At Vox Verax and Minnesota Monitor we have taken exception to negative attack ads, not because they were against a candidate, but because they were untruthful. Witness our complaints about Minnesota DFL ads and Gil Gutknecht ads.
In an interview today with KTTC TV Station Manager Liz Dahlen today, we sensed her frustration with the PACs’, political parties’ and candidates’ competition for advertising time. (More later.)
Now a group called VoteVets.org has put out an ad targeting 1st Congressional District voters on the issue of support for veterans. It’s very simple and makes only two points:
(1) That incumbent Congressman Gil Gutknecht voted to increase his pay while
(2) He voted against expanding health care to veterans.
Is it truthful? Or does it turn the facts around to benefit the interests of the group placing the ads?
Here are the facts:
(1) Rep. Gutknecht had a chance to vote against automatic pay raises for members of Congress. He did not do this.
(2) Rep. Gutknecht had several chances to vote to increase benefits for veterans. In some cases he voted in the affirmative; in others he voted against.
Rep. Gutknecht would no doubt counter that his votes AGAINST increasing veterans’ benefits were, at least in part, due to his opposition to federal spending increases. While we agree with him that federal spending has grown out of control, his voting history has shown him to be pennywise but pound-foolish.
The two largest red ink items in the federal budget over the last six years have been (a) the war in Iraq ($2,000,000,000 PER WEEK, and I emphasize the zeros) and (b) the tax cuts that have benefited primarily the wealthiest 1% of Americans. These he has supported, almost without question.
Rep. Gutknecht has portrayed himself as a fiscal conservative, and for this aim we laud him. But what he SAYS and how he VOTES are two different things.
We cannot criticize the VoteVets.org ad. While they put the issue in simplistic terms, if you look at the voting record, they tell the truth.
And truth is the underpinning of everything in a democracy.