attack Hahn’s innovative  initiative that employed former gang members and gang members trying to turn their lives around as “gang intervention specialists” in an effort to reduce gang-related crime.

But apparently all Turn Right USA sees is a “bitch” who supports “gang-banging at taxpayer expense.” So says a website they paid for  called

Craig Huey, Hahn’s Republican opponent in a July 12 special election to fill a seat in California’s 36th US Congressional district left vacant by the retirement of Rep. Jane Harman (D), has “unequivocally” denounced the ad. He told USA Today that it was “not authorized or affiliated” with his campaign.

“The ad is blatantly racist and sexist and neither racism nor sexism has any place in the public sphere,” Huey told Politico.

He’s not the only one who is disgusted by the ad. Even Turn Right USA’s own treasurer, Claude Todoroff, has rejected it. “That kind of language is offensive to me and certainly not appropriate,” he wrote. Todoroff told USA Today that he was seriously mulling dropping Right Turn USA from his client list “because of the sexual content and lyrics of this video, and the implications that only the black community has a gang problem.”

But Ladd Ehlinger, co-founder of Turn Right USA and producer of the ad, told USA Today that the ad made with “buddies” to “have fun” poking fun at Hahn.

“I don’t have an issue with exotic dancers,” he said. “I’ve known several of them and they are good people.”

Turn Right USA is what is known as a Super PAC, a new type of independent political group enabled as a result of the US Supreme Court’s infamous 2010 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling, which said that corporations are people and entitled to spend as much money as they pleased through Super PACs in order to influence the outcome of elections, so long as they do so independently of political candidates.

Democrats, naturally, are trying to capitalize on the uproar over the ad. “An attack on women and minorities this blatant and offensive deserves our strongest grass-roots response,” Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) executive director Robby Mook wrote in a fundraising e-mail. USA Today says the DCCC hopes to raise $150,000 by next week.

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