McAuliffe and Negative Campaigning

By VA Blogger

Terry McAuliffe sent out a mailer full of reported facts that reflect negatively on Creigh Deeds and Brian Moran. This brought on a debate from Deeds and Moran supporters on how T-Mac claims to be the “positive” candidate but “attacks” his opposing candidates, resulting in the following responses from McAuliffe supporters:

Ben Tribbett:

I’m outraged at people calling the T-Mac mailer negative. Since when are facts like money raised or votes taken negative?

Lowell Feld:

Aside from whining about supposed “attacks,” can anyone point to statements in Terry’s mailing that are factually inaccurate? If not, then by definition they can’t be “attacks,” unless you believe that your candidate’s own record is somehow bad.

I find Lowell’s comments the most interesting, given how long he’s been trying to sell McAuliffe. T-Mac, for his part, has taken a very subjective view of his own record:

His time as Bill Clinton’s fundraiser, including selling the Lincoln bedroom to the richest donors? Not relevant.

His time as DNC Chairman, cozying up with Wall Street investors and corporate megadonors? Not relevant.

So what is relevant? Apparently, it’s only his record as a businessman, and his ability to create jobs (though none of them have ever been created in Virginia). Oh, but his investment in Global Crossing, a company he made millions off of before more than ten thousand employees lost their jobs? Not relevant.

For his part, Brian Moran released a TV ad attacking McAuliffe’s record, even the parts McAuliffe says don’t matter:

In case you don’t have the source materials Moran quotes handy, here they are:

New York Times:

Obama ran against exactly the kind of big-money 1990s politics that McAuliffe has come to represent. A McAuliffe victory would signal that despite all the talk of a new kind of politics for the party in the age of Obama, the old kind of Democratic politics is still doing quite well.

Washington Post:

McAuliffe has made a fortune investing — sometimes in companies that went bust, laid off thousands and drained investors’ and employees’ savings.

So what’s McAuliffe’s response?

Of course. They’re “false attacks”. Why are they false? McAuliffe never bothers to explain. After all, all Moran’s ad does is quote directly from what’s been reported in the Post and Times. Are they attacks? According to the standard of Ben Tribbett and Lowell Feld, no, they’re not. They’re facts. They’re McAuliffe’s record.

And when someone with such a long public record is only running on a small faction of it and is waving his arms frantically saying, “Don’t pay attention to the rest! Look at this one bank I helped!”, it makes me wonder what else he’s hiding, and why he really wants to be Governor in a state he’s had no involvement in before 10 months ago.


Comments

  • Loudoun Lady says:

    What about T-Mac apparently trying to buy off Ralph Nader in 2004 when he was DNC Chair? Nader claims he was asked to drop out of the race in 19 battleground states in exchange for an “undisclosed sum of money”.

    I didn’t hear TM’s denial, but it was on the news last night. It probably sounded something like “I did not have sex with that woman, Ms Lewinsky…..”

  • I Bleed Obama Blue says:

    There’re quite a few “so what’s” in this post, VAB.

    “[McAuliffe’s] time as Bill Clinton’s fundraiser, including selling the Lincoln bedroom to the richest donors? Not relevant.” The Lincoln Bedroom was rented rather than sold, but regardless: So what? I don’t see anything particularly wrong with having invited donors to visit the White House.

    “[McAuliffe’s] time as DNC Chairman, cozying up with Wall Street investors and corporate megadonors? Not relevant.” It was his JOB, VAB, to raise funds for the DNC. Who donates money? People with…wait for it…MONEY! Another enormous “so what.”

    “[McAuliffe’s] investment in Global Crossing, a company he made millions off of before more than ten thousand employees lost their jobs? Not relevant.” I gotta tell you, VAB, I too invested in Global Crossing, and I lost my shirt! Being familiar with the company & its history, I can tell you that Global Crossing, its employees, and its investors were casualties of the dot com bubble & subsequent collapse and a bad business model. McAuliffe had nothing to do with it.

    “…why [McAuliffe] really wants to be Governor in a state he’s had no involvement in before 10 months ago.” No involvement in VA? How about 18 years of residency? This is the kookiest nutjob talking point of the campaign.

  • I’m laughing my ass off here at the comical defense by I bled Obama out.

  • IBOB, McAuliffe was a resident for 18 years, but it doesn’t look like – at least from what I’ve seen – he’s been involved at any level at all in local or state politics. If that’s wrong, I’ve yet to see any evidence to the contrary.

    You may not think that selling the Lincoln Bedroom to the highest bidder isn’t a problem, but most Americans do – even former lobbyists like myself who generally don’t have a problem with fundraising and gimmicks. Access to the member is one thing, but using a room in a house owned by the taxpayers chock full of priceless artifacts of the American experience has a way to gin up campaign dollars is repugnant to me. That room was the Executive Office of the President until Theodore Roosevelt built the West Wing. The Emancipation Proclamation was signed and read to the cabinet for the first time there. So much history has happened in that room, and Clinton turned it into a slot machine.

    McAuliffe is pulling the old political bait and switch routine we’ve all seen a thousand times before. When it damages me, it’s a unfair attack and a dirty trick. When it damages my opponent, well, it’s just a fact, see? Facts aren’t attacks right?

    No one is falling for it. If you all nominate McAuliffe, be prepared to see all of this, and more, because these are all facts that he’s going to have to own up to. This isn’t 1992 – he can’t just say “these are all lies” over and over again and hope no one investigates deeper. We will.

  • I Bleed Obama Blue says:

    Why & how does McAuliffe’s lack of prior local political involvement matter? He’s been deeply involved in Democratic politics virtually his entire life. He has the political skill, drive, and determination to be a excellent Governor, especially with a Democratic majority in the HoD.

    “So much history has happened in [the Lincoln Bedroom], and Clinton turned it into a slot machine.” How is that relevant in the VA gubernatorial race?

    “McAuliffe is pulling the old political bait and switch routine we’ve all seen a thousand times before.” And this surprises/bothers you, Brain, a former lobbyist? You’ll see Bobby Mac do the same thing once the dust settles from 6/9. It’s just politics, Brian. As you know, no candidate is perfect or without blemishes. When confronted with their foibles, do you expect candidates to embrace them? That doesn’t get one elected.

  • His lack of experience, IBOB, goes directly to his character. It highlights what appears to be political opportunism on his part. Deeds and Moran have paid their dues, working hard in jobs that didn’t pay that well and representing constituents. They made hard choices and were held accountable by the voters for their decisions. McAuliffe hasn’t run for anything other than DNC Chair, if that can even be called an election – not even on the local level. He may have experience running a party apparatus, but he doesn’t have any experience governing. He’s never held a post under government in his life – I’ve got more government experience than he does. That’s a negative in my book.

    The fundraising business is, again, a question of character. The man is willing to do anything for a contribution, from wrestling alligators to turning the Lincoln Bedroom into a political favor. Having that kind of person in charge of the economy of my state concerns me. What won’t he do for a contribution?

    It doesn’t surprise me that he’s calling his detractors liars when they aren’t, or that he’s dodging his past – I expect that. But at the same time, I also expect honest responses to criticism, not the “same tired politics” Obama railed against when it was in his interests to do so. Claiming you aren’t attacking your opponents when you are is dumb. Just admit what you’re doing.

  • Loudoun Lady says:

    “Why & how does McAuliffe’s lack of prior local political involvement matter?”

    Considering he will be representing the STATE of VA and it’s citizens, not the politicians and PAC’s he has experience with, I’d say there is a huge difference. I actually find your question rather appauling considering this man is running for Governor.

    I agree politicians have their faults, but Mac’s are large and wide, and gosh darn it, people don’t really like him. Ask Richmond Dem what he thinks of old Mac, I don’t think everyone on your side is as smitten as you.

  • G. Stone says:

    The mafia term for Mac is Bag Man. Mac was the Clinton /DNC Bag man. We don’t want a former Bag Man as our Gov.

  • Loudoun Lady says:

    I would LOVE to see MAC wrestle an alligator, perhaps that is what he was doing on Hillary’s campaign?

  • Here’s to hoping the Dems are gullible enough to nominate this huckster.

  • Alter of Freedom says:

    Is Lowell feld a hired gun or what? The guy bashed the hell of Clinton (at first of course he was supportive) after jumping on the Obama wagon and yet he now finds himself sitting good with Terry. Was Lowell and RK not the ones coming down on Terry’s tactics at running campaigns last year and now Lowell somehow supports the guy. I find very little integrity in that endorsement given the record of criticism thrown out by Lowell and others formerly associated with RK during the Primary last year at Terry. But wait maybe they both of somehow seen the light….

  • I Bleed Obama Blue says:

    “[McAuliffe] may have experience running a party apparatus, but he doesn’t have any experience governing. He’s never held a post under government in his life…that’s a negative in my book”

    You know, Brian, I seem to remember another fellow some years ago who won the governorship of California without any previous political experience. His name was Ronald Wilson Reagan. Perhaps you’ve heard of him? This was clearly a man lacking in character. I doubt that you would have voted to elect the former president of the Screen Actors Guild governor of California, either. Would you have been wrong?

    “The fundraising business is, again, a question of character.”

    You believe that doing one’s job well shows a lack of character?

    “It doesn’t surprise me that he’s calling his detractors liars when they aren’t, or that he’s dodging his past – I expect that. But at the same time, I also expect honest responses to criticism, not the “same tired politics” Obama railed against when it was in his interests to do so.”

    First, McAuliffe isn’t Obama. Second, what is an “honest response” to political criticism? Political criticism is usually dishonest in itself, with generous twisting of facts and innuendo intended to mislead the voter. Take the Global Crossing accusation VAB made above. McAuliffe invested in GC & earned a health return. Isn’t that the American way? As an investor, it’s hogwash that McAuliffe had anything to do with GC’s demise; but, according to VAB, McAuliffe was at the helm when GC went down. Hell will freeze over before you’ll find honesty in politics, on either side of the aisle.

  • Alter of Freedom says:

    Yeah, Bleeding Obama Blue I guess the differnce is people like Martha Stewart went to jail because she they decided to investigate her over her stock transactions….you think anyone in Washington or Justice or any other government agency today would investigate Terry and the Global Crossing investment concerning what he knew, when he knew it and more over how he knew it. He certainly may not have done anything or been privy to anything but in the face of what we have seen it all smacks of being fishy.
    But hey, Congress will not even demand the books of Acorn-now receiving out tax dollars through government grants and NOT just funds from the Obama campaign BTW–be opened up for investigation so why shoukld anyone think for one second they wcare about whether Terry got some tips before he sold off his stake.

  • IBOB, Reagan had plenty of political experience, as the leader of a labor union. He was elected to that post, and having been involved in a number of union elections, they are as tough as any other kind of election out there.

    And given the choices, I would probably have voted for Reagan regardless. But comparing Terry McAuliffe to Ronald Reagan is like comparing my brother’s garage band to the Beatles.

    I don’t have a problem with him doing his job – I have a problem with how he did it. Arguably Jack Abramoff did his job well, but I have a problem with how he did it.

    VAB’s comment about Global Crossing is true – he was a major investor in a company that ended up ruining thousands of people’s lives. Whether it’s fair to criticize him for that is the argument, not whether it happened. You can’t call someone who mentions that fact “a liar.” I can state two facts back to back that are both true, and if someone draws an incorrect conclusion that there is some relationship, that’s not a lie. Michael Moore’s made his career doing it. That’s politics.

    What McAuliffe is doing isn’t clarifying the record – he’s just calling his opponents liars. They aren’t. If he wants to respond to the attacks, he should respond substantively, not just with a Clintonian “vast right wing conspiracy” style response that avoids the issue.

  • VA Blogger says:

    More to the point, he’s calling the Post and the Times liars. That’s a much harder sell.

  • I Bleed Obama Blue says:

    Brian, you said that McAuliffe didn’t have experience governing. Neither did Reagan. I did not say that Reagan lacked political experience, just as you did not say McAuliffe lacks political experience. So what’s your point? Reagan ran a union; McAuliffe has run companies and was elected to the lead the DNC. Are you really arguing that Reagan’s pre-gubernatorial political experience trumps McAuliffe’s? Still, neither of them has (had) governed before.

    “…comparing Terry McAuliffe to Ronald Reagan is like comparing my brother’s garage band to the Beatles.” You’re certainly welcome to your opinion, Brian, for what it’s worth.

    “[McAuliffe] was a major investor in a company that ended up ruining thousands of people’s lives.” That statement is rather melodramatic. GC wasn’t a fraud, it was a lousy business model poorly executed. As I mentioned, I lost money on CG, too. McAuliffe owned and equity stake, Brian. He wasn’t a manager; he didn’t make business decisions regarding operations. The inference that he was somehow responsible for GC’s demise is complete bullshit and it IS a lie. You’re right, Brian, that’s politics; but, it certainly isn’t honest.

  • Alter of Freedom says:

    Facts are facts Bleeding Obama…consult folks who worked for the company and then come back and say that T-mac didn’t involve himself in the business side of the equation to protect his investment. Thats like saying that Mark warner was not really involved in the business ventures that he has touted; afterall in quite a few he was “merely an investor” right?

Leave Comment