Michael Ryan's attack on the Democratic Party (The Augusta Chronicle, May 2) is typical of the neocons' strategy to raise false issues to gain attention and distract people from the horrors of Iraq and the failures of George W. Bush's domestic policies. To use Augusta Circuit District Attorney Danny Craig's switch of parties to claim a major victory for the Republicans across the South is a stretch to say the least. Republicans have obvious problems electing their own, but resort to strong-arm tactics to convince vote-getting Democrats to join them.
If Craig is quoted properly by Ryan, Craig feels that Democrats have little respect for the law. Craig and Ryan have short memories, because it was Craig who agreed with Don Cheeks that a convicted child molester's picture should not be made public - a violation of the law. Craig was reversed by the Democratic attorney general. Yet Ryan quotes Craig as saying Democrats have "disdain for the family, faith and individual responsibility." That doesn't add up. His defense of a child molester is evidence that he showed little responsibility for the family that was affected. His lack of responsibility also is shown in that he has never explained why a yearlong grand jury investigation of Augusta's commissioners led to nothing, aside from innuendos and smears.
Let's look at another violation of the law by Republicans which Craig and Ryan have conveniently forgotten but now continue to use against Democrats. A Republican, U.S. Attorney Richard Thompson, set the FBI on Charles Walker and, as I publicly predicted, it was a political attempt to embarrass the Democrats. I was right on target, because the same Thompson resigned very hastily. Why? Because in a similar case, the Justice Department issued the following : " ... former U.S. Attorney Richard C. Thompson abused his authority and violated the public trust ... for the purpose of benefiting a personal and political ally."
It is incredible that Ryan and Craig decided to use President Clinton as another reason for his switch. What about one of the utmost violations of the law in U.S. history when a loser, George Bush, was declared the president by five Supreme Court justices who are never mentioned in the Constitution as having anything to do with presidential elections?
Ryan's gloating over Craig's switching may be short-lived. In most people's opinion, Craig will not fill out his next term: they feel he switched parties so that he could obtain a judgeship or some similar high office that was promised by the Republicans. In that case, the Democrats will run a true Democrat. It is a shame that this well-liked man, Danny Craig, lost his way because he was convinced by the Republicans to turned away from the party that supported him, from which he accepted awards and which extended great sympathy in his heartbreaking moments. Strangely, he told me at our last meeting just that he appreciated very much what the Democratic Party has done for him.
In contrast to Ryan's message that the Southern Republicans are rejoicing, he should look closely at the local elections for county and state offices. The Republicans could mount only an opponent to Harold Jones for the vacant solicitor general's office, leaving seven Democrats unchallenged for county offices. Two out of four of the incumbent Democratic House members are unchallenged by the Republicans, hardly a great wave of support locally.
The Democrats are the Party of Principle, no matter how the Republicans try to smear us with tactics which they have learned from Cheney et al. Ryan and Craig have opened doors that they and the Republicans can ill afford to enter. They will have to live with the fallout.
(Editor's note: The writer is chairman of the Richmond County Democratic Party.)