REGISTER CITIZEN EDITORIAL: Democrats use outright deception to manipulate 5th District GOP primary
Nancy DiNardo and John Larson chat at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2008. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
Lies, low-blows, questionable ethics and outright violations of the law have distinguished the campaign for Connecticut’s 5th District Congress seat this year.
And just when you think it can’t get any worse, someone stoops to a new low.
The latest is a Democratic Party-backed “Super PAC” spending more than $200,000 on one of the most deceptive TV political ad campaigns Connecticut has seen.
They target Republican front-runner Andrew Roraback, not for opposing Democrats, but supporting them.
The ads, which criticize Roraback for supporting Democratic Party-sponsored tax increases during his time in the legislature, are aimed at manipulating the Aug. 14 Republican primary.
Roraback is the Republican nominee Democratic strategists have said they most fear in the general election.
By turning conservative voters against him in the Republican primary, Democrats hope to face an easier-to-beat, far-right social conservative such as Mark Greenberg or Justin Bernier, or Lisa Wilson-Foley, whose campaign has been damaged by a federal grand jury investigation.
The deception, of course, comes in the lack of disclosure that the ads were produced and paid for by Democrats. You can’t tell by the words “Paid for by Patriot Majority USA” in tiny print at the end of these spots. They look and sound, instead, like something sponsored by a conservative group.
This is the equivalent of the Republican Party funding TV ads praising Chris Donovan’s progressive voting record and support for working families, because they want him to win the Democratic primary. Or running ads attacking Elizabeth Esty for being too conservative for Democratic primary voters, because they fear facing her in November.
The hypocrisy in these tactics is astounding, as Democrats have led intense public criticism of the U.S. Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” decision, which makes this deception possible.
What’s dismaying is that rather than reprimand this out-of-state group as not welcome among the kind of campaigns Connecticut politicians of both parties aspire to, state Democratic Party Chairwoman Nancy DiNardo chose not to condemn the practice. Instead, she blasted Roraback for not supporting campaign finance reform passed by Democratic legislators a few years ago. Campaign finance reform that has been rendered completely meaningless by her party’s use of every underhanded and deceptive trick in the book this year.
Connecticut voters expect more, and other Democrats should be standing up to say that this kind of practice will not be tolerated in their party.