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Monday, October 18, 2010

SDGOP Twists SHS Voting Record in Cowboy Mailer

SDGOP Shadow Cowboy MailerFront of SDGOP Shadow Cowboy Mailer
"South Dakotans are Strong and Independent..."reads the front of a new mailer from the South Dakota Republican Party. The glossy flyer features a manly cowboy in obligatory hat silhouetted against a prairie sunset. It also demonstrates that the local GOP is not strong enough to win a campaign on the merits of their own candidates and policy solutions and has to depend on distorting the voting record of Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin.

The main thesis of this piece of GOP propaganda is the tried and tired strategy of making the election about the image of Nancy Pelosi. "Stephanie Herseth Sandlin Votes with Pelosi 91.5% of the Time," they warn. The SDGOP pulls that number from the Washington Post Votes Database, which does indeed say that SHS votes with the majority of her party 91.5% of the time.

Inside SDGOP shadow cowboy mailer
Inside of SDGOP shadow cowboy mailer
The GOP mails this claim just as FactCheck.org issues a pretty clear explanation of how both Republicans and Democrats exaggerate the significance of the numbers from WaPo's database. FactCheck.org notes the obvious, that voting with the majority is not the same as voting with Pelosi. FactCheck.org then does the analysis I recommended in July and August and finds that a count of actual head-to-head votes on OpenCongress.org puts SHS's Pelosi-match rate at 81%. That's still reasonably high... until you realize that SHS votes the same way as John Boehner 52% of the time. FactCheck.org concludes that those 81% of votes with Pelosi include a lot of votes that are irrelevant to serious policy.

Irrelevant to serious policy... hmm... sounds an awful lot like the GOP and their shadowy cowboy.

Stay tuned: critique of the SDGOP Twilight Cowboy's health care smokescreen coming up!

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