Bluegrass Politics: You can’t handle the truth!

With less than two months until Election Day, it’s that time when political parties dispense with any notion of telling the truth, in favor of an all-consuming quest to win elections. There’s no better example than what the Republican Party of Kentucky is trying to get away with in Northern Kentucky’s 4th Congressional District, where it hopes against hope that freshman U.S. Rep. Geoff Davis (R) can hold off a challenge from former Rep. Ken Lucas (D).

Earlier this month, the RPK began a series of direct mail attack pieces on Davis’ behalf, accusing Lucas of being soft on illegal immigration. The pieces throw around phrases like “it’s like leaving your door wide open at night,” and asserts that Lucas has “opposed tougher immigration standards” and supports giving “Social Security to illegal immigrants.”

Of course, Lucas offered no such things.
As support for the assertions, the mail pieces cite a total of eight House votes Lucas purportedly cast in 2003 and 2004. So I took a close look. First of all, seven of the eight votes were on amendments to enormous pieces of legislation where Lucas voted with the strong majority of the Republican-controlled House. Even more eyebrow-raising was that in each of these seven votes, Lucas was joined by Republican members of Kentucky’s own delegation! In fact, U.S. Rep. Anne Northup (R) joined with Lucas on five of those votes.
The eighth vote cited was a party-line vote on whether to extend an immigration pilot program from six years to 11 years — hardly backing the assertion that “Lucas opposed measures that would strengthen enforcement of our immigration laws.”

It’s the audacious hypocrisy that gets me. While the RPK champions Northup’s position on immigration, it falsely claims Lucas is awful on the subject because he voted the same way Northup and other Kentucky Republicans voted. Perhaps more galling is when you read Northup’s own campaign Web site; she actually supports amnesty for illegal aliens — a position even Lucas does not advocate.

Of course, Northup tries to confuse readers by saying, “I do oppose amnesty,” but then in the same breath she offers, ”but because mass deportation is not plausible, I am open to discussing a path to citizenship, but only for those who truly want to become Americans.” But that “path to citizenship” is precisely the very amnesty proposal that Congress is debating now, and Northup makes clear that she supports it.

However, don’t expect the RPK to explain this hypocrisy; it’s too busy with the next hit piece. By their account, the guy who opposes amnesty is wrong on illegal immigration, while the one that champions it is rock-solid on the issue.

In the meantime, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), chief sponsor of the immigration bill that Republicans claim to loathe, is headlining a RPK fundraiser on Monday in Northern Kentucky.

If the Republican Party truly wanted to do something about illegal immigration, a good place to start would be to aggressively target American businesses that hire illegal workers. Right? Unsurprisingly, however, those very business interests, which fund the modern-day Republican Party, are the ones that want the immigration bill and a guest worker program. (Funny how you don’t hear much about that contentious disagreement.)

In Kentucky, there’s an even more egregious example of hypocrisy. Earlier this year, federal prosecutors busted the enormous Northern Kentucky home-builder, Fischer Homes, for hiring 76 undocumented workers, and brought criminal charges against a number of its supervisors.

The CEO of Fischer Homes is top Republican Party donor Henry Fischer. It’s noteworthy that over the past few years, Fischer has personally contributed $10,000 to Davis, $5,000 to Northup, $11,000 to the RPK, $10,000 to the Republican National Committee and $5,000 to President Bush. Good luck finding any of Fischer’s contributions to prominent Democrats.

Hmmm. Something smells bad. But this is election season, where truth always becomes the first casualty. Mainstream media are too busy chasing other stories to focus on such over-the-top behavior — or they’ve simply concluded that the public expects this level of dishonesty. Why bother wasting energy or column inches?

In the meantime, the RPK will continue its dishonest immigration assault on candidates like Lucas for positions they don’t hold, while hypocritically praising Republicans who do hold them. They’ll happily invite the chief proponent of the immigration reform they’re attacking to help fill its coffers, and in attendance will likely be the CEO of a company whose employees now face criminal charges for hiring dozens of illegal workers.
And politicians wonder why voters no longer care.

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