david orentlicher unveiled the season's first negative ad in the 7th, attacking both andré carson (the incumbent) and woody myers (whom all the polls have in second place). not too surprising, since i'm pretty sure the orentlicher campaign was already doing push polling. what was surprising was what happened next.
the myers campaign hit back, insisting the ad was inaccurate. but here's where it gets crazy: they threatened to sue the orentlicher campaign if the ad wasn't pulled immediately.
naturally, the orentlicher campaign told him to shove it. so now woody's stuck: either he doesn't file suit and loses face, or he does and gets laughed out of court—because even if the ad is inaccurate, there's no way he'll be able to prove malicious intent, which is required to win a libel case.
and that's just the start of it. not only did woody threaten to sue david o, but he started threatening bloggers who'd written critically of him. he threatened suit against bil browning, and not even for anything bil had written, but for something written on bil's blog by tyrion (who had posted the same content at two other blogs that somehow escapted threat of legal action).
when bil asked what in particular the campaign objected to, the lawyers refused to tell him, which isn't just odd but obstinate. they also threatened to sue sheila suess kennedy, but at least in her case the campaign was nice enough to say what the problem was:
A few days ago, I posted testimony given by Dr. Woody Meyers in the late 1990s, which had been sent to me (and presumably others)anonymously. (I assume it was sent to me because I write for the Indianapolis Star.) I checked the source cited for the testimony, saw it was accurate, and posted it. Subsequently, a commenter from Dr. Meyers' campaign posted a response, to the effect that the testimony was indeed correct, but that it had been offered in response to a different amendment to ERISA than the later amendment familiarly known as the Patients' Bill of Rights.
i imagine the issue with tyrion's post and david o's ad is similar... though i'm only guessing because they refuse to say. i can see why the campaign would upset at this misattribution of his comments, but can't fathom how anyone thought this was worthy of litigation. you hit back, you post comments about how it's inaccurate, but why threaten to file a lawsuit you can't possibly win? orentlicher is a lawyer for crying out loud; you won't scare him that way. this is foolish, unproductive blundering. it only serves to draw more attention to the orentlicher attack ad, and it damages woody's appeal, because it makes him look like a spoiled, petulant child.
it was already clear that the myers campaign doesn't grok the internet. that was clear from the fact that they let their official blogger joh padgett run around making unprofessional comments at blue indiana and other blogs. but a congressional candidate threatening to sue bloggers for negative coverage? is that a first? it has to be, for indiana at least.
i wasn't planning to vote myers anyway, but if i had, this would make me seriously reconsider. ¶