by Benjamin J. Kirby
Between the fantastic images we've been seeing from Mo Eppley at both the Republican Convention in Tampa as well as the Democratic Convention in Charlotte, the incredibly popular guest posts from Johnny Bardine and Kevin King, and the near-daily Convention-special Into the Echo Chamber back-and-forths between me and Matt, things have been a little crazy around here. You're certainly getting more content on a regular basis than I ever provided before. So that's something.
Anyway, these last few weeks have been an awful lot of fun. I appreciate you coming by and reading and being a part of it all. Thanks.
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President Clinton said it best last night: "Democracy doesn't have to be a bloodsport."
But, as I think he has aptly demonstrated throughout his career, that doesn't mean you don't call out a lie when you hear one. That doesn't mean you don't try to right an injustice. It doesn't mean you don't stand up and speak to what is right, honest, and fair.
What I've seen in the last couple of days regarding Keith Fitzgerald simply cannot stand unchallenged.
On Wednesday, Peter over at SaintPetersblog had this headline: "New independent poll shows Vern Buchanan up twenty points over Keith Fitzgerald"
Devastating, right? Well, not really. For a couple of reasons.
One, the reputation of the polling firm which conducted the survey is questionable at best. Don't take my word for it -- here are some choice words about the organization conducting the polling, St. Pete Polls:
In July, I questioned some of St. Pete Polls’ findings from a survey of pretty much every race on the primary ballot in Pinellas Its numbers ran counter to not only my own internal polling but to that of other consultants working those races.
Unfortunately, St. Pete Polls made a glaring, almost unforgivable error by polling a GOP primary in Senate District 8 which simply did not exist. The candidate St. Pete Polls forecast winning that election wasn’t even on the ballot. I realize St. Pete Polls is still working out the kinks in its operation, but I can’t imagine Mason-Dixon or Quinnipiac committing such a grievous error.
A second criticism I offered of St. Pete Polls was concerning its findings in Congressional District 13, writing, “Only 48.6% of voters are decided on U.S. Rep. Bill Young? That’s highly suspicious.” It turns out my suspicions were well-founded as Young ended up with nearly 70% of the vote.
The rest of my criticisms, save one, of St. Pete Polls findings also turned out to be accurate:
- I wondered why Ed Hooper was “only” up twenty-three points over Chris Sheppard in House District 67; Hooper won by almost forty points;
- I did not believe Ken Welch was “only” up seven points over Maria Scruggs; Welch won by thirty-seven;
- I questioned if Bill Burgess was really leading Andy Steingold by two-to-one; actually that’s by how much Burgess beat Steingold — St. Pete Polls nailed this.
- Finally, I did not believe that Shelly Ladd-Gilbert was leading the race for the District 1 seat on the Pinellas School Board; a well-meaning candidate Ladd-Gilbert finished a distant third.
If the difference in the new District 13 race is borne out in the new District 16 race, then Keith and Vern are tied. Read the quoted material above again and you tell me if you trust the work of St. Pete Polls.
By the way, those comments are from Peter Schorsch, from Saint Petersblog post just last month.
The second reason this is hardly news is that advertising in the Fitzgerald versus Buchanan race hasn't really gotten fired up yet.
Well. It apparently has for one side. More on that in a minute.
The point is, most folks already know Vern Buchanan (for better or for worse). Keith has two months to continue to build a brand -- and if the Tampa Bay Times and the Sarasota Herald-Tribune are to be believed, it's working and the gap is closing.
A sense of panic at that closing gap may explain why Vern continues to employ elaborate -- and despicable -- methods to smear Keith Fitzgerald, as good and honest a guy as you could hope to have represent the people of the new 16th Congressional District.
Here's another "devastating" Saint Petersblog headline: 76% of New College students bash absentee professor/congressional candidate Keith Fitzgerald
I started looking at some of the comments (in a locked Google Doc, many of which looked suspiciously repeated), and then something caught my eye. It was this:
Vern is still paying Peter for advertising while simultaneously using his widely-read blog as a platform to conduct ridiculous character assassinations and cheap smear campaigns against his political opponents.
It is shameful.
And my guess is it won't work. Vern Buchanan can try to change the subject from his support of the deplorable HR 3. He can try to run away from his support of the Medicare-devastating Ryan Budget. He can try to bury his legal and ethical troubles behind a cloud of lies and deceit.
Don't let him do it.
Tell your friends and neighbors. Help spread the word.
Let's get an honest, decent and good man elected to Congress in Florida's 16th CD.
Speaking of liars, turns out the GOP produced a snarky anti-Obama ad...
...in which a frustrated former Obama supporter expresses her disappointment with the president. The only problem: The woman in the video is actually an RNC staffer.
Yeah, not only an RNC staff, but a former employee of none other than our hospital grifter Governor (and fellow liar!) Rick Scott.
Man, these guys can't even lie well.
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And if they're not lying, they're just plain offensive.
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Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight blog has some interesting graphics off to the right, there. The blue line is, ever so slightly, trending up, the red line -- Romney -- ever so slightly down.
He's the first to tell you not to make a single thing of it yet. And I'm quite sure that, in addition to everything he says, a lot of it has to do with the Democrats largely controlling the spotlight this week.
Still. It's a lot of fun to watch.
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A quick word about the Democratic Convention platform "scandal," mostly as it related to inserting the word "God". Here's a key phrase from that HuffingtonPost article:
The language in the platform – a political document – does not affect actual U.S. policy toward Israel. The administration has long said that determining Jerusalem's status is an issue that should be decided in peace talks by Israelis and Palestinians.
Conventions -- for all that they are, which is really just a show -- are about uniting behind a candidate and a platform. It is a bit deflating to read headlines which essentially say Democrats caved to Republican criticism about not having "God" in the platform to begin with. The Republicans will desperately make hay of this until November, I guess.
In the end, as Mustang Bobby noted, it is worth pointing out that there is no mention of God in the United States Constitution, either.
Let's keep some perspective, people.
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It's almost Friday.