The sum total of Rebecca Bradley’s statement of “apology” for her published screeds against AIDS victims, gays and lesbians, Bill Clinton, and anyone else who deviated from what she perceived as the righteous path in 1992, is this pitiful statement:
I was writing as a very young student, upset about the outcome of that presidential election and I am frankly embarrassed at the content and tone of what I wrote those many years ago.
To those offended by comments I made as a young college student, I apologize, and assure you that those comments are not reflective of my worldview. These comments have nothing to do with who I am as a person or a jurist, and they have nothing to do with the issues facing the voters of this state.
This is a blatant mudslinging campaign to distract the people from the issues at hand. This election is about diametrically opposed judicial philosophies. I have run a positive campaign focused on the rule of law and strict adherence to the U.S. and Wisconsin Constitutions. I am proud of the twenty plus years of experience I bring to this race, including my time as a Judge on the Milwaukee children’s court, the appellate court, and Supreme Court. I will work for the people of this state to ensure that justice is served and upheld on the state’s highest court.
This is the response she offered to columns in the Marquette student newspaper where she referenced “degenerate drug addicts and queers,” AIDS as a “politically-correct” disease, Bill Clinton as “queer-loving” and “radical socialist” (The joke’s on us there!), and the majority of voters who elected Clinton as “either totally stupid or entirely evil.”
Ms. Bradley wants us to assume that at the “tender” ages of 20 and 21 she was incapable of writing more reflective, less inflammatory prose that still got her point across, and that her attitudes have changed since that time.
Well, I don’t buy it. Any apology that is offered only “to those offended by” the comments does not recognize that everyone should be offended by those comments. Those comments were offensive in 1992 as well. At the Republican Convention in 1992, Mary Fisher, a white mother, the daughter of a major Republican fund raiser, and infected with HIV, gave what became known as the “Whisper of AIDS” speech. In it, she asked that the Republican Party recognize the humanity of those with AIDS and HIV. She said,
We may take refuge in our stereotypes, but we cannot hide there long, because HIV asks only one thing of those it attacks. Are you human? And this is the right question. Are you human? Because people with HIV have not entered some alien state of being. They are human. They have not earned cruelty, and they do not deserve meanness. They don’t benefit from being isolated or treated as outcasts. Each of them is exactly what God made: a person; not evil, deserving of our judgment; not victims, longing for our pity — people, ready for support and worthy of compassion.
No, Rebecca Bradley’s crass and mean-spirited attitude toward those with HIV and AIDS did not fit the tenor of the day. (Nor does it fit the compassion of the Catholic Church toward those with AIDS and other diseases, notwithstanding the Church’s stand on homosexuality.)
Moreover, Ms. Bradley has offered no evidence to demonstrate that she has overcome the abhorrent views she held as a 20- and 21-year-old student. She only claims that the comments are not reflective of her worldview, but she still attends Republican fundraisers (on company time), accepts the patronage of WMC, willingly accepts the support of Mr. Know-Nothing himself, Scott Walker, and remains in her Federalist Society bubble.
Yes, I am sure Ms. Bradley is embarrassed that her commentary in the Marquette newspaper was discovered. She should be, because it is well more than enough to disqualify her from holding any office in the state judiciary. But this supposed “apology” doesn’t get her off the hook for the views she espoused as a young adult.