Hours after Tuesday's Massachusetts special election primary results, both the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) began praising the winners of their respective parties and attacking their candidates' opponents. The NRSC is using creative techniques to enhance substance, while the DSCC is relying on non-substantive and purely false attacks.
Within hours of learning Rep. Ed Markey won the Democrat senatorial primary, the NRSC promptly launched OutofDatEd.com — a cheeky site highlighting Markey's shortcomings. The site’s header bears 70s-style font, to hint 18-term Congressman Markey — first elected in the 1970s — has been in Congress too long. The site asserts Markey "is a relic of the past and his career is a living testament to failed Washington policies."
While scrolling down the timeline, one is shown a year during Markey's term in Congress accompanied by a policy blunder he supported and a visual to put the year into perspective. The first set states that in 1977 "Markey Voted To Increase The Debt Limit To $775 Billion" and "Elvis was still touring." This is particularly powerful, as this debt increase was a precursor to our current unsustainable debt problem. Scroll down more, and learn Markey voted to increase the debt limit to $985 billion in 1981, to $1.904 trillion in 1985, and so on. Other slides detail ethically questionable actions Markey has taken, including several instances when he enjoyed multi-thousand dollar vacations paid for by special interest groups.
The site is accompanied by a "greatest hits"-style video entitled "Ed Markey's Worst Hits," intended to parody the quintessential cheesy commercial for a "greatest hits" CD. The video includes Markey's picture edited comically into multiple famous album covers. Stressing more of Markey's inadequacies, at one point the voice says cheekily "And don’t forget his blow-out hit — voting to raise his own pay by 40%. Oh yeah, he's bad."
Below the video is text contrasting Republican nominee Gabriel Gomez and Markey:
"Gomez is a veteran Navy SEAL officer, common-sense businessman, and a family man who lives and breathes Massachusetts. Someone with new ideas on how to move the country in the right direction. Ed Markey represents the past, Gabriel Gomez the future."
In a press release, NRSC Chairman Jerry Moran congratulated Gomez on winning the Republican primary on Tuesday. "The Senate is the nerve center of dysfunctional Washington" and "Gomez is just the sort of next generation leader we need to help turn it around."
The DSCC, on the other hand, criticized Gabriel Gomez for not signing a pledge which would penalize him for circumstances over which he has no control. The "People’s Pledge" is "an agreement that imposes financial penalties on candidates any time an outside group runs a TV, radio, Internet, or mail advertisement on their behalf." Gomez replied to those criticisms, asserting the only pledge he will take is to defend the Constitution. "That's the pledge I made when defending my country, that's the pledge my mother and father made when they came here from Colombia, and that’s my pledge to the people of Massachusetts." Furthermore, Gomez said Markey's call for the pledge is "disingenuous,' pointing out that "Markey benefited from outside groups that poured more than $1 million into the primary."
In a press release, Matt Canter, deputy executive director of the DSCC, stated "Markey knows how to strengthen the middle class and create an economy that works for everyone — not just the privileged few. He will be a leader in the Senate on the issues that matter most to the people of Massachusetts." However, he failed to cite any rationale, which is telling considering Markey already has had the opportunity to do just this in the House.
Canter goes on to baselessly attack Gomez and all who voted for him. "A small group of Republican voters in Massachusetts have decided that Gabriel Gomez … best represents their extreme right wing views ... The fact is that Gomez opposes a woman's right to choose, sides with the big banks over consumers, and would support a Republican agenda that would cut Medicare and Social Security." However, none of this holds water. Gomez’s issues page on his website clearly states he believes "Roe v. Wade is settled law." His issues page also states "For many of our mothers and fathers, Social Security is an important lifeline. We cannot risk losing this essential program because of inaction or complacency."
Canter also said "Gomez has built his enormous wealth on the backs of hardworking middle class families and he is out of touch with Massachusetts." This may be the most bizarre attack, as Gomez served in the armed forces (including as a Navy SEAL) for over ten years, until 1996. He then received his MBA from Harvard, and then worked in the private sector (something Markey has never done) to grow small businesses.
If this is any indicator of the race going forward, Markey is in big trouble. In my last PolicyMic article, I explained why Markey will have trouble defeating Gomez. However, it seems as though not even the DSCC will be able to help him.