Ryan runs ugliest ads of the year; Barr campaigns with him anyway

Screen shot from CLF ad about Aftab Pureval
Screen shot from CLF ad about Aftab Pureval

Paul Ryan’s super-pac, the Congressional Leadership Fund, has run some of the “most inflammatory” ads of this election season. Nevertheless, Andy Barr was glad to welcome him to Kentucky this week to campaign together.

As noted by the New York Times, Republican ads are much more likely to focus on race and immigration than Democratic ones. “They’re falling in line with the president and it seems they’re trying to scare people about immigrants coming to this country,” said Wesley Ridout, director of the Wesleyan Media Project, which tracks ad spending.

In addition, a number of the ads, including ones from CLF, use racial stereotyping and dog whistles as part of the ads.

Here are two examples, described in an article (“Paul Ryan’s Ugly Exit”) by Joel McNally of Shepherd Express:

Consider the CLF ad against African American Democrat Antonio Delgado, a Rhodes Scholar and an attorney with a Harvard law degree, running in an upstate New York district. A grainy video suggests all voters need to know about Delgado is that, as a young man more than a decade ago, he performed a rap song with explicit lyrics criticizing racial inequality… and it gets worse. OMG! He wore a hoodie! That image appears to be visually enhanced with fierce, white eyes glaring out of a dark shadow obscuring Delgado’s face.

Or how about this one: Another terrifying attorney, Aftab Pureval, a county clerk of Tibetan and Indian descent running in Ohio’s Cincinnati and suburban district, is accused in a CLF ad of “selling out Americans.” That’s because, fresh out of law school, Pureval worked for a Washington, D.C., law firm that helped settle a lawsuit brought by families of Americans killed by Libyan terrorists. Pureval didn’t work on that settlement, but it had strong American support from then-President George W. Bush. You’ll notice the pattern of demonizing black and brown Democrats as scary, dangerous people who are possibly in league with international terrorism.

Yet, after running ads like these, and scores of others just like them, Paul Ryan has the nerve to say “I abhor identity politics.” By funneling millions of dollars to his own PAC, Ryan can claim to be as pure as the new-fallen snow, while at the same time enabling some of the most inflammatory, racist, lying ads of this election cycle.

As noted by McNally,

When Republicans’ backs are against the wall, Ryan, who once described Trump as “the textbook definition” of a racist and his Muslim ban as a violation of the fundamental principles of Ryan’s party and country, stands ready to pour millions of dollars into scurrilous, election-year attack ads right out of that handy, dandy, racist textbook.

CLF has, of course, run countless ads against Amy McGrath. They distort her record, misquote her, and use racist and violent images. She has repeatedly called out the ads, and asked Andy Barr to distance himself from them. He has refused to do so.

And now, he has invited the funder of all these ads to campaign with him.

If Andy Barr truly wants to improve the political discourse in our country, he should send Paul Ryan back to DC, then pull down the CLF ads that are among the worst this year.

It appears, though, that his real goal is winning at any cost … even to his own honor.


Bruce Maples
Bruce Maples has been involved in politics and activism since 2004, when he became active in the Kerry Kentucky movement. He has been President, Vice-President, and Treasurer of the Metro Democratic Club, and has served on the Democratic Party Executive Committee in Louisville. He began blogging in 2004, and currently operates two personal blogs (BruceMaples.com and brucewriter.com). He founded Forward Kentucky in the wake of the state elections in 2015, and expanded it in the summer of 2016. He has lived in Louisville since 1992 with his wife and two sons.