Musgrave-Markey: Sticks and stones in CD 4

I know Marilyn Musgrave loves nicknames. Back in 2002 she started calling the candidate I worked for Stan “Taxunaka.” Now she’s calling Betsy Markey “Millionaire Markey.” Hmm. Politically speaking, negative nicknames work when they actually relate to something, but this one’s kinda out of left field.

A few days ago Musgrave put out an ad accusing Markey of abusing her position as a staffer for Senator Ken Salazar to line her own pockets. That could destroy Markey’s chances of winning, except for the teensy little problem that it appears far from true, which even a cursory read of the Greeley Tribune article makes pretty clear.

Musgrave’s campaign has blatantly lied before, so it’s no surprise she’s trying the same tactic here. Again, back during the 2002 Matsunaka race we put out an ad attacking Musgrave for a vote against seniors. You know, the kind of thing where elected representatives say yea or nay to a bill and it goes down in a little book they called a public record? Right. Well instead of trying to explain her vote the Musgrave campaign just denied it. Unfortunately, thanks to the “balance” principle of modern political reporting only one newspaper actually called her out on it. From the Greeley Tribune:

Musgrave’s campaign, the state Republican party and a lobbying agency for nursing homes initially denounced the ad as “false” and said Musgrave had, in fact, supported the bill. But when presented with evidence that she voted no, Musgrave spokesman Guy Short said the vote was “probably for some type of technical reason.”

Those pesky technical reasons!

Also, on the night Musgrave won her primary I personally hand-delivered a debate challenge to her campaign manager, Guy Short, at the campaign’s victory celebration at a little Italian restaurant in Greeley. When we subsequently issued a press release about the challenge Musgrave’s campaign said, “We never got that!” Our response: we sent the challenge by UPS, FedEx, certified mail, fax, and email with the entire press list CCd. Ironically, now Musgrave’s trying to get more debates, going so far as to send out some poor campaign worker in a duck suit to chase down Markey.

My point with all of this is that Musgrave’s campaign has blatantly lied at least twice in my personal experience. Unfortunately, far too many politicians these days seem to confuse lying and spinning, and think both are just politics as usual. I don’t think they are, and in any case they certainly shouldn’t be.

When Musgrave gets desperate she gets negative and personal, so I don’t expect these baseless attacks to let up any time before November. The only question is how Markey will respond. Ever tried throwing mud? Sure, a little bit ends up on you — it doesn’t hold together very well — but most of it ends up on whatever you’re throwing it at. Markey needs hike up her pantsuit and drag Musgrave down with her or Markey will end up standing in a dirty chicken coop on election day, with Musgrave looking clean as a whistle.

Colorado Independent’s blogumnist (blogger-columnist) Jeff Bridges has worked in Democratic politics for the last 10 years, serving as communications director for two congressional races in Colorado and two governor’s races in the Deep South. Bridges also worked as a legislative assistant in Washington, D.C., with a focus on military and small business issues.

Read Jeff’s latest commentaries.

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