This ad has been bugging me for several weeks now. In the world of half-truths and distortions which is political advertising, this really stands out as using really tortured logic.
The text, taken from the website of the organization sponsoring it, is as follows:
Republican Rob McKenna claims he’s a moderate. But it turns out the National Republican Agenda would make abortion illegal, restrict access to contraception, cut education, essentially end medicare, and deny nearly 13 million women access to cancer screenings. (2012 Republican Party Platform; CBS News, 8/1/2012; Us News & World Report, 3/2/2011; Wall Street Journal, 4/4/2011; White House Council on Women and Girls 4/2012)
Rob McKenna is definitely not who he says he is.
Okay, let’s Just look at the claims here:
1. Republican Rob McKenna claims he’s a moderate.
Evidence for this claim — none given.
It probably is true that he has claimed this. McKenna has stated that he is no longer opposed to the Affordable Care Act and doesn’t want to see it repealed.
Oh, but that’s evidence that he actually is a moderate. Whoops!
2. But it turns out the National Republican Agenda would make abortion illegal, restrict access to contraception, cut education, essentially end medicare, and deny nearly 13 million women access to cancer screenings.
Evidence for this claim: (2012 Republican Party Platform; CBS News, 8/1/2012; Us News & World Report, 3/2/2011; Wall Street Journal, 4/4/2011; White House Council on Women and Girls 4/2012)
The evidence supports the claim, although the terminology used to characterize what that evidence says is arguable and selected to make McKenna look as bad as possible. Par for the course in political advertising.
Now, the whopper:
3. Rob McKenna is definitely not who he says he is.
Evidence for this claim: Nothing at all.
For claim 1 and 2 to justify claim 3, you would need to show some connection between things Rob McKenna has said about himself and some selected excerpts from the RNC Platform. Evidence that he supported or endorsed the Platform would be a start, but you’d really want to show that he supported those particular sections as written and characterized here. But none is given, or even seriously hinted at.
So, what you’d have to believe is that McKenna supports all of those things just because he’s a Republican, and all Republicans must slavishly follow every item of the RNC Platform. So, when he says he’s a moderate, he’s really just trying to trick you because there is no such thing as a moderate Republican, and everybody knows that.
This is one of a series of ads. Another has the same structure, but the 2nd claim this time has to do with McKenna supporting the campaigns of current and former Republican candidates. Once again, the only way that fact has anything to do with a conclusion is if you accept that supporting a Republican candidate in any way is proof that you’re not a moderate and must, by implication, be an extremist.
These ads aren’t being put out by McKenna’s opponent. They’re being put together by a list of usual suspects: Our Washington, PO Box 9100 Seattle WA 98109. Jason Bennett, treasurer.
Top five contributors: Democratic Governors Association, Washington Education Association PAC, National Education Association Advocacy Fund, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Justice for All PAC. Essentially, a Super-PAC funded by the people who have claimed outrage over the Citizens United decision that made the Super-PAC possible.
Full disclosure: I’ll be voting for McKenna, because he’s the last remaining Republican in the race, and he’s not obviously unqualified to do the job. I don’t think he’s the greatest thing since sliced bread, but I think he’s good enough to support. I recognize that he’s not as nice looking as his opponent, and that he’s much more likely to have received some wedgies and noogies back in school. But he’s not this evil, deceiving woman-hater these folks are using such insultingly stupid logic to make him appear to be. I’m looking for people who support his opponent to distance themselves from this grossly misleading advertising as a way of showing they have more character than this.