Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Republicans using despicable scare tactics and false information to try and sway voters

Republicans are in serious trouble.

With support for their failed conservative agenda all but gone, GOP operatives and party leaders are hoping to minimize their losses by waging an outrageously deceptive campaign of fear targeting Democrats on all levels, from congressional to legislative.

The most popular angle of attack is the lie that Democratic candidates will vote to increase taxes by mammoth proportions. Nightmarish consequences are painted out in these ads. The implication is made that if a voter votes Democratic, they could lose their home or go bankrupt.

Here's an example from NPI's very own district, the 45th LD.

Yesterday we received and analyzed two pieces of direct mail: one from Toby Nixon claiming he's worked to keep taxes low and another from the state Republican Party claiming that Eric Oemig will vote to increase taxes.

Both mail pieces suspiciously arrived on the same day and are similarly themed, except one is an outrageous attack ad and the other is a silly puff piece.

The Republican mailer attacking Eric Oemig is a completely worthless piece of garbage. It crumbles apart once you reframe and take a look at the facts. The three claims that make up the ad are as follows:
Claim: Oemig promised to make it easier to raise property taxes
Oemig has endorsed proposals to remove homeowner protection against skyrocketing property taxes.
The Truth: The bill in question, cited by the Republicans (HJR 4205) would amend the Constitution to allow a simple majority of voters to pass a school levy. The bill does not increase taxes, nor does it remove homeowner protections. It simply prevents a minority of voters from defeating school levies because the levy in question did not receive a supermajority vote.

This is a common sense reform that restores majority rule with minority rights instead of minority rule. Oemig is to be commended for supporting it.
Claim: Oemig promised to increase state spending by hundreds of millions of dollars.
Oemig told special interest groups he would fund projects for massive increases in state spending, totaling over $500 million in one budget alone.
The Truth: Republicans don't even cite a source for this laughable claim. That's enough to dismiss it entirely. Eric Oemig believes in fiscal responsibility and he believes in making good investments. It's ridiculous to imagine that Democrats support raising taxes just for the heck of it. It doesn't make any sense. Yet that is what Republicans are trying to goad voters into believing.
Claim:Oemig said he would have voted for a $4 billion tax increase.
Oemig said he would have voted for a proposed $4 billion tax increase - one that both our state Representattives [sic] opposed.
The Truth: The bill that the state Republican Party cited as its source (ESSB 6103) is one of the bills which made up the 2005 Transportation Package, a broad set of projects designed to upgrade our state's road and transit infrastructure. Regardless of how Representatives Nixon and Springer voted on the bill, the fact remains that the package was sanctioned twice - once by the Legislature and again by voters.

This Republican attack is extraordinarily dishonest. They know that voters rejected Initiative 912 and they know that Oemig's position is consistent with what the majority of the electorate in the 45th wants, but they're willing to lie anyway. Their efforts to intimidate voters deserve harsh condemnation.

Republicans will say anything - if they think they can scare voters away from voting Democratic.

Curiously, yet another mail piece came yesterday from another Republican campaign which criticized Democratic Representative Larry Springer for voting against the 2005 Transportation Package. (Springer says he voted no because the package included very little money for State Route 520).

So there you have it. If Democrats vote in favor of increasing transportation funding to pay for vital investments in our infrastructure, they get attacked. If they vote no, for whatever reason, whatever their concerns, they get attacked.

What does this tell us?

It tells us very plainly that Republicans don't really care about lowering taxes (and if they did, they'd get rid of corporate subsidies). What they care about is winning, expanding, and maintaining power. And they'll say or do whatever if it helps them defeat their opponent. Any angle of attack will do, even if it's contradicting something else another Republican campaign is saying.

The National Republican Congressional Committee is employing the same tactics against Darcy Burner. But their attacks are phony and false. As Darcy herself noted:
I do NOT support raising taxes on working families. In fact, I think that the Bush policies which have shifted the tax burden onto the middle class are destructive. We need to relieve that pressure, while at the same time stopping the runaway debt Bush is burdening us with. I approach this the same way I have approached managing finances in my role as a businesswoman or in my household: balance the budget while making the best investments possible.

I find it unconscionable that the Bush administration wants to pile their debt onto our children, while slashing the investments in education, infrastructure, and technology development that would secure a better future for everyone. It is especially awful to do it in order to pad the nests of profitable corporations and the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans.

Our current tax system places an unfair burden on middle class and working families – and the Bush administration and Republican Congress have made it worse. The President’s tax policies are bankrupting future generations for the short-term benefit of those who already get the most from this country.

Bush and his allies in Congress have riddled the tax code with new loopholes and subsidies that benefit special-interests and the very wealthy. By doing so, they have created a tax code that undermines the value of work and shifted more of the tax burden onto the middle class.

Under Bush, the middle-class share of the tax burden has risen while the wealthiest Americans’ share has dropped. The corporate picture is, in many cases, even worse, with companies like Exxon Mobil receiving billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies – at the same time they post the largest quarterly profits of any company in the history of the planet.

I support real tax reform. The tax system must be changed to ease the burden on the middle class and small businesses and ensure that large corporations and the very wealthy pay their fair share. This must be done in conjunction with balancing the federal budget and making smart investments in our national priorities.
We can refute these lies and distortions if we take the time and have the patience to explain the truth to our family and our frame. Reframing is key. If we can change the frame, we can change the discourse...and we win.

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