THE STATE HOUSE REPUBLICANS launched a TV ad using its soft money from the PAC the Reagan Fund to support Joel Hussey, the Republican candidate for the State’s House of Representatives in the 45th Legislative District. In supporting Hussey, the ad attacks Roger Goodman – Hussey’s democratic opponent – for allegedly costing the state millions of dollars for cracking down on drunk drivers. But here is the problem with the ad: the attack on Goodman is one big, fat lie.
The television ad falsely claims that Goodman sponsored DUI legislation that has cost Washington State millions of dollars by violating federal funding laws. But that is simply not true. And here is why it is not true:
The Republican’s television ad cites an outdated April 6, 2012 political blog posted on Publicola. That blog post claimed that Goodman’s DUI law caused Washington to lose about $11 million in federal highway funding. But – and this fact is omitted by the pro-Hussey campaign – the Publicola blog post was later deemed false.
Goodman’s DUI law does not cause Washington to lose any federal funding. Instead, the federal money is allocated to the State’s highway safety fund to pay for high priority projects, such as creating additional safety measures for Route 2 near Monroe and Route 195 near Spokane, both of which are terribly dangerous roads. Notably, Hussey has not condemned the ad’s lies or called for its removal.
It is an old political tactic to strike at your opponent’s strengths. And Goodman’s reputation for cracking down on drunk drivers is certainly one of his many strengths. In fact, Goodman introduced the DUI legislation at issue at the request of the Washington State Patrol (a fact the pro-Hussey ad omits). And House Republicans voted for the bill (another fact the ad omits).
Plus, Goodman was named Legislator of the Year by Mothers Against Drunk Driving for his work combating drunk drivers. Goodman is also endorsed by many groups with a vested interest in reducing drunk driving incidents, including the Washington State Troopers Association, the Washington Council of Police and Sheriffs, the Washington State Council of Fire Fighters, and the Fraternal Order of Police — Washington State Lodge. Tom Pillow, the Executive Director for the Washington State Troopers Association even responded to the pro-Hussey ad by explaining that the “attacks are deplorable and utterly false.”
The daily news cycle is littered with untruths, falsities, falsehoods and lies that originate with the Republican Party. Mitt Romney and the Republican Party nationally have made it their practice to simply make up facts. Indeed, during the first Presidential Debate last week, Romney, on several issues, did what can only be described as pants-on-fire, lying-through-his-teeth politics. (It’s easy to win a debate when you simply lie your way through policy arguments.)
The Republican Party is not much concerned these days with its credibility. Today, the Party seems bent on simply creating a fictional reality that does not exist and then offering policies that just don’t work. And here, Hussey supporters joined that effort to create a fiction that includes a character named Roger Goodman who – in stark contrast to his actual, real life counterpart – is soft on drunk drivers. The latest pro-Hussey ad is just another example of what is quickly becoming the Republican Party’s tradition of dishonesty.
Trent Latta is an attorney and Kirkland resident. He can be contacted at TrentLatta@gmail.com