Monday, September 27, 2004

Tim Michels: Pants, Meet Ignition Source

by Tom Bozzo

Based on the primary campaign advertising stressing (among other things) Tim Michels' Inspiring Personal Story (TM), one might have thought that his campaign against Russ Feingold would at least make a pretense of running a clean race.

On second thought (*)...

A Michels ad on reimportation of drugs from Canada offers a bush-league (**) lie: Michels says "Unlike Russ Feingold, I'll fight for your right to buy safe and affordable prescription drugs from Canada." Feingold personally denounced the ad, saying he has "no problem with people criticizing my votes... The fact is my record is the complete opposite of what Michels says it is." The Michels campaign's retort is that they are addressing the lack of "results." (Never mind Bush administration opposition.) This does not have plausible deniability for a truthful defense.

The lame Capital Times story treats this as a he-said, she-said issue. It is not. Feingold is a cosponsor of S.2328, the Pharmaceutical Market Access and Drug Safety Act of 2004 (a.k.a. Imports of Prescription Drugs bill). While S.2328's sponsorship is primarily from the Democratic side of the aisle, its cosponsors include Trent Lott and John McCain. Here is additional reaction:

Tom Frazier, executive director of the Coalition of Wisconsin Aging Groups, listened to a tape of the ad and described it as ‘‘false.’’

‘‘In fact, Senator Feingold is co-sponsor of the best (importation) bill out there,’’ Frazier said. ‘‘You certainly cannot say that he’s not in favor of (importation). It’s simply not true.’’

In summary, Michels lied. Period.

Update 9/27/04 PM: The editorial pages of the Cap Times (this afternoon) and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (yesterday) agree.


(*) The news that the Michels campaign is being brought to us by many of the folks responsible for Mark Neumann's dirty 1998 run makes this less than a surprise.

(**) This is small-b "bush" because the president's more skillful handlers usually craft statements are unfalsifiable, technically true in some sense but highly misleading, or something else short of a bald-faced lie. But this Washington Post review of the situation in Iraq comes as close to calling Bush and Allawi liars as journalistic decorum would seem to allow.
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