Cultural Revolutions

On Janet Reno

As this article and this issue of Chronicles go to press, the United States Senate Judiciary Committee will be considering whether Dade County State Attorney Janet Reno is, by her character, fit to serve this nation as Attorney General.

My own opinion is, no. In the 1988 Dade County, Florida, general election, I was Attorney General-Designate Janet Reno's Republican opponent. I ran against her and lost by a two to one margin—the most respectable margin any of her opponents has ever garnered—knowing I could not win in a town whose sole newspaper, the Miami Herald, has turned her over the past 15 years into an icon of political correctness.

I ran against Reno because of our wildly divergent views on the aims of the criminal justice system. That is why the Fraternal Order of Police endorsed me, even knowing full well I could not win. The rank-and-file officers whom the FOP represents had grown to hate Reno because of her long-held animus toward police and legitimate law enforcement efforts, and they were desperate to express that hatred. Here's an example of the hard lesson Dade police officers had already learned in the streets and in Reno's courtrooms. In the only debate of our campaigns against one another, televised from the studio of WLRN-TV in Miami, each of us was asked our highest priority as Dade State Attorney. I said; "To put away as many criminals for as long as possible."...

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