OP-ED | Dear Emily’s List, ‘I Told You So’
I was talking politics with friends at a bridal shower recently (alas, no rest for the wicked) and we got onto the topic of how annoyed we are with the profusion of “Women for Candidate XYZ” groups on both sides of the political aisle. If we’ve been fighting for equality all these years, why do we need to have a separate women’s group to support a candidate? I either support a candidate or I don’t. I don’t need sorority sisters to guide me. Isn’t that the point of being an intelligent, independent woman?
Almost exactly a year ago, I expressed my incredulity when Emily’s List endorsed Susan Bysiewicz as for Senate.
Since that time, I’ve stopped donating to Emily’s List, because I no longer trust their ability to vet candidates worthy of support. Their endorsement of Bysiewicz made that clear.
As if I hadn’t detailed enough reasons in last year’s piece, this week Ms. Bysiewicz scored a pretty spectacular own goal when she released her first negative ad of the campaign:
After pushing out a TV on a trolley like a strangely be-suited member of the high school AV Club, Bysiewicz replays a 2006 Murphy campaign commercial criticizing Nancy Johnson for accepting pharmaceutical contributions and then attempts to emulate his format:
“He’s taken more hedge fund money than any other Democrat in Congress. I approve this message because you can’t stand up to Wall Street when they’re giving you this much money,” Bysiewicz says in the ad, as a list of Murphy donors scrolls behind her.
(Sound of Screeching Brakes) Wait? What’s that I hear? Bysiewicz got her facts wrong? Well knock me down with a feather!
Dear Emily’s List: I don’t want to say I told you so but…I kind of did, 12 months ago. Wish you’d asked some of us folks on the ground before making your endorsement.
Has Chris Murphy “taken more hedge fund money than any other Democrat in Congress?” Let’s have a look see at those annoying little things called “facts”, shall we?
I know some people are math challenged, but after counting twice, I’ve spotted eleven Democrats (and that’s ignoring the Republicans) who have received more hedge fund contributions that Chris Murphy.
Bysiewicz’ campaign spent most of Thursday defending the ad, but by the end of the day were forced to admit there had been a research error.
In defending their error, the Bysiewicz campaign cites this Open Secrets link, which does, indeed, show Murphy as the Democrat in the House receiving the most money from the Securities and Investment Industry (note: not “hedge funds” as Bysiewicz claimed in the ad.”)
However, like most things in the ad, this is disingenuous because Murphy is now running for Senate. When you run the more relevant “All Senate Candidates” list, Murphy is ninth below several Democrats and Republicans, and notably above Bysiewicz, Chris Shays and Linda McMahon, which is an interesting indicator of where the market thinks this election is going.
Republican Chris Shays was number two on the House list in 2006, taking in over $440,000 from the Securities and Investment industries alone. Shays took in almost $36,000 from hedge funds in the 2008 cycle when he wasn’t even running for office – presumably to help pay down debt after his former campaign manager Michael Sohn embezzled $250,000.
Let’s face it – even before the disastrous Citizens United decision, delegates representing the home districts of those who make their out of sight livings from hedge funds, investment banking etc., were bound to higher up the list.
What’s more, as Murphy campaign spokesman Taylor Lavender pointed out: “If Bysiewicz were really the candidate fighting Wall Street, why hasn’t a single grassroots progressive group in Connecticut stood up and supported her? The answer is simple: AFL-CIO, CCAG, AFSCME, SEIU, the Working Families Party and many others support Chris because he doesn’t just talk about reform, he’s actually fighting for it.”
Murphy’s campaign released a list of the financial sector donations to Bysiewicz’ own campaign, which in a mere two years totaled over $232,000. Pot meet kettle.
Looks like Mrs. Bysiewicz’ ad is a case of “if you can’t beat ‘em, complain about ‘em.”
Sarah Darer Littman is an award-winning columnist and novelist of books for teens. Long before the financial meltdown, she worked as a securities analyst and earned her MBA in Finance from the Stern School at NYU.