Monday, July 19, 2010

Drilling, lies and videotape

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 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?


Display Name said...

He found a loophole?

AnotherTosaVoter said...

The real question is why people believe in political parties, which are just like organized religions: groups people join that are based on bogus beliefs, justified by constant dishonesty and hypocrisy, just so people can feel like they "belong".

Anonymous said...

It's appears likely that it is a matter that they (Fiengold) will keep repeating the false claim until someone forces them to stop.

This is a big problem in society with regular people and now you have their Senator doing the same thing.

It is hard to tell if our politics reflects the sleaze of our society or if society reflects the sleaze of some politicians.

George Mitchell said...

It is a lie.

After 18 years in the U.S. Senate and another few years in the state Capitol, it is pathetic to see Feingold reduced to b.s. claims about his opponent. Feingold's key strategist, John Kraus, is a "master" at this kind of crap.