Unquestionably, a political party is expected to advocate for its side and denounce the opponents. So, is a political campaign.
But, how far, is too far? We punish our kids when they are caught in not telling the truth or making knowingly false claims. But in the land of politics, we are most forgiving.
Here are two recent examples (of many) of what I consider to be questionable statements. In this case, the comments are from the LAGOP and the others are from the Mary Landrieu campaign.
While both campaign emails are bringing up legitimate questions, they are overselling. The question I ask is whether they are engaging in the same practice of which they blast their respective opponents.
Let us first look at a recent press email from the Louisiana GOP:
LAGOPAnnounces GruberGate Website
The Republican Party of Louisiana today announced a microsite highlighting the connection between Mary Landrieu’s lies about ObamaCare and the recently revealed comments of White House ObamaCare advisor Jonathan Gruber. Visitors to the website,www.lagop.com/grubergate, can view ObamaCare architect Jonathan Gruber calling voters stupid and bragging about tricking people into supporting ObamaCare, President Obama saying he stole many ideas from Gruber, and Sen. Mary Landrieu reaffirming her support for the wildly unpopular health care law:
“Recently uncovered remarks from White House ObamaCare advisor Jonathan Gruber serve as a stark reminder that Mary Landrieu lied about ObamaCare,”LAGOPExecutive Director Jason Dore said. “Landrieu promised on several occasions if consumers liked their healthcare they could keep it. However, Gruber’s comments touting ObamaCare’s lack of transparency make it more clear than ever the White House and Congressional Democrats like Mary Landrieu were intent on concealing every poison pill embedded in the legislation.
“Landrieu needs to level with voters and explain why she does not regret voting for ObamaCare and whether she really does think that Louisiana voters are stupid.”
Perhaps, the question to ask is whether the LAGOP is stating accurate facts in its own claim that Landrieu has engaged In a “lie” regarding this issue?
No doubt, Gruber’s remarks further tarnishes Obamacare on key points. True, Obama said he stole key points from Gruber. Unquestionably, Mary Landrieu has supported the law which is more unpopular in Louisiana than in most other states. For her support, she is paying the political price, in particularly, among white voters.
However, what proof does the GOP or anyone have that Landrieu or Obama or any other Congressperson lied about knowing whether we could keep our health insurance? They were definitely wrong. One could argue that if Gruber was deceiving, then, high Obama officials were in on the deception. Personally, I believe there are enough facts to ask questions or even to engage in a Congressional investigation or probe to determine how far any “deceptions” on specific issues might extend. Let us even assume that Obama and top aides were actively involved in deceiving the public on various matters, how does that prove that Landrieu “lied” about the same set of facts or about any Obamacare facts?
Making a statement that is not correct, is not a lie. The statement and circumstances might raise various questions about accuracy, about being gullible, about not investigating before making claims, but in my opinion, claiming a statement or set of statements constitute “lies” without actually knowing what was in the speaker’s mind (in this case, Landrieu’s), is patently unfair and wrong.
But, this is politics so therefore calling someone a “liar” or claiming a “lie”, without any real proof, is par for the course and fair game?
Now, it’s time for recent comments from the Landrieu campaign.
On Saturday, the campaign sent out a missive announcing that Bill Cassidy lied about Landrieu’s position on immigration reform, particularly amnesty.
Here is the Landrieu email:
AUDIO: CASSIDY CAUGHT IN HIS OWN LIE, ACCIDENTALLY ADMITS HE DOESN’T BELIEVE SENATOR LANDRIEU SUPPORTS AMNESTY
Senator Rubio A No-Show At Today’s Event
Embarrassingly Small Crowd Shows Up For Cassidy’s ‘Victory Rally’
At a campaign stop in Gonzalez, Louisiana today, Congressman BillCassidywas caught in his multiples lies about Senator MaryLandrieu’s position on immigration when he said the comprehensive immigration reform bill she voted for last year did not equate toamnesty.
In an exchange with a participant at the event, CongressmanCassidysaid he does not oppose Senator Marco Rubio’s bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform bill that he has repeatedly attacked SenatorLandrieufor voting for — even calling it "amnesty" in campaign ads, speeches, and debates.
“CongressmanCassidy’s hypocrisy was on full display for the few Louisiana voters that showed up at today’s event,” said Fabien Levy, Communications Director for theLandrieucampaign. “Caught in a lie, CongressmanCassidyhad no choice but to admit the bill he has attacked SenatorLandrieufor supporting is the furthest thing fromamnesty.”
While the event was dubbed a “Victory Rally” with Senator Rubio, the senator was a no-show, leaving CongressmanCassidyto stand only with his long-time friend and political mentor, Governor Bobby Jindal. Even more embarrassing than being stood up by Senator Rubio was the fact that no more than 60 voters showed up at today’s event that was hyped up to be a huge unity rally.
CongressmanCassidyhas also campaigned in Louisiana with Senator John McCain, another architect of the bipartisan immigration bill, despite misleading voters by calling the bill “amnesty” when referring to SenatorLandrieu’s vote for it.
CongressmanCassidyhas been caught in the past for lying about SenatorLandrieu’s position on immigration. His immigration ads have been called “false,” “bogus,” and “ridiculous” by independent fact checkers, who have gone on to say the ads are full of “hypocrisy.”
The following is the exchange between CongressmanCassidyand the participant at today’s event:
Participant:“Dr.Cassidy, so nice to meet you.”
CongressmanCassidy:“Nice to meet you.”
Participant: “I’m just… Don’t you think Senator Rubio supportsamnestyas well?”
CongressmanCassidy: “Rubio, well he’s not going to be for executiveamnesty, I can tell you that.”
Participant: “But he voted for the same bill that SenatorLandrieudid.”
CongressmanCassidy: “Yeah, you can ask him about that.”
Participant: “But what do you think?”
CongressmanCassidy: “Uhhhhh… I’m againstamnesty. And so…”
Participant: “So are you against Senator Rubio’samnesty?”
CongressmanCassidy: “No, not at all. Well, I’ll tell you what, I’ll discuss it with Rubio.”
Audio from today’s event that can be used for news reports can be foundHERE.
Ok. So, where’s the multiple lie? In fact, where are the multiple lies?
When the participant (actually, seemed to me to be a shill trying to trap Cassidy) asked if Rubio “supports amnesty as well?”, Cassidy replied, “Yeah, you can ask him about that”. We can only guess what Cassidy meant by “yeah”.
That statement arguably is an admission that there could be or that there is an inconsistency. But a lie?
The next question by the participant, “But what do you think?”
Think about what? The moon? Whether Cassidy thinks that Landrieu and Rubio are both in favor of amnesty but Cassidy only blasted Landrieu?
Regardless, Cassidy responds, perhaps unresponsively to the ambiguous question, “I’m against amnesty”.
Is this a lie when it is totally uncertain how Cassidy has interpreted the question in the first place? He might have been dodging participant’s inquiry, but without more information, do we know anything here, for sure?
Then, Participant asked, so are you against Rubio’s amnesty?
Cassidy then replies, “No, not at all. Well, I’ll tell you what, I’ll discuss it with Rubio”
Since Rubio voted for the same legislation as did Landrieu, and since Cassidy blasted Landrieu on this issue, but not Rubio’s vote, and since Cassidy blasted Landrieu for favoring amnesty but he fails to do the same against Rubio or McCain or others, there would seem to be a stark inconsistency. However, the question was not clearly framed nor were the responses clear.
While, it would absolutely be fair to ask Cassidy questions to reconcile the differences, claiming that he has lied is simply a stretch. Asserting “multiple lies” is even more so.
In short, do we know what Cassidy knew about Rubio’s position at the time of this conversation? Do we even know if Cassidy understood the questions being asked as they were intended? If not, then how can anyone assert that Cassidy intentionally tried to deceive or cover-up or mislead, in any way?
Arguably, Cassidy might have realized towards the end of the encounter that he was in an area of great inconsistency and so therefore needed to deflect the subject, thus perhaps, the reason he would ask Rubio for more information. Even this view, in my opinion, falls into the area of speculation and no more.
The conversation appears to me that Cassidy was caught in a rough patch and wanted out, but, that is only my opinion. Under no circumstance could I claim this to be a fact. Certainly, I cannot label his action as lying.
The Landrieu emails raises an interesting question about Landrieu’s vote versus the votes of Rubio, McCain and others. Hopefully we will receive more information. Until then, I’m letting this “dead dog” lie.
DO YOU AGREE OR DISAGREE WITH THE COLUMNIST? TELL US BELOW.