If Pat Quinn wins a full term as governor of Illinois, hardened criminals will kidnap your children from playgrounds and commit unspeakable outrages against them. That’s the subtext of Bill Brady’s new attack ad on the governor. Along with the usual ominous music, it features black and white photos of an empty merry-go-round, and an infant’s swing, swaying and squeaking in the cold wind.
There are a few facts in this ad, too. Let’s look at them.
“1745,” a narrator says. “That’s the number of hardened criminals secretly released early from prison onto our streets by Pat Quinn. Domestic abusers, sex offenders, gang members.”
Under Quinn’s MGT Push plan, which was intended to reduce the prison population, prisoners were released early after earning credit for good conduct. Some had been involved in violent crimes -- one man was convicted of mob action for accompanying two men to a murder -- and hundreds disappeared from the system after their release, failing to check in with parole officers. The misbegotten program was ended as soon as the Associated Press exposed it by using the Freedom of Information Act to examine Department of Corrections records.
“Since being released by Quinn, many have been charged with new crimes, the ad goes on: domestic battery, assault on a young woman, mob action, murder.”
The alleged murderer was Edjuan Payne, who was released after serving six months of a two-year sentence for criminal damage to property. This despite the fact that he had spent 15 years in prison for a murder committed in 1988. Shortly after he got out of prison, Payne strangled a 41-year-old woman in Peoria and dumped her body in an alley.
When you consider what other politicians have done with oppo information like this, Brady’s ad is restrained. He didn’t try to turn Payne into Illinois’ own Willie Horton. For that, we rate the ad “Truthish.”