Or just a reasoned, vigorous debate?
Brian Kirwin, on Bearing Drift, challenged Creigh Deeds to condemn a new Democratic Website for going negative and attacking Republican candidates. For some background, at last month’s Blogs United conference in Hampton Roads, Deeds said this in a speech:
Whether it’s in Washington or in Richmond, we have to change the tone of the debate and put a stop to the endless bickering and gamesmanship that has come to define politics.So, Kirwin, whose favorite part-time hobby is to accuse Democrats of hypocrisy, thinks that Deeds should publicly disavow TheyDon’tGetVA.com.
We have to reject the poisonous language that is used to describe the other side and hold up as an example those people who believe, “I may disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
Of course, turn around is fair play so let me point out that he thinks it’s perfectly fine for him or his cohorts, like Squeaky Wheel, to call Hillary Clinton a utopian socialist here.
First of all she’s no such thing. She is a moderate centrist Democrat who believes the government does have some role to play in solving social problems like health care. She also believes in public education, a socialist scheme that came over from England on the Mayflower. And her husband was the president who got NAFTA and other free trade agreements passed in Congress. There are real liberals who actually have trouble with her candidacy. But that doesn’t stop these two from misrepresenting and stereotyping her.
Or from whining when indeed there is turnabout. Somehow, Democrats are always the ones with the double standard when they retaliate against attacks. All schoolyard bullies love it when their victims are too cowed to fight back.
Unfortunately for them, Democrats are more and more refusing to be cowed and are fighting back. Something I heartily recommend, as long as they do so fairly and with integrity.
So, I went to the Website that’s causing these two conservatives such profound distress because of its patent unfairness - or so they allege. I decided to check it out for myself and here's what I found.
It’s neither unfairly negative nor an attack site. It’s a challenge.
The Democrats who put up the site do indeed claim they think some conservative Republicans are out of touch with most Virginians. And they back it up with fact-based evidence for their position.
For example, they point out that Tricia Stall signed a petition and made statements that she does not support public education. I’ve been to the anti-public education Website and seen her signature there (you do have to scroll down to see it) and read her subsequent statement.
So, what TheyDon'tGetVA.com alleges is true. In fact, you can even argue that if others agree with Stall’s position, then this site would help her by publicizing it. It’s only if you disagree with her public position on education and think it is extreme that you would call this is a negative attack.
The site also illustrates Jeannemarie Devolites Davis' less than sterling attendance record at the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority and the Northern Virginia Transportation Committee. JMDD claims credit for her clout, expertise and dedication to solving the transportation problems in Northern Virginia. If she’s not attending the meetings of boards she is on that address this issue, it’s fair game to mention it.
In fact, anything that challenges a candidate on either a public position they’ve taken or their performance on the job is perfectly fair. Without debating differences or scrutinizing competence and dedication, how is the public supposed to make an informed decision in November?
What’s unfair and negative is to make a personal attack on a candidate for things that are irrelevant to his performance, competence or public positions. It’s wrong to demonize people, stereotype or slander them. Telling outright lies is wrong. So far, this site has done none of that. It’s promoting fair and vigorous debate.
Not only does Creigh Deeds have nothing to apologize for, I invite Republicans to put up a site as balanced, fact-based and temperate as this one. Go ahead. We can stand the heat in the kitchen.