Our partisan politics gets smellier and smellier than ever — and partisans and parties defend the smelly practices, issuing statements that even a mosquito knows are flimsy, unconvincing cover-story plausible deniability statements that are…smelly. Partisans fall in line with each smelly lowering of the bar in American politics because it’s their political sports team trying to get the advantage. The latest: Republicans are setting up websites that look like fundraising websites for Democrats and but the money goes to Republicans.
And, or course, it’s defended with an argument that will only have Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity and conservative bloggers nodding their heads say, “Nothing wrong with that!” as the rest of American dons gas masks.
Republicans are defending a series of websites they established that appear to support Democratic candidates for Congress, but instead direct contributions to the GOP.
The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) said its websites were not confusing, and accused Democrats of crying foul because their candidates were struggling.
The sites, like this one for Arizona Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, feature a “Kyrsten Sinema for Congress” banner, and a picture of the first-term congresswoman from a competitive Maricopa County district.
The sites also display a clear, but smaller secondary banner, urging contributions to “help defeat” (in this case) Sinema. At the bottom of the page, it features an NRCC disclaimer.
“Democrats are clearly pitching stories on these effective websites because they are worried about voters learning the truth about their candidates’ disastrous records,” said NRCC spokeswoman Andrea Bozek. “Anyone who reads the website understand these are negative attacks. Also as required our disclaimer is at the bottom.”
Asked whether the website was potentially confusing to a potential donor seeking to support a Democratic candidate for Congress, Bozek said: “I think we give voters a little more credit than that.”
Chris Cillizza’s summary: “A National Republican Congressional Committee Web site is confusing voters who think their donations are going to Alex Sink, who’s running for Congress in Florida.”
I just heard the mosquito talk. He didn’t say “bull”but he said something close: “Horsefly.” Or something that comes out of a horse.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.