Right-wingers Attack Congressman Over Debate Slip (MA-03)

Posted by | October 14, 2010 17:47 | Filed under: Contributors News Behaving Badly Opinion Politics Sandi Behrns

by Sandi Behrns

The moment the debate ended last night, the clock was ticking on the inevitable. Right-wing blogs would undoubtedly be licking their lips to use video of seven-term Massachusetts Congressman Jim McGovern (MA-3) making an unfortunate slip of the tongue. Sure enough, first thing this morning right-wing attack site TheOtherMcCain weighed in.  And wouldn’t you guess, a little bit ago, it was posted on Andrew Breitbart’s site as well. What’s all the hub-bub about?

Clearly, McGovern is talking about the Citizens United Supreme Court Decision. In the midst of his otherwise eloquent statement, he accidentally says “I think the Constitution is wrong,” when he clearly means to say the court decision is wrong. This is obvious to any thinking, listening person. Of course, it’s not obvious to people that are desperate to oust another Democrat from Congress and have been conditioned to view the Constitution as a holy book. So, predictably, Twitter has been bombarded ever since with that quote, “I think the Constitution is wrong,” out of context.

The McGovern campaign knew immediately what to expect, releasing a statement this morning.

While answering a question about the awful Supreme Court campaign finance decision, I used the word “Constitution” rather than “Court Decision.”

Everyone in the room recognized it as a slip of the tongue, but it’s silly season, and my opponent is now cheaply capitalizing on the error in a bid to try to change the subject from his blatant flip-flopping on major issues.

McGovern’s opponent, Tea Party candidate Marty Lamb, immediately went on the attack, leading the charge to misconstrue McGovern’s flub. Saying in a press release:

Marty Lamb… was shocked at Congressman James McGovern’s words and his attitude toward the U.S. Constitution.
During the debate Congressman McGovern stated, “the Constitution is wrong,” when questioned about campaign finance.

…“I am deeply troubled by the Congressman’s statement. I don’t think that Jim McGovern is smarter than our forefathers. I support the first amendment. In fact, I support all the amendments,” said Lamb. “The first action a Congressman takes is an oath is to uphold the Constitution. This oath should not be taken lightly.”

McGovern’s right, this is silly season, and more than likely this wouldn’t normally have much impact with voters outside of those already inclined toward the Republican. But this is the year of Citizens United.  Mr. Lamb, like many Tea Party candidates, is receiving a great deal of out-of-state support, including $100,000 from Nevada-based Western PAC and an election-eve visit from the Tea Party Express (the same group bank-rolling Joe Miller and Christine O’Donnell).

This is another one of those seats that should be safe for Democrats, but we need to remember that Scott Brown won this district in January’s special election. By all rights, Marty Lamb should not be electable in Massachusetts. He has campaigned on many radically conservative tea-party-approved ideas, such as eliminating the Department of Education. He has signed the 10th Amendment Pledge, which would undermine Social Security, Medicare, child labor laws, the minimum wage and even the Civil Rights Act. He has also taken the American For Tax Relief Pledge, which would require him to vote against closing tax loopholes for businesses sending jobs overseas.  Of course, like Rand Paul before him, since winning the primary Lamb has attempted to back off his more radical rhetoric.

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Copyright 2010 Liberaland
By: Sandi Behrns

Sandi Behrns is a noted policy nerd, new media & web developer, and consultant to progressive organizations and campaigns. She is a senior contributor to Liberaland, and the Executive Editor of Progressive Congress News.

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