Note: The Stink Eye thinks context is important, especially during political campaigns, many of which tend to thrive on the lack of it. So for the next five issues, we’ll be here to offer some context and analysis to the squabbling that will no doubt pollute your eyes, ears and minds until Nov. 7. If you’ve got something to say — about us or them — write to [email protected]
It’s been two Fridays since Anne Northup unveiled www.theyarmuthrecord.com, a Web site devoted entirely to making opponent John Yarmuth look like a flamboyant and drug-addled old-person-hater who wants you to sell your SUV and renounce your faith. By the site’s estimation, he also hates people who live in the South End, he’s a class warrior who wants the gays to get married, and would love to feed his son — and yours — booze before he’s 21.
This is, typically, a morally bankrupt and anti-intellectual distortion of reality. Northup has culled 16 years of Yarmuth’s written word — he was a newspaper columnist, a paid provocateur, for God’s sake — and distilled it into what amounts to a position paper from the most liberal jackass the world has ever known.
Here’s some context:
• On abolishing Social Security: Northup’s ad contends Yarmuth favors abolishing the Social Security system. In fact, Yarmuth’s 1992 column predicts the financial collapse of the system, something President Bush also forecasted when he spoke in Louisville in 2004 with Anne Northup. The column suggests something akin to personal savings accounts, a different version of which Bush, more than a decade later, began advocating.
• On legalizing marijuana: Yarmuth’s Nov. 6, 2002 column discusses the Canadian decision to decriminalize marijuana, which he calls “entirely sensible.” It made possession of small amounts of marijuana punishable like a parking violation. Decriminalizing marijuana is different than legalizing it, as Northup’s latest attack ad fails to discern. (The Web site has PDFs of the copies of Yarmuth’s columns that Northup’s campaign made; in this one, as in others, nearly an entire half of the column is obscured by what appears to be a poor copying job.)
• On doubling the payroll tax: Yarmuth suggested in a primary debate that one way to extend Medicare to all Americans would be to double the payroll tax. Northup’s ad misses the hugely important second part of that sentence, as well as this: doubling the payroll tax — by his estimation — would actually cost less to the average worker than paying for health coverage currently does. Of course, if everyone had Medicare — which would require a tax increase — we wouldn’t be paying for private health care. Ultimately, Yarmuth’s concept suggests a way to extend health care to all Americans and, in the process, save them money.
• On lowering the drinking age: Northup’s ad cites a column Yarmuth wrote in July 2002 about drinking a beer with his son, Aaron, then 18, in Ireland. Yarmuth used that to ruminate on the effects of most of Europe’s 18+ drinking laws and how they may work in the United States, given the right political circumstance. He writes that it’s worth “pondering the wisdom of drawing a clear legal distinction between drug and alcohol consumption.”
The Northup ad ends with the candidate saying she approves the message because “voters deserve to know where we stand on the issues.” Of Northup’s three TV ads, none discuss current political issues — nor do any mention that she is A) a Republican; or B) a current incumbent member of Congress (they call her a “candidate for Congress”).
The first ad touts her so-called accomplishments for the 3rd District, citing the Ohio River Bridges Project, airport expansion, more Homeland Security dollars and a forthcoming Veterans’ Hospital. Everything else attempts to smear and attack Yarmuth.
Of Yarmuth’s three TV ads, one mentions Northup by name, a facetious and direct response to the aforementioned Northup ad that suggests Northup’s recent smear campaign is as ridiculous as the Democrat playing golf with Saddam Hussein or snatching toys from children. Northup has issued a response to that one, claiming Yarmuth doesn’t take the campaign seriously.
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