Scare me more please! It may not be a coincidence that just before Halloween, District 30 Senate candidate Ron Elfenbein, an emergency room doctor, is being portrayed by his opponents as a doctor with his head on backwards. The mailer's sponsor, The Maryland Democratic Senatorial Committee Slate (MDSCS) which appears to be headed (beheaded?) by State Senate President Mike Miller, warns us that Elfenbein is "focused on banning a woman's right to choose, even in cases of rape or incest."
However, according to Elfenbein's web-site and campaign activities, his priorities are typical Republican concerns such as jobs, spending, budget, and taxes. He adds in illegal immigration, ethics, the Bay and environment, education, public safety, transportation and health care.
The MDSCS mailer says that most "Marylanders think that our state senator's top job priority should be creating jobs, keeping our kids safe, and supporting our veterans. But Ron Elfenbein thinks differently. Ron Elfenbein's top priority is getting government involved in a woman's right to choose whether or not to have an abortion--even in the cases of rape or incest."
Another one of the color, glossy mailers says "Ron Elfenbein's not creating jobs--He's just trying to ban a woman's right to choose." It pretty much repeats what the other one said and as with the other mailer, the "advertising portion" does not say where the mailer originated. That shows up only on the tiny return address where the required authority line is displayed.
But let's examine the facts......
Elfenbein is endorsed by Maryland Right to Life but he insists that he specifically believes that in the case of rape or incest, the choice of aborting the fetus or not is a woman's choice. As false and misleading as that attack aspect is, nowhere does Elfenbein give any indication of being either "focused" or making the abortion issue his "top priority" which he insists has always been jobs, spending and the budget.
I asked Senator Astle and his campaign chair to provide me with his thoughts and voting record on the issue. I never got it.
MDSCS has created a website http://www.simonaireslushfund.com/ to attack Senator Bryan Simonaire, sent out attack ads against Senator Alex Moooney (using the nursery rhyme "Goodnight Moon" as "Goodnight Mooney").... see http://www.gazette.net/stories/10222010/polinew200423_32533.php and read about another attack campaign funded by MDSCS at http://www.gazette.net/stories/10142010/frednew160515_32534.php
ACP is of course not supporting Astle, Elfenbein, Simonaire or Mooney or any candidate. Personally, I very much like and respect both the incumbent Astle and his challenger Elfenbein, but think Mooney is about as far right an extremist as we have in Maryland. Simonaire is also very conservative, but my concern is whether the MDSCS is portraying these candidates in a fair and responsible manner. It is clear in this case that it is not.
On the other hand....Astle has also apparently been the victim of a similar style of repetitive and negative attacks from Americans for Prosperity (AFP), a group that solidly supports the free market and free enterprise. I have asked the Astle campaign for copies of the ads but they claim they have not seen them nor did they have any knowledge of them. I twice asked AFP for these ads but have not received any images or copies. Elfenbein says that he had nothing to do with and had not seen the AFP ads. AFP confirms that they were done without his involvement, adding that it would have been illegal to do so. I also asked the Astle campaign to clarify the senator's position and record on abortion and have not received a reply.
Yes, this is what politics has come to in Maryland and no doubt elsewhere. Third party organizations collect funds to specifically attack certain candidates and mislead the voters. Scare them! Pull out a single wedge issue and pound on it no matter how irrelevant or unimportant or no matter how false the claims may be. Attack the other guy. Attack. Attack. If I had seen the AFP ads that Astle believes are deceitful and misleading, I'd comment on them as well but I have not seen them, despite my best efforts. But would it not be nice if Astle and Elfenbein both came out together and condemned these third-party attacks? Somehow, I doubt it will happen.
Once again, image is more powerful than facts and tearing down rather than building up is the order of the day. Imagine making an accomplished and hardworking emergency room doctor out to be an extremist kook with his head on backwards simply because he is "pro-life". Shame on the MDSCS for believing this is what it has to do to keep certain senators in office. Are their own records really that bad that this is necessary? No, they are probably not, but the lesson once again must be that negativity works.
For more information about the MDSCS, see also: http://maryland-politics.blogspot.com/2010/08/big-daddys-new-slate.html
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