Dale Peterson Returns, Even Worse

Alabama Agriculture Commissioner candidate Dale Peterson, who finished third in the primary, is back with a new ad endorsing one of the two candidates in the run-off. Were I an Alabama Republican, the ad would not make me more inclined to vote for John McMillan, whom Peterson endorses.

Compared to the first ad, the second ad has an important improvement: Peterson keeps his finger off the trigger until he is ready to shoot.

However, this modeling of responsible gun handling is far outweighed by Peterson actually shooting. High in the air, over the head of someone who is stealing a McMillan yard sign. A very poor decision and a terrible example, in my view, even if it were legal, which I doubt it is. Among the many reasons for my conclusion: the yard sign is presumably located at the edge of Peterson’s property, near a public road, so that other people can see it. Ergo, Peterson’s high shot in the air traveled across a public road, and there was a very significant chance that it entered someone else’s property. I realize that for the production of ad, Peterson might have staged the shot so that it only went on his own property, but the story of the ad is still built around modeling recklessly irresponsible gun use.

In addition, the second ad repeats the claim that Peterson served in the Marines “during Vietnam,” which is true only in a Clintonian sense. He did serve in the Marines, but never left the United States. The second ad also repeats the claim (which was presented more elaborately in the first ad) that another candidate has been taking illegal campaign contributions, a claim which is, at best, based on a hyper-aggressive reading of the Alabama campaign finance law. Details here, from Politifact.

Tag line for the ad: “Don’t you wish you had Dale Peterson watching your back?” My answer: No. Among the people I do not want behind me with a rifle is someone of questionable character (a propensity for half-truths) and a record of “showing off” with reckless gun handling.