Posts Tagged ‘Negative campaigning’

Matheson attacking Love for wanting to restrain government

October 11, 2012

Matheson’s latest negative attack ad against Mayor Mia Love goes after her for wanting to rein in out-of-control spending and limit the federal government‘s involvement in education. Isn’t Jim a limited government fiscal conservative? That’s how he has always campaigned…. I guess when the polls put him down 6 points or more – and still falling – his true colors start showing.

Matheson produced an ad that says (and I’m paraphrasing) that Mia hates kids and hates education. He also parrots his ridiculous line that she’s “Not Ready”

Jim, that’s bull-pucky and you know it.

Mayor Love is advocating LOCAL CONTROL of not only educational decisions, but educational dollars. Our dollars in Utah always go farther when we don’t have to send them to DC for laundering, then get them back with strings attached. (No Child Left Behind, anyone? How about Race to the Top?)

So let’s talk about the Department of Education. It became a Cabinet-level department in 1980, after being created and signed into law by Jimmy Carter in late 1979. Republicans at the time protested its creation, saying that education was a LOCAL function and not one for the federal government to control.

Democrats used the Commerce Clause (there’s that pesky thing again) to say that indeed the nation needed a new bureacratic agency, one that would be funded under the Taxing and Spending Clause. At its creation, the Dept of Ed had 3000 employees, with an annual budget of $12 billion. Today, it has a budget of $71 billion – an increase of almost 600%. Employee numbers have risen by the thousands as well.

Returning education to the states is not a new idea. During the 1980 presidential debates – the same year the Dept of Ed sprang into existence – Ronald Reagan advocated eliminating it. With the House under Democrat control, he was unsuccessful. In his 1982 State of the Union address, he talked about it again, saying: “The budget plan I submit to you will realize major savings by dismantling the Department of Education.”

In 1996, the Republican party made getting rid of the Dept of Ed a cornerstone of their campaign promises and a key part of their platform. Bob Dole, who ran for president that year, said “We’re going to cut out the Department of Education.”

With the explosive growth of yet another government agency, when we have $16 trillion in debt and a trillion in deficit each year, it’s about time we have an adult conversation about the proper role of government. (And I must point out yet again that LIMITED government does not equal NO government…..)

Utah is ready to manage its own educational programs. Educational decisions belong in the hands of families, first and foremost, with government oversight being done at the most local level possible.

Matheson could learn something from Mia by asking these simple questions:

*Is it affordable?
*Is it sustainable?
*Is it our job?

Jim’s answer is always MORE GOVERNMENT and now he’s on the attack when his opponent says we need to get government off our backs and out of our wallets. How is Matheson’s big government view one of “Utah’s values?”


No, Mr. Matheson, Philpot did NOT quit on the job

November 1, 2010

(This was posted by Ray Matthews, avowed Democrat from Salt Lake county. Ray and I don’t agree on a lot politically, but we do agree on this. It’s time for Jim Matheson to come on home now. I am reposting it here with Ray’s permission. I have made no changes to the original.)

On Fox13 News last night, October 30, Rep. Jim Matheson said of Republican challenger Morgan Philpot, “He quit on the job. I have the sources to back it up.” He’s referring to his negative attack ad accusing Philpot of missing 233 votes while in the Utah state legislature and then quitting the legislature mid-term.

The clear take-away from Matheson’s advertising is that Philpot went AWOL during his stint in the Utah State Legislature and that voters should be wary because he’ll repeat this as your Congressman.

I did some fact-checking of the newspaper sources cited by Matheson and in the legislative record here’s what I found out:

Philpot was elected in 2000 and served from 2001 through 2004. This service includes four general sessions of the legislature, numerous special sessions, and service on interim committees. A representatives’ voting record is his or hers recorded votes during sessions as recorded in the House Journals.

Let’s examine his last year in the Legislature, the 55th Legislature 2003-04. He was present, accounted for, and voting every single day of the First Special Session, Second Special Session, 2004 General Session, First Veto Override Session, and the Third Special Session. His voting record was 100% in every session except for the General Session.

As most people realize, Legislators are very busy during sessions on and off the floor. They’re often with constituents, lobbyists and others when votes are taken and these are recorded as “absent or not voting” in the record. In 2004, on any given recorded vote, typically four to eight members were absent. During the General Session there were 607 recorded votes. Philpot voted in 465; he was absent or nonvoting in 142. In total for all sessions of the 55th Legislature, 2003-04, there were 620 recorded. Philpot voted 487 and was absent for 142 giving him a “batting average,” as it were, of 785/1000.

Philpot was clearly not AWOL. He probably missed more votes than the average representative, but his record was still likely higher than that of some others such as Representatives Bourdeaux, Dillree, Hendrickson, Christensen, and Dougall. I spot-checked the earlier years and my impression is that Philpot’s attendance rate in those years was even higher. Matheson’s implication that missing 233 votes during four years as a legislator is atypical and irresponsible is simply wrong. Any reasonable person going through the voting records for those four years will not single out Philpot from any other representative for a noteworthy record of absences.

The Office of Legislative Printing kindly sent me copies of the House Journals. I’ve loaded them online where you can download them and review Philpot’s voting record for yourself:

* House Journal 2004
* House Journal 2003
* House Journal 2002
* House Journal 2001

Now, what about Matheson’s accusation that he left the legislature “mid-term” to go to Michigan. I examined the newspaper sources that Matheson cites. Here is what the sources show:

The General Session of the 2004 Legislature began on January 19 and ended on March 3. Philpot was accepted to law school and announced to the legislature in March that he was leaving. He did this to give his successor time to meet the filing deadline to run for his seat. On or before March 17, four other Republicans filed as candidates for Philpot’s District 45.

During the 2004 session, Philpot’s prized legislation that he sponsored was the Carson Smith Special Needs Scholarships (H.B. 115). It had passed both houses, but on March 23, Governor Walker vetoed it, but she left the $1.4 million funding intact for the Legislature to re-authorize. Just prior to Walker’s announcing this in the veto session on April 26, Mark Walker won won 70% of the vote at the Salt Lake County Convention to get the Republican nomination for District 45.

Philpot continued acting his duties through The Third Special Session on June 28. In mid-August the Philpot family moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan for Morgan to attend the Ave Maria Law School where classes began on August 23.

Why did he not resign before he moved?

The Salt Lake Tribune explained the reason:

“Anticipating that his vetoed Carson Smith Special Needs Scholarship bill would resurface for debate at a special legislative session in September, Philpot opted to wait before severing all Utah ties. ‘That bill is important to me,’ said Philpot, who, upon learning that Republican legislative leaders failed to drum up enough support to revive it, added, ‘I’ll probably resign soon.'” (Trib Aug 22).

The Tribune noted in that same article, “Philpot isn’t drawing a salary and has yet to miss a vote.”

The special session that Philpot expected wasn’t called. Philpot missed the Interim Committee Day on September 15; not much more. By September 15 Mark Walker filed to run for District 45 and the following day Philpot officially resigned by sending a letter to House Speaker Marty Stephens with his resignation effective September 30. By September 21, Walker had already raised $8,335 for the race and in October Mark Walker was formally appointed by Governor Olene Walker to replace Philpot.

In moving to Michigan to attend law school Philpot only missed a few inconsequential meetings and those were just in the weeks prior to the November election. The accusation that Philpot quit on the job mid-term is a real stretch of the truth. It remains to be seen if the negative smears by the Matheson campaign will sway the electorate.

# JOURNAL of the House of Representatives of the State of Utah. FIFTY−FIFTH LEGISLATURE 2004 GENERAL SESSION.
# “Here are candidates who beat Utah filing deadline.” (18 Mar 2004). Deseret News.
# Bernick, Bob Jr. and Spangler, Jerry D. (19 Mar 2004). “1/3 of lawmakers facing a contest in own parties.” Deseret News.
# “Republican county conventions.” (25 April 2004). Salt Lake Tribune.
# “Lawmakers are assured they’re not that popular – On the Stump: Political Briefs.” (22 Aug 2004). Salt Lake Tribune.
# Rolly, Paul and Jacobsen-Wlls, JoAnn. (30 August 2004). “Flag Flag-abuse law under fire, again.” Salt Lake Tribune.
# Warburton, Nicole and Stewart, Kirsten (16 Sep 2004). “Candidate lists change at deadline.” Salt Lake Tribune.
# “Legislator resigns to attend law school” (16 Sep 2004). Deseret News.
# “Candidate lists change at deadline.” (16 Sep 2004). Salt Lake Tribune.
# Loftin, Josh. “Incumbents outraise and outspend.” Deseret News.
# “Vacant seat filled in the Utah House” (21 Oct 2004). Salt Lake Tribune.
# “GOP replacement set after legislator resigns.” (23 Oct 2004). Deseret News.

Grading political ads

October 1, 2010

Deseret News and KSL are teaming up for a new project, beyond their joint news reporting. They announced shortly after their merger they would be working to “elevate the tone and nature of engagement in the political arena”.

The Deseret Media Companies CEO Mark Willes said they want to “help candidates focus on what they stand for” and “focus on real issues rather than things that really aren’t issues.” So, they have decided they will start grading political ads on their “civility”. From the DNews article about this new plan, we read that “one or more” independent groups will rate these ads. At least one of those group will consist of poli-sci students at the University of Utah.

According to the DMC statement, political dialogue should:

 Focus on issues and facts, not innuendo.
Discuss platforms and avoid personal attacks.
Inform rather than incite the electorate.
Avoid hyperbole in favor of balanced and reasoned discussion.
Afford respect and dignity to the political process, political opponents and other people regardless of race, nationality, religion and political viewpoint.

In a recent class those same poli-sci students were told the goal is to shame candidates into pulling their ads if the group deemed them “negative”. They were also told that threats of a lawsuit could convince smaller market radio and TV stations to pull the ads.

Recent experience would seem to show that one person’s negative ad is another person’s honest reporting of the facts. So what do you think? Should we start grading political ads? Why or why not?

Colorado’s primary results

August 11, 2010

Incumbent Senator Michael Bennet survived a strong intra-party challenge from former Colorado House Speaker, Andrew Romanoff.  (Yes, the one that was offered a job by the White House if he would drop out of the race.).  Bennet won with 54.2% of the vote, while Romanoff received 45.7%.
Bennet had establishment backing from Obama, the DSCC and Organizing for America while Romanoff countered with endorsements from former President Clinton and big labor.  Most facinating, this was the first major race in Colorado where Democrats did not unite behind a single candidate – at least since the 2004 “Colorado Miracle”.  In fact, Romanoff became Colorado’s Speaker because of the focused, effective battle the “Gang of Four” waged against Colorado Republicans. He then went on to use that very same battle strategy against Senator Bennet, including some very negative campaigning.  This time, however, it was unsuccessful.  National media called the Colorado race the nastiest of the year.  In fact, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine will travel to Colorado this week to speak at a unity event and work to heal the deep rift within the party and help Sen Bennet hold on to his seat in November.

The Republicans did not fare much better.  Tea party candidate Ken Buck, another so-called political outsider (who actually wasn’t that much of an outsider), defeated former Lt Governor Jane Norton with 51.5% of the vote.  Buck has a few faux-pas’ himself.  He was caught on tape wondering when the “dumba…s” tea partiers would stop asking him about Obama’s birth certificate.  Oops.  He does not believe that stumbles in the primary will follow him into the general.  He was endorsed by Jim DeMint and has publicly stated the political person he most admires is the SC Senator.  Still, he will have his work cut out for him to defeat Bennet in November.

Bloodied and battered, the two primary winners must now struggle to unite their respective parties and win over unaffiliated voters to win the election in November.  Expect more fireworks.  And mud.  Lots and lots of mud.

In Colorado’s gubernatorial GOP primary, Dan Maes defeated former Rep. Scott McInnis.  Maes faces Democrat John Hickenlooper, the Denver mayor, and American Constitution Party candidate Tom Tancredo, a former GOP congressman, in the general election.  Tancredo got in the race because he did not believe either Maes or McInnis represented a good option for governor.  McInnis was embroiled in a plagarism scandal, while Maes has his own ethical issues and fundraising troubles.

Colorado state Rep. Scott Tipton defeated Sarah Palin-endorsed veteran Bob McConnell in Democratic Rep. John Salazar’s district.  (John is the older brother to Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar.)  Tipton had the endorsement of Utah’s Jason Chaffetz and has gotten campaign advice from Chaffetz’ campaign manager, Deidre Henderson.

Meanwhile Aurora City Councilman Ryan Frazier won out over Lang Sias, (who was endorsed by John McCain, Sarah Palin and Tom Tancredo) for the GOP nomination. He will face Rep. Ed Perlmutter in November in a race that favors the incumbent.

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