Posted by Charity on August 27th, 2006

On Friday, I received an e-mail from a leftie She’s Right reader asking me to give my opinion of the “attack ads” that Republican US Senate candidate Rich Tarrant has been airing against Congressman Bernie Sanders.

I know you’re supporting Parke, but wondering what you think of the latest series of Tarrant’s Bernie-bashing ads?

I have been able to miss most of the Tarrant ads, so I had to watch them online.

Bernie has responded with his own ad, which I have seen on TV. In it, Bernie directs people to his website “The Truth,” where he defends his record.

According to this BFP article, “Noting that Tarrant has tapped his personal fortune to finance his bid for a Senate seat, Sanders said he couldn’t answer each Tarrant ad with one of his own.”

BS doesn’t just stand for Bernie Sanders. According to the last filing with the FEC, Sanders actually had more money than Tarrant. Tarrant’s self-financed campaign was the best thing that ever happened to Sanders. It has made it easier for him to milk as many donations as he can out of his left-wing supporters.

Back to the ads, I think that when facing a politician who has been in office for such a long time, whose record has been largely unchallenged and has been given a free-pass by the media, it is perfectly acceptable to call his record into question. Bernie should have to answer for these votes, especially when he is one of 15 or so representatives who voted no on most of them.

In some cases, he has responded and he certainly has the venues to do so through the media and his own campaign.

I can’t help but notice that Bernie’s truth website does not address some of the areas raised by the Tarrant campaign, most notably the charge that he repeatedly voted to cut intelligence funding.

The question being raised, by Bernie himself even, is whether or not this type of campaign is acceptable in Vermont. To that I propose a counter-question: if there was a Republican candidate in this election, who held a federal office and supported President Bush, would it be okay to criticize his record? Would the holier-than-thou left-wing refrain from such “dirty tactics”?

No. They would jump on that quicker than you can say “Jim=George”!

Two wrongs indeed do not make a right, but I felt the need to highlight the blatant hypocrisy at work here.

Now for my opinion of the ads themselves. I think they only serve to make Tarrant look bad. I doubt that many people will want to believe that what they say about Bernie is true, even if it is. Bernie has a persona built in the minds of Vermonters as someone who cares about them and these ads portray the opposite of what they have come to know about Bernie.

I think a better strategy would be to represent Bernie as he is known to people and explain why Tarrant is a better choice.

Bernie is a Democratic Socialist and admittedly so. Bernie cares about the poor and the working class. Bernie believes that the best way to help them is by taxing the rich and the greedy corporations and putting that money into government programs.

That is who he is. People know and believe this.

But, is that what people really want?

When I was growing up (in Vermont, BTW), there was a saying, “you can’t trust the government to fix anything; they’ll only make it worse.” The stubborn, hard-working native Vermonter does not trust the government to get it right.

Bernie Sanders represents the opposite of Vermont’s independent roots. Bernie encourages dependence and Vermonters don’t want that.

There is no shortage of hard-working Vermonters, who would never rely on a government program due to their rock-solid work ethic, who continue to vote for Bernie because they believe that he cares, even though his brand of caring goes against their own beliefs. Someone should point that out to them.

If I was running, I would represent Bernie exactly as he represents himself and tell you why, although he means well, in the long run his ideas will end up hurting our state and our country.

Socialism does not work. It goes against the very nature of human beings to strive to be their best. A socialist system that is based on the government redistributing wealth punishes success and rewards complacency.

I could fill pages with the reasons why socialism will ruin America, but my point is that Tarrant doesn’t need to paint a picture of Bernie that goes against the image people have come to know. He could simply show Bernie for who he is and present himself as a better alternative.

14 Responses to “Tarrant’s Bernie”

  1. The writing on the site is absolutely atrocious. You would think if he’s going to spend the dough on TV ads to point people at that thing, they’d put a little effort into it. If I had donated money to Bernie I’d be appalled.

  2. Sure, people’s records should be debated in a campaign. However, calling Bernie a pedophile or child molester is patently absurd and makes Tarrant look as ridiculous as, yes, Greg Parke. If the GOP can’t do any better than these buffoons, they’re in trouble.

  3. “calling Bernie a pedophile or child molester”

    The transcripts of Tarrant’s ads are online at – please copy and paste the section where Bernie is called a pedophile or child molester, or admit that you’re perpetuating a massive, desperate mischaracterization of these ads.

  4. Let me explain Tarrant’s real problem. He just doesn’t connect with his audience or with people. He always seems stiff and uncomfortable, even on the tube. As a result, people just don’t like him.

  5. You\\\’re right about Tarrant. He is aloof. I worked at IDX for two years. Tarrant was basically invisible. He had a private dining room, so he didn\\\’t have to eat with the staff. He even had a private garage in the building, so he wouldn\\\’t get any snow on his shoes in the winter. We used to have a joke about him:

    Question: What\’s the difference between Elvis and Tarrant?

    Answer: You can find people at IDX who claim to have seen Elvis!

  6. Of course Tarrant is above reproach. He doesn’t call Bernie a pedophile or child molester. He only implies it. Get it right. Let’s not distort Rich’s record. That would be dishonest.

  7. I hope Bernie doesn’t create an ad with Tarrant’s face juxtaposed next to Martha Stewart’s. That would just dishonest. It’s been a year or so, so he probably wouldn’t recall any improprieties around the sale of IDX anyway. Similar to his non-recollection of anything regarding the Renaissance Project.

  8. “He only implies it.”

    Oh really? Maybe you can quote that part of the ad transcript. Or maybe not.

  9. “he probably wouldn’t recall any improprieties around the sale of IDX anyway.”

    That story came from the NYT – maybe you can quote the part of the story that implied that he was involved in, or would have any knowledge of, any wrongdoing. Or maybe not.

  10. But, is that what people really want?

    Well they voted for him several times so the short answer is yes.

    Does tarrant represent something better?

    Socialism does not work. It goes against the very nature of human beings to strive to be their best. A socialist system that is based on the government redistributing wealth punishes success and rewards complacency.

    why does the idea that the resources of a country be distributed more or less equally so that EVERYONE has an equal chance at success, or at least enough food on the table & a roof over thier heads seem so frightening?

    We are a loooonnngg way from the free market utopia that looks so good on paper.

    Conservativism looks good to the haves, everybody else can go to hell.

  11. “Conservativism looks good to the haves, everybody else can go to hell.”

    Yeah. Good one. Take a look at my bank statement and then get back to me. I’m not one of the haves.

    I don’t decide what is right by what will benefit me the most. Having the government take from others and give to me is no different than stealing it myself. If I didn’t earn it, then I have no entitlement to it.

  12. Agreed and I’m certainly no rich person. My point is that the current set up, rewards those with wealth already, and makes it hard for people like you and I to get ahead. A base line of equality is a good thing.
    I’m no bleeding heart liberal. I think people on welfare should have to work for their benefits. At the same time the halliburtons of the world should have to continue competing for MY money, and be held accountable for the money spend. MY taxes should be cut, not Cheney’s.

    Do you see the parallel?

    Having the Govt take from me to give to the rich, or large corporations) by way of the current tax structure in America, is a lot worse than taking my money from me and helping those in my community that need it too.

  13. “According to the last filing with the FEC, Sanders actually had more money than Tarrant.

    If you are funding your own campaign, would it not be prudent to simply make sure you have less than your opponent. From a business perspective, why move money unless you have to?

  14. I find your comment about individual dependence on the state kind of funny because you would be surprised how much our government of laws provides for us. Independence was perfectly fine in the pre 20th century era when one had the skills to feed ones family all year round without outside aid, but the size of our population these days, and the invent of beneficial but expensive technologies (to aid our longevity) have caused us to shift our focuses and our educations so that now, without the support of governmental structure in trade markets, education, healthcare, etc. we would not be able to survive with the wealth of materials we now enjoy. In fact, if you were forced to live as the old trapper of the 19th century, hunting for your own food all year long, you might make it to winter but then 99% of all people would die. We simply do not have the resources or the skills.

    With that said, there is nothing that causes more dependence upon government, nothing that enslaves us more to our daily tasks, than our lack (or pursuit) of healthcare. I don’t worry about the influence of government on my daily life nearly as much as I worry about the influence of my insurance agency.