Pro-War Right Still Attacking GOP Justice Candidate?

Fresh off the fax machine, we have the latest installment in a fascinating story about the growing divide over the Iraq war. The story involves one Rachel Lea Hunter, a Republican candidate for Chief Justice in North Carolina, and pro-war conservatives who are outraged at her anti-war and anti-Bush views. Here's the press release, which ran the headline "Neo-Cons Suspected of Terrorizing Web Site:"

CARY, N.C. -- The web site of Rachel Lea Hunter, leading candidate for Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, was hijacked early in the week. The sit was quickly replaced with the outstanding work of the campaign team ...

"We have every reason to suspect that Rachel's comments against the Bush administration and in favor of Cindy Sheehan led to the disappearance of her campaign web site," suggested campaign manager Cameron DeJong.

"It should come as no surprise that certain people will use such dirty tactics to attack the free speech rights of their opposition," said Hunter.

A little more background: Rachel says she used to be a "loyal Republican." But then she started speaking out against the Iraq war, criticizing the Bush's administration's civil rights record, featuring Gold Star Families for Peace on her website. The attack dogs quickly came, savaging her in the media and harassing her campaign (of which the above alleged site hack may be a part).

Here are some choice snippets from the statement on the front of her campaign page:

I have been paying attention to events. I don't like what has been happening, especially to Cindy Sheehan. For those of you who don't know, she is the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq. She also has begun to turn her grief to anger, so that other mothers, sisters, brothers, husbands, wives and friends will not have to lose their loved ones or have their family members maimed in this nonsensical war.

We are told that it is for a "noble cause." What "noble cause" is that? To kill innocent Iraqis? We are told its for our "freedom." That's nice that we are SO concerned about freedom in Iraq when our own freedoms at home are daily being eroded ...

But back to Ms. Sheehan. There has been a growing effort by the neo-cons in Washington to silence her. They are doing to her what the state neo-cons did to me on a local level. They have called out their usual attack dogs and willing accomplices in the media. They have attempted to portray her as part of the lunatic fringe, as some dupe controlled by [outside peace] groups. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Before this controversy started, I had written to Ms. Sheehan to voice my support. I also put her and her group, Gold Star Families for Peace, up on my website. If she has not been removed and, if my health permits me to travel such a distance, I will visit her in Texas. But anyone who knows her knows that she is not a tool ...

The Republican party used to stand for smaller taxes, more individual responsibility and less government. What it has become is the party of the neo-cons. They are all set to use government for their own ends. And the faction now in control are absolutely ruthless. They have taken to heart Goebbels' philosophy of repeating a lie often enough and it will become the truth, whether the lie is about Cindy Sheehan, oil or anything else. That is why I left this party. Or I should say, the party left me. I do not recognize this crowd any more. They have given up true Jeffersonian Democratic-Republican ideals and replaced it with an agenda of nationalism and big government. They are using the power of the state to force their view of religion and their version of how the world ought to be down our throats.

Are we going to just lie back and take it? Or will we wake up and do something about it? I am running to do something about it.

Don't get the wrong impression -- Rachel Lee Hunter's not a progressive. She refused public financing of her previous judicial race on the principal of opposition to "big government." But her story is powerful, and I think reveals a lot about the divide developing in North Carolina and the country around the Iraq war -- and the lengths the war-hawks will go to silence those who oppose them.