Saturday, August 28, 2010

Billionaire wingers from New York trying to buy elections in Arizona

Since Tuesday's primary results came in, showing David Schweikert to be the Republican nominee in CD5, television viewers have been inundated with ads deriding Democrats in general and Representatives Harry Mitchell and Ann Kirkpatrick in particular. 

The spots are the product of a Republican front organization named "Americans for Prosperity." (AFP)(The spot specifically targeting Mitchell and Kirkpatrick is here.  I won't embed it here, but will be referring to it later. :) )

AFP is dedicated to protecting the short-term financial interests of large corporations and the ultra-wealthy, organizing and funding campaigns against health care reform, efforts to address climate change, tobacco regulations, balanced state budgets, and anything resembling a social safety net (like Social Security).  It has also played a big part in funnelling money and direction to the tea party movement within the Republican Party.

As this article from The New Yorker documents, AFP is the brainchild of David Koch who, with his brother Charles, owns almost all of Koch Industries, one of the country's biggest polluters (hence their opposition to industry/environmental regulations).  Aside from AFP, the Koch brothers are literally two of the biggest contributors to Republican/corporate causes, donating approximately $100 million over the years.

That's all just background to the latest attack ads that they are bombing Arizonans with.

The spot that targets Harry Mitchell and Ann Kirkpatrick specifically has, shall we say, a rather "weak" relationship with the truth (focusing on the Mitchell-related stuff) -

Lie:  The spot refers to Mitchell as a "Washington liberal."

Reality: Mitchell was born and raised in Tempe.  He married his high school sweetheart there and has lived in the same house in Tempe for almost 50 years.  He taught at Tempe High for 28 years.  He served Tempe (and Scottsdale and the rest of CD5) as a member of the City Council, Mayor, State Senator, and Congressman for almost 40 years.

Reality: Harry Mitchell is hardly a "liberal" (a fact that occasionally infuriates actual liberals in CD5, like yours truly :) ).  Don't take my word for it - the liberal group Americans for Democratic Action graded Mitchell's voting record as 60% liberal, with the average Democratic grade as 85% and fellow AZers Pastor and Grijalva at 100%.  Mitchell is one of an ever-shrinking group in Congress - the moderates.

Lie: When Harry Mitchell voted in support of the health care reform, he voted for something that will cost a trillion dollars,balloon the federal deficit, limit medical choices, and gut Medicare.

Reality: HCR will reduce the federal deficit by $143 million, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.

Reality: According to WebMD, HCR doesn't limit choice any more than the current system does.

Reality: According to the AARP (hardly a partisan organization), HCR actually strengthens Medicare by, among other things, reducing prescription costs for seniors.

Reality:  David Schweikert, the AFP-supported Republican candidate in CD5, is actually the candidate in the race who supports Republican Representative Paul Ryan's plan for privatizing Social Security and ending Medicare.

Lie (or fib, at least): Arizonans "overwhelmingly" oppose HCR.

Reality: They are citing a poll from Rasmussen Reports.  Rasmussen is known for being somewhat biased and partisan, favoring Republican positions in their polling results. (OK, if the RNC decided to say that Magellan and centuries of scientific observations are wrong and the world is actually flat, Rasmussen would come out with a poll that says that 70% of Americans agree...but I digress :) ).

Reality: More objective polling organizations, such as Gallup, show that the country is sharply divided on the issue.

Lie: The spot claims that Mitchell votes for the positions and interests of Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Democratic leadership, ahead of the interests of Arizonans.

Reality: As this Washington Post study shows, Mitchell is the sixth-most independent member of Congress, voting with his party's leadership less than 80% of the time.  He's easily the most independent member of the AZ delegation, Republican or Democrat.

...OK, that's just the wonky, facts-centered stuff.

The juicy, gossipy stuff from analyzing the ad is this -

One of the actors in the spot (pic from the spot below), Greg from Scottsdale (I think)

is "sort of" well known within local tea party circles -

Not just a paid demonstrator/actor he. 

He's a true believer and has a website where he offers to "coach" interested folks on living his philosophy...over the $45 per hour.

Gotta pay for the photoshopped photos of President Obama in white-face somehow...

AFP and the Koch brothers may think this guy and David Schweikert are typical CD5ers, but they lens through which they view Arizona is a rather long one (Oklahoma, D.C., and NYC) and rather scratched.

Of course, with Schweikert's penchant for vulture investing, picking the bones of desperate Arizona homeowners, Schweikert is probably what they *hope* the typical CD5er is like.

Harry Mitchell, with his lifetime in and dedication to Arizona, is far more representative of CD5.


Thane Eichenauer said...

I disagree with your labeling of AFP as a Republican front organization. AFP supports limited government and a free market. If 92% of Democratic Party candidates choose not to support limited government and a free market you can hardly complain if they end up supporting Republicans.

Alicia said...

I don't think it matters whether AFP gets involved in the CD5 race or not. Voters are pretty fed up in that race against Harry Mitchell for voting for Obamacare and the billion dollar bailouts - and don't forget that even though some of those bailouts came from the Bush administration, Mitchell and any member of either party who voted for them are reaping the consequences.

testcase said...

Actually, the other ads targeting democrats have tea party and GOP operatives in them. Look at the one running against Giffords.