What Fresh Hell Is This?

February 18, 2010

Mary Beth Buchanan Takes On Marty Griffin

And, uh, it doesn't go well.

Talkingpointsmemo has a rundown:
Mary Beth Buchanan, a former Bush-era U.S. Attorney who is now running for Congress in Pennsylvania against Democratic Rep. Jason Altmire, may need to work on how she handles criticism of her tenure in office. Buchanan called into the radio show of local talker Marty Griffin, and apparently threatened him with a defamation suit.

You can listen to the entire thing here.

MBB took issue with what she saw was some less than factual assertions by Griffin and his previous guest, Dr. Cyril Wecht:
During his interview, Wecht alleged that the case had cost $20 million to prosecute. Buchanan called in to take serious exception to this, saying that it could have only been $500,000 at most -- and told Griffin that he better get his facts right. "And you know, we still have defamation laws in this country. And to the extent that you keep repeating things are flat-out wrong, you're running afoul. That case could not have cost the government more than $500,000, and that's on the outside."

"So you're saying you're going to sue me?" Griffin replied. "Is that what you're saying, Mary Beth, because Dr. Wecht and others are suggesting? So you're gonna run for Congress, and you're threatening to sue me because we're suggesting that the case cost $20 million?"

"I'm saying that you have to know what you're talking about before you start repeating things," Buchanan replied.
I thought she knew what she was doing.

Uh-oh. Is she gonna sue me for that?

Anyway, if we want to talk facts and stuff like that, there's always what Potter wrote this morning:
Over at the P-G's Early Returns blog yesterday, our pal Tim McNulty has broken news of Mary Beth Buchanan's not-so-surprising entry into the 4th Congressional District race.

Also somewhat less than entirely surprising: The press release announcing her campaign is already getting sloppy with the facts.
Potter focuses on this paragraph from Buchanan's press release:
Just last month, he voted with fellow liberals to spend up to $50 million to buy beachfront property in the Caribbean Islands that most people in Western Pennsylvania will never be able to visit.
Turns out to be untrue:
Actually, Buchanan is referring to House Resolution 3726. That legislation, currently pending in the Senate, would establish the Castle Nugent National Historical Site -- a new national park on St. Croix. (St. Croix is one of the U.S. Virgin Islands, which are U.S. territories.)

Altmire did indeed vote for the bill -- as did all but a handful of House Democrats. But he did not actually vote to spend $50 million, the estimated cost of purchasing all the land needed for the park. As one of his colleagues, West Virginia Democrat Nick Rahal, pointed out in a floor speech, "H.R. 3726 does not spend one dime, and every Member on this floor knows it. The legislation designates this area as a new [parks] unit, but the bill contains no direct spending."

Instead, the billl allows the National Park Service to accept donations of land -- park backers say some of it is likely to be offered for free -- or request for money to purchase property in the future. (Land acquisition could take a decade.) But those appropriations would be handled in later legislation. A summary by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office confirms this, noting that merely "[e]nacting H.R. 3726 would have no effect on direct spending or revenues."
Is Chris Potter gonna get sued too?


Joshua said...

Time to start a #mbbrumors trending topic on Twitter, because it was fun when we were doing it to Ravenstahl.

Mike said...

Maybe Mary Beth Buchanan has a point.

Obama and the Democrats should sue Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, the Tea Partier's (I won't say Tea Baggers, or else I might get sued.), the entire Republican Party and so on and so on for defamation of character.

Jason Altmire should sue her for her lie about him voting to spend $50 million on beach front property. It is really designate a new park and has no spending attached to it.

By the way, isn't she related to Buchanan-Ingosol?

EdHeath said...

I've noticed people complaining here about Altmire, how he is behaving like a Republican in Democrat's clothing. Well, the district is slightly Democratic, but I do not think Gavin Newsome or Cory Booker would do well there. If someone more liberal can win in the primary, they might have a chance, but I am suspecting no one more liberal will even try (anyone want to entice Ron Klink from retirement, he is perhaps slightly more liberal than Altmire). In the general, though, a vote against Altmire is a vote for a Republican in Republican's clothing (whoever it is), and if Altmire has broke with the Democrats on some key votes, well, a Republican would *never* vote with the Democrats.

I suspect MBB will have trouble connecting with the labor vote, which might well keep her from the office.

Mark Rauterkus said...

A handful of Rs are bucking to get into the primary. Perhaps as good person or a more liberal one is in that line up and wins.

GeneW said...

Ed, I was probably one of the people who you've noticed complaining about Altmire but I do have to admit that you are correct. As annoying as Blue Dog Democrats are, they are still better than the best Republican in Congress right now.

EdHeath said...

Gene, you were one of the people I noticed, although I also noticed you said you don't live in that district anymore.

What is interesting to me is how to look at the Republican's election strategy through the perspective of their legislative strategy. On the one hand, being the party of absolute no to new legislation, the Republicans might be able to tap into the general anger people feel towards the government. On the other hand, when you look at what the Republicans are voting against, they clearly are not interested in helping people who have been hurt by the downturn. Apparently the Republicans have abandoned the big tent and are interested only in appealing to the tea party types (possibly mostly rural poor) and some wealthy people (either urban, suburban, exurban or Montana). The election may turn on the ability of dis-heartened Democrats to gird their loins (so to speak) and educate people about what they lost when the Republicans refused to help this year.

Clyde Wynant said...

I've been pretty vocal about Jason as well.... While he is a vote in our favor, that only matters if he votes on the "big things," and nothing was bigger this year than health care. A park in St. Croix. Eh...

As to MBB. Well, what do you expect? A lawyer who "lawyers up" immediately! That said, I am not a fan of a lot of talk radio, where facts are indeed often misrepresented. Bigger numbers make for more outrageous charges and counter charges. And that brings on the ratings!

Her mistake, and I'm sure her consultants were rolling their eyes (who is handling her, by the way?) was this lawsuit threat. She would have been smart to just contradict the fact and move on. Of course, she is a woman and (please don't flame me...) she may feel that she has to show just how powerful and ballsy she is.

Or, she's just a putz.

You make the call....

Joy said...

The problem with Altmire is that he acts so progressive when in a progressive friendly space. Altmire was really busy tsk tsking when Doyle explained why he was pushing for funding to make a "good faith" attempt to scale up carbon capture. (Disclosure: I don't think that geological carbon capture can actually reconcile the joint goals of net capture of carbon, net energy generation, and a cost that competes with other clean technologies. I loathe the "clean coal" misinformation campaigns. However, I'm willing to recognize that it's socially and psychologically necessary for PA to give a good, limited-time push to see if it can be done.) So Doyle busts his butt to find the votes he needs for a clean energy bill, and where's Mr. "too pure for carbon capture"? Why, he can't support it so long as there's any language either capping or taxing or trading carbon emissions. Same song and dance for heath care reform--Oh, we all want access and affordability, but don't you dare talk public option (something that his district does, support, based on the polling numbers, but that his past employer and big donor UPMC does not). That's why he gets so much grief on these pages.

None of which changes that fact that Buchanan is an uncharming wing-nut control freak who is running a lying, hypocritically sanctimonious campaign. So we're left with the slightly slimy ex-lobbyist Democrat vs. Dolores Umbridge. Remember, this is the woman who can't tell disturbing writing from actual child pornography...who prosecuted Tommy Chong...and who prosecuted veterans for wearing too high a level of uniform or insignia at veterans day and memorial day events. Yep, she's got her priorities straight, all right.

Blue Number 2 said...

Joy, Congressman Altmire is on the record supporting a public option. I've personally heard him state as such and he campaigned on the idea of extending Medicare to more Americans. His problem with the House helathcare bill was not the public option.