Winston Churchill said “a lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on” – except in our interconnected world, the lie circles a million times!
That’s why Congressman Salazar’s television ad attacking Scott Tipton as a “fat-cat banker” who has benefited from bank bailout funds is so reprehensible. In fact, newspapers have editorialized against Salazar’s intentionally propagating patently false or misleading claims about Tipton.
The Grand Junction Sentinel’s Sept. 28 editorial titled “Salazar’s Unfair Slam” details the deception:
The new ad claims, “Tipton served on the board of a bank that took bailout funds.”
The only thing accurate about the statement is that Tipton did serve on the board of directors of Vectra Bank for six years. But he ended that service in 2005, three years before Congress approved bank bailout money through the Troubled Asset Relief Program. Also, Vectra didn’t directly receive TARP funds. Its holding company, Zions Bancorporation, did.
Furthermore, TARP went to cover troubled loans, not to bank directors personally.
The editorial also takes on Salazar for his class warfare tactics. Salazar’s ad criticizes Tipton for “investments in banks taking $125 billion in bailout funds.” But most well-diversified stock market investors own bank stocks, including those that took TARP money. Are small investors in Citigroup or Bank of America greedy Wall Street fat cats too? Furthermore, Salazar’s repeated reference to Tipton as a “multimillionaire banker” is false – Tipton was the first in his family to graduate college and is a small businessman in Cortez, where he founded an Indian pottery business 26 years ago. He has never been a banker.
Finally, Salazar’s attempt to take credit for voting against TARP in 2008 belies his vote to join the Democratic majority to extend TARP in 2009, which he conveniently omits in his TV ad.
Why isn’t Salazar campaigning on his “accomplishments”? He voted in favor of the $862 billion stimulus, the last budget that sharply boosted domestic spending, and Obamacare (which 63 percent in his district oppose). He voted last week to adjourn Congress without passing a budget or making a decision regarding the largest tax increases in U.S. history scheduled to happen on Jan. 1. Perhaps he isn’t proud of his votes and knows he can neither defend them nor his refusal to hold an in-person Town Hall meeting at which he’d have to answer his constituents’ discontent with his policies.
Salazar’s intentional distortion of the facts and his willingness to assassinate the character of his opponent are borne of desperation and the absence of a positive agenda or set of accomplishments on which to campaign. This is the very nonsense that fuels voter cynicism and anger. It is the mark of an insecure and unfair man to elevate himself, not through his own accomplishments, but by slandering others.
Thankfully, as Abraham Lincoln said, “Truth is generally the best vindication against slander” – right up there with Salazar’s defeat in November.
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