All over the length and breadth of our great nation, lefty blogs such as Dailykos and Huffington Post have found a new target/victim: rookie Congressman Doug Lamborn.
For those of you with actual lives who don’t follow petty political spats, here’s some background.
A Monument couple, Jonathan and Anna Bartha, one of whom had worked for Jeff Crank in the 2006 election, wrote a letter to the editor accusing Lamborn of taking a $1,000 contribution from International Gaming Technologies, a manufacturer of gambling devices. Their letter was published in the Woodmen Edition. Lamborn, whose opposition to gambling is no secret, claimed that he had simply returned the uncashed check to IGT. The company confirmed his story.
The couple, it turned out, had based their accusation on data available from Federal Election Commission records. As any political reporter knows, these records can be incomplete, late, or inaccurate.
Meanwhile, Lamborn called the Barthas, and left two messages, suggesting that they needed to talk. Here’s what he said (in part):
“I would like to get together with you and show this to you and appeal to you as a brother and sister in Christ. You didn’t give me that opportunity but I am happy to overlook that and deal with you on that level because I think that is the right thing to do and show you where you made a blatant, wrong statement.
Now there are consequences to this kind of thing, but I would like to work with you in a way that is best for everyone here concerned…”
Does this sound bizarre, or threatening? I don’t think so. It just sounds as if an understandably annoyed/concerned Lamborn is trying to clear up a misunderstanding, or defuse a politically motivated attack. Consequences? He probably meant that they’d get a nasty letter from GOP headquarters, invoking Reagan’s 11th Commandment (“Thou shall not speak ill of a fellow Republican”).
But here’s what happened: ignoring statements from both Lamborn and IGT, media and bloggers locally and nationally jumped on the story. Their line: the FEC records are holy writ, so Lamborn took the money! Lamborn’s phone call was a ‘Mafia Moment’-next thing you know, there’ll be a horse’s head in the Bartha’s bed! Call the House Ethics Committee!
This is simple swiftboating, politics at its nastiest. Take your oppponent’s strength, and twist it into a weakness with disingenuous half-truths. Perhaps the Barthas simply made an honest mistake, and Lamborn’s foes saw opportunity. In any case, this is the first salvo in the campaign by party rivals to Dump Doug.