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Anti-Tancredo “Nora Evans” Ad More Than Misleads
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It was the late New York Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a Democrat, who said, “Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts.”
The truth of that statement has never been more widely ignored than during the current election cycle.
The recent passage of the so-called McCain-Feingold campaign finance law has produced a bumper crop of 527 corporations that are busy creating their own facts to smear selected candidates or to indirectly advance other political causes. The only significant legal requirement imposed on these groups is that they stop short of saying citizens should “vote for” or “vote against” a particular candidate.
These groups are poisoning what is already a pretty ugly political process.
Examples of excess abound, but surely one of the worst is a current radio ad attacking Tom Tancredo, the Republican congressman from Colorado’s 6th Congressional District.
The ad begins with the sound of a computer keyboard in the background. A woman’s voice says:
“Dear Congressman Tancredo: Our family teaches the values of acceptance and the evils of racism, which is why we are so disappointed in your conduct. You spend time in Congress trying to punish immigrant workers but turn a blind eye while cheap illegal labor was used on your home. You spend $25,000 of our tax money on a fear-mongering survey that The Denver Post said activated us against immigration. Then you attacked an honor roll student for pursuing the dream of a college education, just because his family wasn’t born in America. And all the while you are living a broken promise, to not serve more than three terms in Congress. Seeing your behavior, we are one family that wished you kept your pledge. They said bigotry is learned, which is why we work to teach tolerance. Tell us, Mr. Tancredo: Where do you learn such intolerance? Please stop.
Sincerely, Nora Evans, Greenwood Village, Colorado. Paid for by Coloradans for Plain Talk.”
As it turns out, this ad is both malicious and false. To begin with, Nora Evans doesn’t exist. A spokesman for the Tancredo campaign said when the ad first surfaced, a search was started to find Evans and eventually the ad agency responsible for the ad acknowledged the woman is fictitious.
So is almost everything else in the ad. The allegation about Tancredo’s use of “illegal” labor on a home theater project is old and has previously been discredited. Tancredo was originally criticized for not checking the immigration status of workers on the project being handled by an outside contractor. Tancredo later said, quite sensibly, that he had no right to command workers to produce proof of immigration status. The contractor later disputed the claim that he had hired illegals and provided appropriate documentation.
The reference to the honor student is similarly willfully dishonest. The dispute involving the student had nothing to do with the fact that he “wasn’t born in America.” It had everything to do with the fact that he and his family had publicly boasted that they were here illegally and were nonetheless entitled to in-state college tuition rates. What Tancredo ultimately objected to was the campaign by some in the Mexican government and in this country to win benefits for people who broke immigration laws.
The reference to the broken term-limits pledge is also a selective cheap shot. Tancredo did break a pledge to limit himself to three terms, but significantly, he made that intent known in plenty of time for voters to take it into account before electing him to a third term.
The Nora Evans ad is funded by contributions from three multimillionaire Democrats — Jared Polis, Tim Gill and Pat Stryker. These three, and their 527 corporation, are proof that the recently “fixed” campaign finance system still badly needs fixing. There is no valid and sensible reason why the “idle rich” should have a megaphone while everyone else must speak in a whisper. Nor should the select few be empowered to use imaginary people and imaginary facts to smear the reputations of others, especially while hiding behind the badly misnamed “Coloradans for Plain Talk.”
(Posted on October 22, 2004)