KSU Professor: Loeffler 'Attila The Hun' Political Ad Is Historically Inaccurate
A new political advertisement by Sen. Kelly Loeffler describes her as being "more conservative than Attila the Hun." The advertisement then cuts to a reenactment of the despot instructing his assistant to "fight China," "attack big government," and "eliminate the liberal scribes."
The ad, which comes in the middle of a bitter political fight between Loeffler and challenger Doug Collins, is a sign of how much the two Republicans' race for Georgia's U.S. Senate seat has drifted to the right in attempts to court the state's ultra-conservative voters. Loeffler, who was appointed by Gov. Brian Kemp following the resignation of three-term senator Johnny Isakson due to health issues, was initially perceived by her critics as a "moderate."
Kennesaw State University professor and member of the China Research Center John Givens said both the comparison and message of the ad is worrying, especially because of its perceived attack on the free press.
"I mean, would there have been a right to free speech in the Hunnic empire? Probably not," he said. "So if you're saying that you would be harder on free speech than Attila the Hun, then that's a problem."
Givens also noted that Loeffler may have her history wrong regarding relations between Attila and China.
"It wasn't Attila the Hun's policy to attack China. Maybe it was some of his ancestors," he said. "It also may be worth noting that the Huns intermarried with China a lot; they had a lot of peace treaties on and off. They conducted some reasonably peaceful negotiations and relationships."
Beyond the silliness of the ad, Givens said that Loeffler's language on China is dangerous rhetoric.
"So, to simply say 'attack China' — I mean, even in the Cold War we didn't really say, 'Attack the Soviet Union,'" he said.
Givens also argues that history's personification of Attila the Hun as a grunting, language-less warlord, as seen the ad, has roots in the elitism of the Greeks and Romans of the time.
"It has the idea of the Greeks and Romans that 'We are civilization, everything outside of our civilization are barbarians' right there," he said. "Uncivilized."
Collins was quick to attack Loeffler for the advertisement.
"Loeffler is so uncomfortable discussing conservative values that she hired an actor to make grunting noises rather than do it herself," he wrote on Twitter. "FYI, Attila the Hun was an open-borders globalist who killed Christians and practiced postnatal abortion."
A total of 21 candidates are running in the special election, with Ebenezer Baptist Church Rev. Raphael Warnock emerging as the leading contender among the Democratic field.
The format of the special election for the seat currently held by Loeffler pits all comers against one another on the same ballot, and the top two vote-getters, regardless of party, advance to a January runoff if no candidate clears 50%.