Stop Lying, Jane Norton

Because (as Benjamin Franklin noted) “half a truth is often a great lie,” Jane Norton is often a great liar. She has repeatedly smeared Ken Buck’s character with half-truths. (Norton and Buck are the Republican candidates vying for U.S. Senate in Colorado.) Consider:

* In a June 24 release, Norton’s campaign claims, “[T]hen-United States Attorney John Suthers, the current Attorney General who was recently hailed by conservatives for suing to stop Obamacare, reprimanded Buck earlier in the decade and even required Buck to take ethics courses for ethical and professional breeches during his stint at the United States Attorney’s office.” But Norton’s claim is a half-truth. The full truth, as Dave Kopel explains, is that Buck was challenging an unjust prosecution by anti-gun zealot Tom Strickland, who initiated the reprimand before Suthers took over the office. Buck erred in a detail of how he challenged the prosecution, but he was quite right to challenge it.

* Currently Jane Norton’s web page claims that, because Ken Buck said people should vote for him because he does “not wear high heels,” therefore “Ken Buck may think a woman’s place is in the house.” But Norton’s claim about Buck’s comment is a half-truth. The full truth is that Buck made that statement as part of a dumb joke at the Independence Institute’s Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms party in response to Norton’s gender-based attacks.

* Yesterday, Jane Norton’s campaign sent out the following release:

Today, Ken Buck was caught on tape again. After spending the week explaining his high heels comments, today Ken Buck is explaining why he said he was “sick of Tea Partiers.” Read the full story here.

Said Norton campaign spokesperson Cinamon Watson, “Ken Buck is two steps short of a fraud. He’s a self-proclaimed tea partier who trashes tea partiers when he thinks no one is looking. He’s an alleged fiscal conservative who increased his budget by 40 percent. He’s a Tom Tancredo disciple who trashes Tancredo when he thinks the mic is off. Ken says he can appeal to swing voters and beat Michael Bennet, and then trashes the roughly 50 percent of voters who wear high heels. Bottom line: the voters of Colorado can’t trust Ken Buck.”

But Jane Norton and Cinamon Watson are simply lying about what Buck said about the Tea Parties.

In the Denver Post story the Norton campaign cites, the phrase “sick of Tea Partiers” does not appear. Here’s what Buck did say on June 11 while somebody recorded him without his knowledge: “Will you tell those dumbasses at the Tea Party to stop asking questions about birth certificates while I’m on the camera?”

The simple truth is that the so-called “birthers” — and I’ve also seen a few at Tea Parties — ARE dumbasses, and Buck is quite right to point that out. (The obvious follow-up question is whether Norton defends the “birthers.”) It should be noted that “birthers” are not representative of Tea Partiers. All big rallies, especially left-wing ones, attract some goofballs, nuts, and, yes, dumbasses.

It is particularly ironic that Norton’s campaign accuses Buck of being “two steps short of fraud” in the very paragraph in which Norton’s campaign lies about Buck.

I for one am sick of your lying, Norton. Knock it off. If you’re going to continually lie in your primary campaign, how can voters trust you to honestly represent them as a U.S. Senator?

As a matter of political strategy, your lies are stupid. All you’re doing is needlessly annoying Buck’s supporters (as well as unaffiliated voters like me), making it harder for you to win the general election should you win the nomination. While it is true that Buck should learn when to keep his mouth shut, it is equally true that you should criticize him for what he’s actually done and said, rather than for the half truths and great lies you’re spinning about him.