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October 27, 2006
Wetterling Campaign And DCCC 'Highly Deceptive'

Earlier this week, Patty Wetterling's campaign for the MN-06 Congressional seat and the national DCCC began airing an advertisement on local television that branded Michele Bachmann as soft on crime. Michele Bachmann. Michele friggin' Bachmann! I laughed out loud when I first saw it and wondered how anyone in their right mind could possibly think that a strong conservative like Michele would ever oppose jailing repeat sex offenders for life. The only way she might oppose that is if she had the opportunity to vote to shoot them into space.

Even the Star Tribune noticed this disconnect from reality. Eric Black, who really does do good work at the Strib, calls this advertising "highly deceptive":

A highly deceptive ad by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee takes one vote out of context to distort congressional candidate Michele Bachmann's record on crime.

The 30-second ad, which has been airing for about a week, invites voters to infer that Bachmann opposed longer sentences for repeat sex offenders when Bachmann actually voted for tougher sentences. ...

Earlier in the legislative session, the Republican-controlled House had passed a crime bill that, in many instances, included tougher anti-crime provisions than the version favored by the DFL-controlled Senate. Republican senators generally favored the House version.

As the crime provisions made their way through the Senate, Bachmann voted in favor of an amendment that would have provided for a life sentence for rapists on a first offense and included a life sentence without the possibility of parole for the worst sex offenders.

The amendment failed, on a mostly party-line vote. Bachmann's vote on that amendment, which is not mentioned in the DCCC ad, does more than anything else to make the ad misleading as a discussion of Bachmann's approach to punishing sex offenders.

Later that same day, Bachmann and most Republican senators also voted for an unsuccessful amendment that would have criminalized operating meth labs close to children.

By the time the bill came up for final passage, the DFL majority had attached substantial spending provisions for health care, education and other functions unrelated to crime. Bachmann and all other Senate Republicans voted no. All Senate DFLers voted yes and the bill passed the Senate. The bill did not become law that year.

So let's recap. Bachmann and the Republicans wanted a crime bill that actually addressed ... crime. The DFL, however, wanted a crime bill that they could pork up with a lot of spending that had to do with everything but ... crime. When the spending bill came up for a vote, the Republicans rejected it, and for good reason.

The DCCC and the Wetterling campaign want voters to believe that this represents Bachmann's views on crime and punishment. Instead, it's a great example of how Democrats exploit crime and other legislation as an excuse to throw money at all sorts of welfare programs, while extorting votes by attaching them to legislation important to voters. Bachmann refused to cooperate with their blackmail, and this is their resultant smear campaign.

Wetterling and the DCCC are honest in only one aspect of this issue. It shows how they will operate when they have a majority in Congress. If conservatives still feel inclined to sit out the midterms, this is what that abstention will buy them.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at October 27, 2006 5:28 AM

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