by Benjamin J. Kirby
You can always tell when a person is lying. They try like hell to change the conversation.
You see, thug Congressman Vern Buchanan -- one of Washington's most corrupt Members of Congress -- is really trying to change the conversation. You would, too, if you were being investigated by the FBI. And the IRS. And the FEC. And the House Ethics Committee. And you'd just ducked out on a deposition about your possibly (probably) illegal activities.
And the details of it all had just been broadcast on CNN.
Add to that the fact that the Republican Nominee for President just named Buchanan's House colleague Paul Ryan to the ticket, and things get even worse for Vern. You see, Vern strongly supported the Ryan Budget last year which would have turned Medicare into a voucher scheme.
The fantastic cherry on top of this turd sundae is the fact that Vern's opponent has now outraised him three quarters in a row.
So, yeah, he's going to change the subject. And because he's a thug (I don't make these names up for fun, people), he's going to play dirty. He got a Republican whacktivist down in Bradenton to file a phony-baloney ethics complaint against Keith. Not a word of it amounts to anything at all. Vern had it filed it just so he can drag Keith down to his level and try to neutralize the negative stuff about himself.
It won't work.
And Vern is taking out a bit of insurance, just in case. He's got high-power, big-dollar Washington outfits -- so-called superPACs -- making bullshit phone calls about Keith and Medicare, just in case the ethics boondoggle doesn't work:
Congressional Leadership Fund and YG Action, two influential Republican outside groups, are teaming up together for the first time on a project of this sort to go on offense on Medicare, launching a robo-call campaign today that hammers 42 Democrats (some incumbents and some challengers) for supporting the federal health care law. They even use the Democrats’ favorite talking point, saying the IPAB created by the law ends Medicare “as we know it.”
...an independent expenditure fund focused solely and exclusively on maintaining the Republican majority in the House of Representative.
Yeah, they need Vern to keep his seat, so they'll say whatever it takes -- spend whatever it takes -- for that to happen. Even if it's a lie.
YG Action is a superPAC funded at the top by Sheldon Adelson, the same smug billionaire casino mogul who is pouring millions and millions of dollars into superPACs for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.
Don't let big money win this race.
Don't let a thug and his cronies get away with lies.
Help out Keith Fitzgerald, however you can.
Somewhere I said that the Nelson vs. Mack fight for the U.S. Senate here in Florida has the potential to be one of the toughest, nastiest races in the nation.
I stand by that. Of course, the campaigns aren't talking about "strategy":
Both campaigns largely shrugged off our inquiries about what voters can expect between now and November.
"We don't really discuss strategy," said Nelson spokesman Paul Kincaid. "However, I can say that it's become abundantly clear in the past few days that there is a major difference between Sen. Nelson and Connie Mack on the issues, for instance Medicare and Social Security, and I think those issues will play a huge role in the campaign."
"You'll have to wait and see," Mack said at a recent event. "Why would I tell you?"
# # # #
A federal court is telling the jackasses in the Rick Scott Administration what we all already knew: Florida's shortening of early voting times directly disenfranchises African American voters.
“In sum, Florida is left with nothing to rebut either the testimony of the defendants’ witnesses or the common-sense judgment that a dramatic reduction in the form of voting that is disproportionately used by African-Americans would make it materially more difficult for some minority voters to cast a ballot than under the benchmark law,” the court ruled.
# # # #
A final word about bullies, liars and tone.
It has been interesting to me that the now we're all suddenly concerned with the tone of this race. Like John Cole, I think it's all a bunch of bullshit.
Back in 2008, we had David McKalip forward this image of then-candidate Obama, the mainstreaming of birtherism, the ugly Obama-is-a-Muslim e-whisperings. That was followed up by Sarah Palin's PAC "target" map, which included "targeting" Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona.
If you Google search "Romney Personal Attacks," the St. Louis Post-Dispatch notes that Romney's attacks are getting more personal. It should come as no surprise that the FOX News headline is: "Obama Escalates Personal Attacks on Romney." Of course.
I was surprised a few days ago -- before the Ryan announcement -- when Romney basically begged the Obama Campaign for mercy. That's the real hallmark of a bully: a guy who will hold down the smaller kid and cut his hair because "[h]e can’t look like that. That’s wrong. Just look at him!" But then turn around and cry foul when the going gets rough.
Obviously, Romney's feeling the heat, but the attacks he's facing are nothing compared to the crap President Obama has had to deal with. So no sympathy for Mitt. Politics ain't for the weak of heart.
And isn't it amazing to hear him beg the Obama campaign to stop talking about his business record? It wasn't long ago that he said his business record was the thing that qualified him for the White House. When he wrapped up the nomination, he didn't even mention he had been governor of Massachusetts! Business and the Olympics were the only things he mentioned. But now he's crying uncle.
Now that Mitt's whining, we'll have to endure the whining from the entire Republican contingent. Top of the list will be the Washington Post's Michael Gerson:
But the most vivid accusation (made by a closely associated PAC and embraced by the campaign itself) is that Romney’s ruthless business practices were responsible for the closing of a firm, the loss of a couple’s health insurance and thus the death of a woman from cancer. Except that Romney wasn’t connected to the closing of the firm, the woman continued to have health insurance from another source and her cancer was diagnosed five years after the plant shut down.
Which represents the crossing of an ethical line. If the conduct of the Obama campaign team were universalized, candidates would no longer require any evidence to accuse one another of complicity in a death. To accept this as a new political norm would be to define defamation down.
One, it's a PAC, and as much as Gerson and the Republican hive mind would like to think they're coordinating with the Obama Campaign, they're not. If Gerson needs a refresher on how PACs work, he can ask Sheldon Adelson, mentioned above.
Two, I suspect the ad cut the Romney people so deeply because the facts remain true: Bain took over a company; downsized and outsourced jobs; a man lost his job and his health care; his wife wasn't sufficiently covered and died.
It's not about ugly politics: it's about not wanting to talk about the truth. And the truth, reality, and honest conversation about real people and their real lives -- and deaths -- trump Gerson's precious "rhetorical idealism" any day.
h/t to Bark Bark Woof Woof on this piece.
# # # #
It's finally Friday.
This guy did a nice job on this video.