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Political notes from Free Press staff writers Terri Hallenbeck, Sam Hemingway and Nancy Remsen


9.25.2006

 

Tarrant's ads

Rich Tarrant's name never came up during the noontime appearance of Sen . Barbara Boxer, D-Calif ., at a Burlington rally for independent Senate candidate Bernie Sanders and Democratic House candidate Peter Welch. But Tarrant, or at least the tenor of his TV ads attacking several Sanders' votes in the House that allege he is out of step with most Vermonters , was clearly on Boxer's mind.

"You never heard Bernie mention his opponent," Boxer said in remarks to the rowdy crowd of 300 at City Hall moments after Sanders had spoken. "I'm not going to, either, except to say (to Tarrant) 'Go ahead, spend all the millions you want to, rejuvenate the Vermont economy. But Bernie is going to beat you on Election Day. I don't care how nasty the ads get.'"

The comment got thunderous applause, and when I spoke with several folks afterward who had attended the event, it was clear that Tarrant's ads were on their minds, too.

"I'm surprised and saddened to hear that Tarrant's negative ads seem to have given him a bump up in the polls," said Bill Reznichek of Berkshire. "I hope it's short term and I hope Vermonters see the light eventually. I also wish Bernie would address the ads and what they say a little more substantively."

"I wonder what's the matter with him," said Mary Engel of Burlington, clutching a Bernie for Senate lawn sign. "Obviously this is not a man who has true Vermont values."

"I think the negative ads are helping Bernie, at least in Franklin County," said Jim Coutts of Swanton."People do not believe he is someone different than what Tarrant would have us believe."

No matter what you think of the ads, they sure have become issue No. 1 in the Senate race, at least for now. Comments?

-- Sam Hemingway

Comments:
"You never heard Bernie mention his opponent,"

Well she never did, because she probably needed to be reminded of who she was here stumping for on her way from the airport. The rest of us certainly have.
 
Technically Sanders has mentioned Rich. Anyone hear his very long radio advertisments?
 
Vermont is a very small state. We all know Bernie. We've met him, and we know what he stands for.

Tarrant knows that he can't win unless he convinces people to stop liking Bernie. As a result, he is putting forward these outrageous distortions of the truth.

Tarrant should go back to Florida.
 
Tarrant's ads are just a microcosm of the extreme right's philosophy to distort and distract from the real and important issues that effect everyone. Luckily the majority of Vermonters are seeing through the smoke and mirrors. Thankfully, our voices will be heard, loud and clear, on November 7th that we are disgusted by this constant insult of our intelligence.
 
While I personally disagree with the tone of Tarrant's ads, I think they're important questions to be asking. Another important question Tarrant brought up was why Bernie accepted 500 dollars from a corporate PAC, after pledging for years he wouldn't - and continued to say he doesn't. The best Bernie could do in his defense was to say they (the family who owns the corporation, and thus who are ultimately responsible for the PAC)were bad people? Well, then, why not send the money back? It's particularly interesting that this PAC belongs to a corporation getting all sorts of federal subsidies. Unfortunately, despite Tarrant's desire to bring attention to the hypocrisy, it seems as though the people who like Bernie don't think he can do any wrong, and shrug this issue off like it's nothing.

And, on the issue of negativity in the campaign, let's go back to June, July, early August, before the Tarrant attack ads began their run. Did anyone actually read the blog on Bernie's website? "Stupid Rich" this and "I-don't-know Tarrat" that. I think there's a very strong argument to be made that Bernie began the negativity online, and Tarrant simply took it to the airwaves. Of course, it's likely the only people who are reading the blog are already staunch Bernie supporters, and will love the negativity because it confirms their feelings that all Republicans are idiots. I guess someone could defend the blog by saying it's calling Tarrant on his (perceived) failings during the campaign - but then, isn't that what Tarrant's ads are doing with Bernie and his (perceived) failings during his 16 years in DC? And yes, I do know that Bernie voting against a bill with a particular clause in it doesn't mean he's against that clause, just the bill - but I certainly think it's his job to explain why he did so to me, the voter, which he's done an awful job of doing. Simply saying "There are lots of things in there, I don't have time to read it all" etc. isn't enough, and frankly, isn't what I want in my next Senator.
 
That's a good point. But it would never be brought up by the press, particulary the AP. It seems like the Fanjul situation didn't go far with them. It also appeared that his voting record went untouched for 16 years. No one followed it. That's why everything is such a shock this year.
 
A shock? That he won't agree to test the blood of innocent people?

(anyone remember “innocent until proven guilty”??)

That he SUPPORTS the Amber Alert (and brought tons of $$ to a Vermont project which does the same) -- but votes against a bill that includes an unconstitutional provision?

A provision that even Fmr Chief Justice Rehnquist said was unconstitutional?

No. Not really shocking. Bernie's got a record that 65% of Vermonters are proud of.
 
hardwick hogan: what percentage of that supposed 65% do you think really know (or care) what Bewrnie's voting record is. They like the line of [fill in the blank] that he is selling, while his partisans deomonize anyone who disagrees, but cry foul if anyone deigns to question his voting record.

In short, "outsider" Bernie operates a very efficient and effective POLITICAL MACHINE. He learned well in Brooklyn.
 
Oh I see -- Vermont voters are dumb -- too stupid to know how to vote.

Excellent.
 
Oh I see -- Vermont voters are dumb -- too stupid to know how to vote.

Excellent.
 
That is not what I said, hardwick, and you know it. I am a native Vermonter (who can trace his roots bsack to the first town constable and first town moderator of Sutton, VT), and I hold my fellow Vermonters in high regard. Instead, I was observing that Bernie's supporters do not support him for his specific voting record, which is barely reported in the Vermont media. Instead, I submit that they support him for other, more intanglible reasons. His POLITICAL MACHINE is very good at taking full advantage of that.

So, did you prefer the Village Restaurant back 20 years ago when it was under its former ownership?
 
Bernie's voting record is a matter of public record. Why do we need it reported? And besides, who trusts the media to report it without bias? The fact is that you can't hold Bernie accountable for your ignorance. News flash: Bernie is not going to come knock on your door and have a sit down. What politician has time. Its all there in black and white in the public record. If you don't get satisfaction with the reasoning all you need to do is pick up a phone. If then, you disagree, don't spew a bunch of nonsense that Bernie needs to explain his votes, like Tarrant. Just say you disagree and why, and move on.
 
Tarrant's ads are distorting Bernie's voting record. The ad on victims' rights is outrageous. Tarrant made an issue of Bernie's vote on a bill that was introduced six years ago as an election-year gimmick. The bill was poorly written. It never went through a standard committee process and it was never considered for a vote by the Senate. Newt Gingrich just pushed the bill through so that republicans could claim that they had voted for womens' rights.

It is a total distortion for Tarrant to use this situation in the manner that he did.

Bernie showed great character in voting against this bill. Tarrant showed the absence of character in trying to distort his vote into something that it wasn't.
 
My family's been in Vermont since 1789 -- but I get an equal vote to the people that just got here yesterday. That's the way it should be.

Vermonters know who Bernie is. They've voted with him for 16+ years.

He's endured a $5 million smear campaign against him and come out strong.

Vermonters are smart enough to know a good man and we wil stick with Bernie.
 
"Why do we need it reported?"

Yeah, shhhhhhhh! Everyone shut up about it! Look, he's a regular guy just like us, what more do you need to know? Stop talking about his past!

Sounds like the strategy that got another gov't official elected in 2000 and 2004.
 
Somebody should do ads on Tarrant's voting record.

Fletcher Allen had a $300 million fraudulent budget. How did Tarrant vote when he was on the FAHC board? He voted in favor of every crooked budget. He never asked the right questions to uncover the fraud.

Bernie voted the right way on the Iraq war. We should be proud of Bernie's vote. By comparison, Tarrant's voting record is a disgrace.
 
It's not the media's job to report and analyze a public servant's actual voting record because someone who wants to spend the time can research the information themselves??????? And public servant's do not need to answer to their constituents for votes that they make????????

All I can say is: "Wow." I wonder if Bernie would have made those statements back when he was a perennial, Liberty Union also-ran in the 1970s.
 
Most vermonters are to busy caring about there own lives to go online to the Library of Congress to look votes up.

The press should always help keep the public informed. That's the basic principle behind the idea of freedom of press.

The draw back is that it tends to be biased. One may lean left, another may lean right. There's no straight reporting.

Vermont's media leans left. There is no rebuttle to that.

However, there comes a point when things go to far.

1) The Flether Allan scanedel: Wasn't there a investigation. Was Rich found guilty of any fraud?

2) Did Bernie vote against these bills: Yes. Did he have a reason? Yes. Did the Chief Justice oppose the bill.. yes. But Congressman Sanders' forgets that his job is not to be a member of the Supremem Court, and interpret a bill on a constitutional/unconstitutional basis. His responsiblity is to vote for a bill.. yea or nay... to whether it would benefit Vermonters or not.

I don't see how the Chief Justice's memo and opinion of the bill should affect any Congressman or Senator, at any point. That's why we have checks and balances.

If a bill is unconstitutional, it is the responsibility of the supreme court to deem it unconstitutional. Not the lone Independent Congressman from Vermont... or any Congressman for that matter.

Just my opinion. Don't hurt me to bad in the rebuttle... play nice.
 
WCAX leans left? No.
Burlington Free Pree leans left? No.
St. Albans Messenger leans left? No.
 
1) Rich was asked to resign from the Fletcher Allen Board by Gov. Douglas. Why?

2) A congressman's job is to uphold the US Constitution, not make laws that are against it's principals.
 
"It's not the media's job to report and analyze a public servant's actual voting record because someone who wants to spend the time can research the information themselves??????? And public servant's do not need to answer to their constituents for votes that they make????????"

Your paraphrasing skills suck.

If you don't like what your media is reporting, then subscribe to different media. Don't hold Bernie or any politician accountable for not explaining votes because the media you choose isn't doing the job you want them to do. As for answering questions concerning votes, it's in black and white and if you need clarification or more information, simply pick up the phone. But don't expect your politicians to go door to door.

Its simple: If you want to be informed, you have to take action. If you want to be ignorant, then do nothing.
 
"But Congressman Sanders' forgets that his job is not to be a member of the Supremem Court, and interpret a bill on a constitutional/unconstitutional basis."


The way I look at that is: What if somebody is convicted of a crime under a law that is deemed unconstitutional?

I think what will happen is that the conviction will probably happen in lower court, but then will be overturned on appeal and the person set free. (And subsequently, the unconstutional law removed...perhaps impacting the constitutional parts)

So its in the best interest to not only catch criminals (an aspect of the Amber Alert), but also make sure they go to jail(a problem of having unconstitutional sentencing provisions). The bottom line is there is no reason why this law could not have been rewritten to make it bulletproof.
 
I agree that it could have been re-written. That's a very valid point. But then we have to say "Should-a, would-a, could-a." It wasn't re-written.

I want to know if saving lifes is more important then the constitutionality of an section of the law. Congressman Sanders didn't show support of the Amber Alert that day, but did when he secured, (something like) 120,000 or something.

The Supreme Court: designed to interpret the law.

The Judiciary Branch: designted to create and vote on a bill to become law.

Executive Branch: to enforce the law.

We have a constituion for a reason. We have checks and balances for a reason.

But moving past Amber Alert, Rich Tarrant's latest charge on the Victim's Rights and on the Marriage Tax - or whatever it was that is in the second TV ad. What are Bernie's responses. I haven't seen anything yet, other then Barbara Boxer's quote.
 
I agree that it could have been re-written. That's a very valid point. But then we have to say "Should-a, would-a, could-a." It wasn't re-written.

I want to know if saving lifes is more important then the constitutionality of an section of the law. Congressman Sanders didn't show support of the Amber Alert that day, but did when he secured, (something like) 120,000 or something.

The Supreme Court: designed to interpret the law.

The Judiciary Branch: designted to create and vote on a bill to become law.

Executive Branch: to enforce the law.

We have a constituion for a reason. We have checks and balances for a reason.

But moving past Amber Alert, Rich Tarrant's latest charge on the Victim's Rights and on the Marriage Tax - or whatever it was that is in the second TV ad. What are Bernie's responses. I haven't seen anything yet, other then Barbara Boxer's quote.
 
"As for answering questions concerning votes, it's in black and white"

I haven't read them all but his explanation on 3088 is so heavily spun that it's laughable, and good luck getting them to "clarify" it.
 
Ummm ...


The congress should not make laws that infringe on our Constitutional rights.


That's a pretty simple concept. I hope that we can agree on it.
 
How is a district determined, based on what the U.S. Constituion says?

If Congressman/women are so worried about being unconstitutional, then maybe we should fix some of what is in the constituion that has been deemed unconstitutional.
 
That would be a better approach -- better than passing unconstitutional laws.
 
That would be a better approach -- better than passing unconstitutional laws.
 
A better approach? One section of a the law was deemed unconstitutional. It's best that it was voted upon then waiting longer. The Amber Alert was hugely important. Why wait longer, what could be months, for it to be revised then voted upon again? Lives could have been at stake... they probably were.
 
So what percentage of Bernie's supporters have conducted what you deem to be the requisite independent research to uncover his Congressional voting record. I go back to my original point. I'll bet most of Bernie's supporters support him despite his actual voting record -- which most of them are likely unaware of. It is a fair point to disagree with the method that Tarrant is using, but holding Bernie's feet to the fire on his voting record is completely appropriate and necessary.
 
Simms --

Why vote for a law that the supreme court is going to strke down? It's stupid for congress to make laws that the supreme court is going to eliminate.
 
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