The Des Moines Register published an editorial that again demonstrates why the editorial board shouldn’t be taken seriously. The headline reads: “No place in Iowa campaigns for dirty tricks.” They take aim at Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds.
What dirty trick? They beat State Senator Jack Hatch (D-Des Moines) and his running mate Monica Vernon to reserving the HatchVernon.com domain name.
The website looks like an official campaign homepage for the Democratic team. But it isn’t. It’s a parody with content controlled by the governor’s team. They are using it to leave the impression with the public that Hatch and Vernon are seeking to raise taxes and pass “unbalanced budgets.”
The stunt “just increases the cynicism of the American public that there’s nothing politicians won’t do,” said Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.
I’m wiping a tear from the corner of my eye.
They also take aim at Branstad administration spokesperson Jimmy Centers who tweeted:
— Jimmy Centers (@jimcenters) June 17, 2014
Centers is the same person who is paid with your tax money to work in Iowa’s state government as the spokesman for the governor’s office. If Centers wants to engage in such blatantly political activities, then Branstad should pay him from the Branstad campaign treasury instead of paying him from the state treasury of Iowa.
Centers also tweeted that at 8:35a from his person account so are they saying that a state official can not be involved in political activity on his own social media accounts and his own time?
If he was running the @IowasTeam account and sending out press releases on behalf of the campaign then they would have an argument, but complaining about a tweet from his personal account before his work day may have started?
Give me a break. I also have to ask if they held Culver staff to such standards, I doubt it.
They then write:
Such antics aren’t smart or comical. They clearly are intended to try to deceive voters. Sloan’s group has charged that such imposter websites violate congressional ethics rules and Federal Elections Commission regulations.
Whether such sites do or don’t violate federal rules and regulations isn’t the point. The American public is cynical enough about politics and politicians already. They don’t need misleading actions like these fueling cynicism.
It’s bad enough when candidates buy domain names and then set them on the shelf unused, just to prevent their opponents from using them. But it’s another matter when they use the sites to try to spread inaccurate information about a challenger’s vision and positions.
I know it is so easy to miss the Branstad-Reynolds sign up on the front page.
I know it is so difficult to discern that a campaign would not make unflattering comments about themselves. Frankly this tactic is normal – both Democrats and Republicans have engaged in it.
Hatch’s campaign should have been on the ball reserving the domain. Instead of whining about this the Des Moines Register should be asking why Hatch’s campaign operatives are so incompetent. Campaigns when considering running mates should be reserving all potential URLs on their list. It’s not like it is a huge campaign cost.
The editorial board needs to focus on serious issues like the IRS scandal for instance instead of being a mouthpiece for the Hatch-Vernon campaign.