Earlier today, the campaign of Republican U.S. Senate candidate Danny Tarkanian continued its dishonest DC-style attack campaign of twisting words around to make them mean whatever they want them to mean.
Indeed, the Team Tarkanian eager beavers were so filled with unrestrained joy at finding what they thought was a major political muff by front-runner GOP candidate Sue Lowden that they sent out a breathless press release complete with all capital letters and exclamation points:
“SHOCK!: ESTABLISHMENT CANDIDATE SUE LOWDEN ADMITS SHE WOULD HAVE JOINED HARRY REID IN VOTING FOR BAILOUTS”
First, note the use of “establishment candidate,” a theme the campaign apparently intends to pursue from here on out despite the fact that there’s no demonstrable truth to the accusation, as the GOP establishment, both here in Nevada and in Washington, DC, have taken no position whatsoever in this primary race.
Why do it then? I suspect it’s a bit of desperation. I suspect the Tarkanian campaign is going to report raising significantly less money in a longer period of time than Lowden when year-end finance reports come out over the next week or so.
Beaten at the fundraising game, Tarkanian’s operatives probably now figure they have to do something to undermine the Lowden campaign’s success, even if it means hurting her in a general election against Reid down the road. Painting her as the “establishment candidate” probably appears to them to be just the ticket.
But let’s concede their point for argument’s sake for a minute.
Let’s say Sue Lowden is a conservative who has the best chance and financial resources to defeat Harry Reid next November and IS backed by establishment Republicans, as well as grassroots conservative activists. Is that somehow a “bad” thing?
That said, here’s Sue Lowden’s exact quote on the issue of whether or not she would or would not have voted for the initial bank bailout bill in the fall of 2008:
“It’s easy to say, no, I wouldn’t have voted for it. But people were panicked, we were facing collapse — that’s what they were saying. It’s easy to say from a distance I would have voted no, but I can’t do that.”
So she didn’t say she WOULDN’T have voted for the bill, but nor did she say that she WOULD have. What she did say is she wasn’t there so she doesn’t know everything that was going on at the time and isn’t going to play Monday morning quarterback.
Indeed, consider the fact that it was a Republican president who pushed for the bill and it was Republican administration officials who were yelling “The sky is falling!” and that Republican U.S. Sen. John Ensign – a bona fide conservative if nothing else – voted for the bill. Along with a LOT of other solid conservative members of Congress.
As a matter of fact, here’s a list of conservative Republican United States senators who voted for the initial bank bailout bill, along with their lifetime American Conservative Union (ACU) scores:
Bond (R-MO), 82.16
Burr (R-NC), 90.36
Chambliss (R-GA), 92.89
Coburn (R-OK), 97.80
Cornyn (R-TX), 79, 92
Ensign (R-NV), 93.97
Graham (R-SC), 89.79
Gregg (R-NH), 78.59
Hatch (R-UT), 89.18
Hutchison (R-TX), 89.38
Kyl (R-AZ), 96.96
McConnell (R-KY), 89.4
Sununu (R-NH), 90.89
Thune (R-SD), 86.77
So according to Team Tarkanian, neither Sue Lowden nor any of these other conservatives belong in the Senate….but Danny does. That’s pretty arrogant.
BTW: Funny how Team Tark didn’t include Ensign’s name in their headline along with Reid’s, isn’t it?
That’s because this sort of thing is right out of the Washington, DC, playbook. Don’t tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth when you can fudge the facts for political advantage.
The bottom line is that Sue Lowden has said she honestly can’t say how she would have voted on that very controversial Republican bill because she wasn’t there. And Danny Tarkanian is being dishonest by saying: “Let me be clear: I would be a no vote on any bailouts.”
Notice how he didn’t say he would have been a no vote back then; only that he’d be a no vote now, after the fact and in retrospect. It’s that kind of Clintonesque parsing of words that causes the public to be so skeptical of politicians like Danny.
And no, that wasn’t a slip of word-twisting. It was intentional. As was this from Tarkanian campaign manager Brian Seitchik:
“Sue Lowden’s support for the bailouts is typical of what establishment candidates do. They go along to get along, never taking a firm stand for principle. Normally they wait until they get to Washington to show it, but combined with Sue Lowden’s support for Harry Reid’s 1986 campaign against Ronald Reagan, it’s looking less and less like Sue Lowden will ever get there.
“Yesterday in Ely, Sue Lowden said she was ‘angry.’ I don’t understand – if she supports Harry Reid’s government bailouts, she should be thrilled. Sue Lowden’s support for Harry Reid’s bailouts is going to be a defining difference in this campaign.”
Notice how even though Sue Lowden was talking about ONE VOTE on ONE BAILOUT, Seitchik and Tark misleadingly use the plural “bailouts,” as though Lowden had expressed support for the auto bailouts, the stimulus, and everything in between, which simply isn’t true.
On the other hand, also note that this out-of-state consultant from Florida – who, by the way, is here with us in Nevada now after abandoning the campaign of conservative U.S. Senate candidate Marco Rubio when things looked hopeless and got too tough for him last summer – thinks Harry Reid ran against RONALD REAGAN rather than Jim Santini in 1986.
Talk about a ‘shroom!
I’m not going to “pull a Tarkanian” and twist a quote for cheap political gain. I’m sure Bri knows Reid didn’t run against Reagan in 1986 and actually meant something else; just as I’m sure he knows Sue never said she supported the first bank bailout or any bailout or stimulus bill thereafter.
The unanswered question, however, is whether or not Brian Seitchik and Danny Tarkanian have enough character to admit they’re twisting words and fudging the truth on this matter and apologize for trying to mislead Nevada’s Republican voters. I, for one, won’t be holding my breath.