Saturday, October 09, 2004

Swallow playing the liberal card

Down 32 points, John Swallow is in a fix against Utah's lone Democratic US Congressman Jim Matheson. So what's a mindless Republican to do in a Red State? Claim your oposition is the second coming of Hillary Clinton, Ted Kennedy, Al Gore, and (these days) John Kerry. The Salt Lake Tribune is all over this story:

Last year, John Swallow said he wouldn't criticize U.S. Rep. Jim Matheson for voting in favor of the federal partial birth abortion ban.

But that doesn't mean the Republican challenger won't attack the 2nd Congressional District incumbent this election year for an earlier vote against the law.

Jim is pissed off: "This is just an election-year stunt," Matheson said. "I was up-front when I made that change in my position. I'm happy to talk about any of my votes." [he had voted against partial-birth abortion before b/c there was no health exception, this time he voted for a slightly different version, citing constiuents' influence.

It is nasty to do guilt by association tatics. Admittedly, Democrats are going the same thing in Blue States, and even some Red ones, using Tom Delay's dual admonishments from the House Ethics Committee to ask GOPers to return his donations and morph canidates faces into George W. Bush were he is unpopular (see the Chris Shay's race in CT). But it is even worse when the facts claimed are distortions.

Matheson "notes that four of the votes Swallow highlights in his ad - including one date that was incorrect - were for legislation allowing U.S. military personnel to have abortions in military hospitals if they would pay the cost themselves. Matheson notes that Swallow did nothing during his six years in the Utah Legislature to change the state's more liberal partial-birth abortion law."

This is the same tactic that Derek Smith tried against Matheson in 2000, trying to link Jim to "San Fransico Liberals" (which is code words for Gay Rights Activists) for having a fundraiser in the city with Robert Redford. I suspect that, just like last time, it won't stick.

As Jim said, "It's an act of desperation."

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