It has long been my firm conviction that most political advertising is conducted in bad faith. GOP Senate candidate Ron Johnson has been drawing criticism for running an ad criticizing Russ Feingold for voting against a ban on drilling in the Great Lakes. Feingold did that, but he also voted for bans on drilling. A fair reading of his record, he claims, would show that he is an opponent of drilling. That's probably so.
But Feingold doesn't have clean hands here. He's run an ad stating that Johnson would "turn over" the Great Lakes to oil companies. The support for the claim is an answer that Johnson gave in an interview with WisPolitics.com in which he essentially said that, since we are currently dependent on fossil fuels and are likely to be for some quite time, we must extract needed resources from where those resources are. His answer did not mention the Great Lakes but the question to which he was responding is said to have used the Great Lakes as an example - although I have yet to see anyone reproduce it and it now seems to be behind WisPolitics pay wall.
It is, I think, a bit of a stretch to turn that into a stated intent to turn the Great Lakes over to oil companies. There is oil under the lakes but not enough to justify drilling for it - so they are not a place where, as a practical matter, oil "is" and so presumably not within those areas where Johnson says we must be willing to go. (Natural gas may be another matter but drilling for natural gas cannot result in oil spills which is what the Feingold ad is scaring us about.)
And even if it was fair (it is certainly legal and customary) to take an isolated remark and pack it to the ceiling, Johnson has now clarified his position. Whatever you might take from his WisPolitics interview, he's made clear that he is against Great Lakes drilling. Yet Feingold continues to feature the ad claiming that he is for it on his campaign website.
Tell me. Why isn't this a lie?