Sunday, October 08, 2006

Congressional campaign = fallacy season

Gary Curtis over at The Fallacy Files spotted a great example of False Attribution in a congressional race in Iwoa, via

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spot, which aired on Sept 30…quotes Republican House candidate Mike Whalen saying, "we don’t have an energy problem."

Here's the actual quote in its full context:

Well, we don’t have an energy problem. We have a government problem. Government has stopped American oil and gas producers from drilling in large parts of this country. We have governmental policies that have stopped us from building clean nuclear energy. We have governmental policies that have stopped us from adopting clean coal technology. And we’ve had a government that hasn’t done enough, in my opinion, to really boost renewable fuels. So what we need to do in a lot of ways is recognize that our energy problem is a government problem.

And his stated position:

Ethanol and new bio-energy production facilities are good for Iowa and good for our security. Renewable energy is a critical part of the comprehensive effort I see as necessary for the country to accomplish true energy independence.

Not to be outdone, the Republicans Poison the Well:

The National Republican Congressional Committee's Sept 29 ad uses the guilt-by-distant-association tack to go after Democratic candidate Bruce Braley.

The ad tells us that Braley is supported by the Council for a Livable World, which has, indeed, endorsed him – but everything else the ad says about the group is either false, misleading or an ideological judgment call. The ad calls the Council "an ultra-liberal group who called for huge defense cuts." The text on the screen reads "advocates $130 billion in defense cuts."

The NRCC told FactCheck that this information came from a document authored by an offshoot of the Council in 1999, entitled "Potential Reductions in the Pentagon's 10-Year Budget."

From 1999? FactCheck goes on to point out that the Council for a Livable World say this information is not only outdated, but for the most, wrong. But as if this Well Poisoning wasn't enough:

The NRCC ad also tells us that Braley has been called a "peace candidate" by the Communist Party. That's true. The Party's newspaper, the People's Weekly World, gave the label to several Democratic candidates in an August issue. However, Braley didn't seek the Communists' support, and it's not even clear whether being called a "peace candidate" is the equivalent of an endorsement.

Hat tip Fallacy Files - Fact Check it out.