The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Monday, May 09, 2005  

Williams for Philadelphia County District Attorney

Kudos, props, and huzzas to the Philadelphia Inquirer for its endorsement of Seth Williams in the Democratic primary election for Philadelphia County district attorney. (See “Williams is the Choice,” Philadelphia Inquirer, May 8.)

Williams, you may but probably do not know, is running a valiant yet uphill campaign against the highly entrenched incumbent, Lynne “How do I love the death penalty? Let me count the ways!” Abraham.

In the words of the Inquirer’s editors:

Abraham’s “tough cookie” image isn’t enough to reassure a city that wakes up almost every day with news of yet another murder. She is talking a lot about policy blueprints in this campaign, but over the years she hasn’t been very effective in using the bully pulpit to rally people behind an agenda to combat violence.

“America’s Deadliest D.A.” is nationally known for her penchant for seeking the death penalty, but it’s not clear whether those high-cost capital prosecutions have any deterrent effect on shootings in Philadelphia.

What is clear is that Abraham has not gone after any of the key players in the pay-to-play culture that haunts City Hall. She leaves that job up to the U.S. attorney.

Abraham says that, because she runs for office as a Democrat, she faces the perception of a conflict of interest if she looks into the dealings of Democratic ward leaders or party officials. That may be true, but Philadelphians should not accept the excuse that their elected district attorney can do little to attack the corruption that stains City Hall. If Abraham has to recuse herself personally, someone in her office should be able to proceed. Where there’s a will... […]

Evidence also piles up that Abraham has lost her edge administratively. Critics suggest that the best and brightest don’t seek to work in her office anymore.

Abraham cares about Philadelphia. That shows in the way she tours neighborhoods with crime-prevention ideas. But she has spent too much of her time and her political capital bashing judges and throwing the book inappropriately at political protesters. It’s time for a change. Seth Williams arrives right on time.

The Rittenhouse Review agrees. Let’s send Abraham packing on Tuesday, May 17.

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