In Virginia Beach, a Democratic candidate for the House of Delegates is blamed for giving convicted criminals "get-out-of-jail-free cards" while working for the state. In Danville, a Republican candidate is alleged to have been a leader in a national organization that wants to end Social Security.
And in Fairfax County, Republican Del. Timothy D. Hugo is accused of working for a lobbying firm that overcharged the government, represented abusers at Abu Ghraib prison and profited from the war in Iraq.
The Post is a great example of what I discussed in my reprint of my 2005 article on the press. Namely, they point out the negative attacks, without giving us the facts to know which attacks are truthful, and which are just made-up. Did the Democrat let convicts out of jail? Is the republican a leader in a national organization? The post doesn't say, even though the second charge is easily verified or refuted (which makes me think it is false). The first is harder to judge, and may be more of an opinion or description of a result than a literal complaint.
But it would have been easy to the Post to note that Hugo's lobbying is unrelated to any of the things he is accused of.
Many candidates who are in office or have run before say they are shocked at how personal and vicious the attacks have been this year, accusing their opponents of outright lying in many cases or, at the very least, distorting the truth.
The allegations flying back and forth in the campaign for the open House seat in Fairfax's 34th District have gotten so negative that Republican candidate Dave Hunt responded with a mailer about Democratic opponent Margaret G. Vanderhye that says, "We can't trust a word she says."
If one candidate lies about the positions of the other candidate, and the other candidate says the first one is lying, that's not "tit-for-tat", or a sign that both sides went negative. If your opponent lies about you, it's fair game to call them on it.
The Post echoes the opinion given in an AP story I highlighted in last week's Potomac News column, that the false over-the-top and negative attacks are driven by the Democrat's desire to win back the senate:
Many candidates and lawmakers attribute the extreme negative campaigning this year to an increased number of competitive races, the abundance of money raised by campaigns and, most importantly, the potential to change which party controls the General Assembly.
The Democrats could make significant gains in the Republican-led legislature next month when all 140 House and Senate seats are up for grabs. Democrats could take control of the Senate for the first time since 1999 and pick up a half-dozen or so seats in the House of Delegates.
The Post lists many of the false charges that we've already highlighted before:
And in Prince William County, the conservative Club for Growth has filed a complaint with state officials against the state Democratic party and Chris Brown, the Democrat running against Del. Jeffrey M. Frederick (R-Prince William) over a campaign mailer in the 52nd District.
The Club for Growth's complaint stems from two campaign mail pieces sent by Brown that it says wrongly states that Frederick has a plan to raise the sales tax by 34 percent and that the Club for Growth political action committee, of which Frederick is a member, supports the increase.
"It's not just negative. It's flat-out opposite to what the truth is," Frederick said. "Maybe they want to win so badly they're doing anything."
Brown said that he stands by his literature and that voters should know that Frederick is a member of a rigid, ideological group. The Club for Growth favors lower taxes and reduced government spending.
Even though the Post couldn't bring itself to admit what the Potomac News easily recognized, that accusing a group that "favors lower taxes" of threatening to raise your taxes is just wrong.
In the 51st District of Prince William, Democratic House candidate Paul Nichols has accused Republican candidate Faisal M. Gill of running a law firm that helps illegal immigrants avoid deportation. Nichols' campaign literature stated: "Faisal Gill: So wrong on everything we can't even believe he's running for office."
This is literally true in that sometimes people lose court cases, but a false claim because, as Nichol's knows, the courts are the ones who determine whether an immigrant has a legal case to be here or not, and lawyers are needed to make that system work. Until the court rules against them, the people being represented are not "illegal immigrants", they are simply CHARGED with being illegal, and require legal representation in order that justice be served.
Next door in the 50th District, which includes part of Prince William and the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park, Democratic House candidate Jeanette Rishell accused Republican Del. Jackson H. Miller of voting for driver fees that give a break to illegal immigrants. Miller fought back.
Another misleading statement, although the Post had several examples out outright lies they could have used if they weren't trying so hard to be 'even', like Rishell saying Jackson voted to raise his salary. In this case, Jackson voted for the final transportation bill, which included Democrat Governor Tim Kaine's amendment to the abuser fees to apply them only to legal residents of the state. This was said to exclude out-of-state drivers, but also excludes those who are ILLEGAL residents.