Home 2019 Elections GOP Deceit Certainly Not Limited to Trump; NRCC Example in Virginia 10th...

GOP Deceit Certainly Not Limited to Trump; NRCC Example in Virginia 10th CD


by A Siegel, cross posted from Daily Kos

Virginia’s 10th Congressional District is a potential Red-to-Blue opportunity that is attracting serious external money for a number of reasons, including some polling indicating that the Republican incumbent is at real risk.

Now, before diving into a great example of National Republican Congressional Committee efforts to deceive voters with truthiness-laden (if not outright fraudulent) advertising, a quick note about the VA10 campaign:

  • Barbara Comstock, the Republican incumbent, is a long-time Republican operative with a (sadly successful) history of being in the center of attacks on President Bill Clinton and other Democratic Party leaders.
  • LuAnn Bennett, the Democratic Party candidate, is a successful businesswomen with a compelling life story.  Single mother of three, successful businesswoman, on the right side of issue after issue after … After choosing to move, with her husband, to Fairfax County, having three boys, and creating a business — her husband died.  She managed her way through it — being a single-parent while building up and running the business without ever missing a payroll.  In her work, she has been oft-times a real leader in adopting better building practice (‘greening’) and putting together some great projects.
    77H Mixed Use Development, Washington, DC

See some more after the fold re the candidates … but as to that NRCC ad

Upfront truth:*

  • LuAnn Bennett’s firm did what is actually a pretty impressive real estate project in DC.
    • This brought a grocery into a food desert area of Washington, DC.
    • Added housing.
      • PS: Check 77h apartments out — looks like pretty great urban living options.
    • The development team, in total, donated $3 million to a community educational fund.
    • The project created 100s of jobs.
  • Due to the changing world (the 9/11 attacks and changed rules over collocation of facilities along with changing business conditions), the project’s guidelines and planned development changed from initial contract to actual execution/construction.
  • While waiting for all the ‘soft’ work (contracts and otherwise), the project helped the US government deal with a short-term problem: the General Services’ Administration (GSA) rented the location for use as a parking lot for Federal employees.

Now, as to NRCC deceptive truthiness (if not outright deceit) laden advertising. In their efforts to protect Comstock, the NRCC has bought a lot of ad time in the DC suburbs. They are attacking Bennett

  • for not building a child care center on the site when the 9/11 attacks changed concepts about co-location for Federal buildings.
  • The NRCC says, in essence, that the site is a parking lot (hmmm …. see photo above) while that was an interim use for the land while the development proceeded.
  • And, they attack Bennett as somehow inappropriately avoiding $30M in taxes (put aside that the project did pay its taxes) when this is something the GOP is blasting as “smart” business practice when it comes to Donald Trump’s tax avoidance.

With those misrepresentations in mind, if you wish to watch,  Blasting through the television now is the following advertisement:

Again, for FACT, LuAnn Bennett’s firm participated in a team that

  • Successfully developed a beautiful project
  • Brought real solutions (grocery shopping, jobs) to the community;
  • Donated $3 million to local educational non-profit, and
  • Paid their taxes.

Let’s take a step back, for a moment, and consider how that supposedly business-friendly world of the NRCC is fraudulently attacking LuAnn Bennet

  • for doing good business (earning a living) while
  • helping the community and
  • paying all her employees and contractors (fairly and on time).

Oh, when considering the reality of @RealDonaldTrump, guess it is easy to see why the NRCC would be uncomfortable with Bennett’s achievements.

* NOTE: As to packaging NRCC truthiness between FACT and TRUTH with then alternative explanation, please consider The Debunking Handbook’s guidance when dealing with ‘myth-busting’.

About the candidates in VA10.

The incumbent, Barbara Comstock, is a long-time Republican operative.  No one has ever (honestly) accused Barbara of being lazy.  She worked extremely hard, as a Republican congressional staff member, to dig up dirt on and undermine the Clinton Presidency.  As an indication of hard working,

From a windowless first-floor office, where she changed the locks to keep out even the cleaning staff, Comstock would hold all-night vigils to keep watch over boxes of subpoenaed Clinton administration documents she feared would be stolen by Democrats. Her fixation was the White House travel office, where employees who were considered disloyal were replaced with Clinton allies. It was the administration’s first major scandal (although the president was absolved of wrongdoing), and it was in no small part driven by Comstock’s marathon workdays. …

When the Clinton years came to an end, Comstock jumped to the Republican National Committee’s war room, where she ran the party’s opposition research operation against Vice President Al Gore. … crafted a narrative, adopted by the press, of the vice president as a serial exaggerator. “She has a wonderfully devious mind,” one reporter told the New York Post.

As The Washington Post put it back in 2001:

Since joining the GOP, Comstock has become a kind of one-woman wrecking crew targeting Democratic leaders … Comstock has perhaps done more than any other GOP operative to skewer Bill Clinton, Al Gore and their congressional allies.

As VA10 voters consider this election, they might want to think about whether they want a Clinton Nemesis to have a shot at undermining another Clinton Administration. From that Politico post in the 2014 campaign,

Fifteen years later, the Clinton Wars are back.

The backdrop this time isn’t the White House or Hillary Clinton’s likely presidential run. It’s the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C., where a onetime congressional staffer who made her name digging up dirt on the Clintons, Barbara Comstock, is trying to win a seat in Congress herself.

Understanding the vehemence of anger within the District, writ large, at Republican obstructionism in Congress along with the toxic nature of Donald Trump (down 14 points to Clinton in latest polling) in the District, Comstock has been trying to reimage herself as a “Bipartisan” champion.  That re-imaging remains at odds with reality and, come January 2017 and a Clinton Presidency, it is not hard to imagine Barbara dedicating her energies to promoting specks of dirt (molehills) into dump truck loads (mountains) for partisan attacks on the Clinton Administration.

LuAnn Bennett’s life history serves as a stark contrast to Comstock’s record. While long a contributor to Democratic party candidates and D activist, Bennett’s compelling life story combines

  • personal struggle (widowed mother of three) with
  • impressive business achievements (a LEED-certified professional running adevelopment firm that has done some great projects in the DC area and employed lots of people) who found
  • time to serve on non-profit boards and otherwise contribute to the community.

Putting aside that “D” v “R” item, honestly, rather than another rabid partisan attack dog, Congress could use someone who knows the realities of trying to build sustainably (housing and offices) and can bring a business perspective to the table in discussions about how to improve our infrastructure investment programs and approaches.

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