The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


October 5, 2010

Anson Burlingame, guest columnist: Cherry-picked ‘facts’ misleading

JOPLIN, Mo. — Elliott Denniston really crossed the line in negative “campaigning” in his guest column (Globe, Oct. 3) and must be rebutted, strongly. I vigorously challenge his shallow research and obvious partisan conclusions in trying to paint all Republican candidates nationally with only the colors of the few.

In the Nov. 2 general election, all seats in the House of Representatives, about 33 Senate seats and some 25 to 30 gubernatorial races will be decided.  Let’s round off and call it roughly 500 seats to be decided between Democrats, Republicans and a few Libertarian candidates. Denniston chose to highlight the “views” of 10 — I repeat 10 — of those candidates to show how the entire Republican Party MIGHT decide to govern.

According to Denniston, if you want a bunch of “witches” in government, vote Republican. That implication is based on one candidate making a public statement while she was in high school showing interest in witchcraft, which she rejected long ago. Want every raped and impregnated woman FORCED by government to bear the child, vote Republican. Want elected officials to send pornographic material to all concerned, vote Republican.

Each of those “cherry-picked” assertions or actions was made by one, again one, of those 10 candidates noted above. And from that, according to Denniston, we the people must obviously assume that all Republicans will think or act accordingly. My views on such thinking, simply hogwash. It is negative campaigning of the worst sort.

Where does Denniston get the information for such allegations?  Why of course; he said it himself:  “These FACTS (my emphasis) are widely disseminated in the media.”

Well, I will cherry-pick a little myself.  Sen. John Kerry, former Democratic candidate for president, recently implied (in the media) that voters were not thinking clearly.

Folks, I will state, not imply, that if you vote based on Denniston’s broad conclusions about the entire Republican Party based on old, distorted and now rejected views of some 2 percent of all Republican candidates “disseminated in the media,” you might want to listen to Sen. Kerry.

Now here is something to scare some of you. If you want to understand, in principle, where many Republicans are “coming from” or “headed,” go read and think carefully about the Pledge to America.  There is more than enough in that broad, even sweeping, statement of principles to scare any Democrat.

The pledge calls for limited government based on literal constitutional mandates. It pledges to immediately reduce federal spending to the levels of 2008 and work from there to cut further in the future. It pledges to repeal Obamacare, which will never happen with President Obama wielding veto power. It calls for congressional approval of any new federal regulation that increases the deficit or expands federal power. (See Konrad Heid’s thoughtful article (Oct. 3) in the Globe on the results of such regulations regarding student loans.)

The pledge contains more than enough to outrage any liberal politician or voter. Denniston should draw conclusions from that document, not some cherry-picked clip for one or two candidates for whom we in Southwest Missouri cannot vote for or against.

To me Professor Denniston has now joined the ranks of the Democrat House candidate in Florida, Mr. Grayson, in “campaigning” with such HOGWASH.

Finally, if you want to see some potential extreme ideas, at least for liberals, spend some time looking at how Billy Long, the Republican candidate for OUR seat in the House of Representatives, might be thinking.  Cherry-pick all you like in that race, professor, but don’t blame that thinking on the entire Republican Party. Go read the Pledge to America instead.

Anson Burlingame lives in Joplin.

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