Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Harris Campaign has a truthiness problem

America is a free country and anyone can run for office. We are glad the only state senator not to endorse Andy finally realizes that Gilchrest should no longer be representing the first congressional district. However, Pipkin and Gilchrest are two tax-and-spend peas in a liberal pod. Andy Harris is the only person in this race who shares the conservative values of the first congressional district.”
- Harris Campaign statement regarding E.J. Pipkin's entrance into the race
So if the Harris folks were telling the truth, why did this happen?

The campaign of State Sen. E.J. Pipkin announced today the endorsement of Senate Minority Leader David R. Brinkley. Pipkin is challenging incumbent Rep. Wayne Gilchrest in the Republican primary in Maryland’s 1st Congressional District.

“Sen. Brinkley is a very-well respected man and an outstanding Republican,” Andi Morony, Pipkin’s press secretary, said in an interview with

Morony referred to Brinkley’s said the endorsement would “absolutely” help the campaign.

Brinkley, speaking with, said that Pipkin was the “best candidate to keep the (congressional) seat on the Republican side.”

The Harris campaign clearly seems to have a problem with telling the truth, and I have no idea why they would have try to get away with such a major fib on such a minor issue like an endorsement. But it certainly does draw further into question whether or not Andy Harris has the traits we want from a member of Congress....



Anonymous said...

Brian, If this is the best that you can come up with, Pipkin dosn't have a chance.

Anonymous said...

How is this for a problem with the Truth!
Andy Harris voted for in-state tuition for illegal aliens during the 2003 session.
Doesn't that go against all of the anti-illegal talking points?
Oh, but it is just like John Kerry said, "I was for it before I was against it."
Seems like a flip-flop to me.

Michael Swartz said...

Actually, I've seen it cited in other places where it was 7 of the 8 State Senators in the First Congressional District. It would strain the bounds of credibility to assert 46 of 47 State Senators so I'd have to believe Harris was speaking of the 1st District.

Anonymous said...

Now you have to back 4 years. Pipkin voted for the Omalley budget THIS year.

Brian Griffiths said...

Oh c'mon Michael, you can't sell me on that when when the quote comes directly from the Harris site.....

Anonymous said...

Harris voted for in state tuition for illegals even though he's out there representing the opposite? Harris lied about having all but one senate republican senators endorsing him? What's next? Am starting to hear some not so flattering things from a few who are or have been close to his camp...

Anonymous said...

wow...the Pipkin people must follow this website closely. Obviously, Harris meant the District 1 senators. C'mon Bryan, don't be stupid...of course he is not going to claim that every other Senator supported him...I don't think Frosh or Miller would ever endorse Harris. Also, regarding the Illegal Immigration comment, I find that very hard to believe. I know for a fact that Andy personally killed the in-state tuition for illegal immigrants this past year. Why would he support it one year, yet be the most boisterous opponent against it...he's not stupid...I just wish I could make up blatant lies against Pipkin and Gilchrest like their campaigns do about Harris.

bud said...

It seems a majority of the Harris support comes from hard cores who don't even live in this district. Unlike most of the contributors here, I have refused to jump on the Harris bandwagon. I have endorsed Pipkin.

Anonymous said...

Harris also says he voted against every single tax increase, every one.

Harris wouldn't know the truth if it him in the face.

bud said...

Harris isn't a man of conviction. He'd do exactly as the republican party leadership tells him. He thinks standing with republicans no matter what makes him a conservative. No Andy, it makes you a intellectually dishonest partisan.

Marc said...

As a First District resident, when I read the comment by Chris Meekins in the Daily Times I knew full well that he was referring to the state senators in the First District. Every one of them with the exception of Pipkin endorsed him. That's clearly what he was talking about and to criticize him for sloppy phrasing is ridiculous.

As for the anonymous commenter who said that Harris's support is coming from outside the District, I can only assume that this commenter must not live in the First District. I've been at a few Harris events and you see a lot of support from the rank-and-file GOP. A lot of local central committee members, county GOP elected officials, and state GOP Representatives and Senators support Harris. At least in my First District county, Harris has a wide swath of support from the GOP base.

bud said...


I made that contention and I stand by it. Six senators signed the endorsement letter. Only three of them live in District 1. Janet Greenip hails from Congressional District 3. Larry Haines lives in Congressional District 6. And, Bryan Simonaire, whether he knows it or not, lives in District 2.

Marc said...


I didn't realize you were talking about Harris's support among Senators. His support over here on the Eastern Shore is pretty strong among both the grassroots and among local elected officials.

Not being familiar with the exact boundaries of the First District on the Western Shore, do the other Senators who endorsed Harris represent portions of the First District?

The Waterman said...

It doesn't really matter if the Harris campaign meant to say the 1st District Senators, the language clearly states all. It's an obvious blunder and the fact that they haven't caught it and corrected it says to me they're very aware of what they're saying and are trying to create a subliminal message of Andy having overwhelming support in MD instead of the middling support he has.

And if we're talking about real truthiness issues, how about Harris' claim to the be the only conservative candidate. I debunked that pretty thoroughly here and as of yet have still gotten no challenge since I invited one if it could be done.

Marc said...


I agree with you about Harris's claim that he's the only conservative candidate. I've told one of his staffers that it's a stretch to say that Pipkin is a liberal like Gilchrest. I don't think Harris is wise to use this line of attack.

However, it's ridiculous to say that Harris is intending to deceive with his comments about which Senators support him. Clearly he didn't mean to leave the impression that every single Maryland Senator endorsed him except Pipkin. You really think he was trying to claim that all Senators, including Democrats, support him? Of course not. But this is the literal reading of this statement. Since it is clearly not what Meekins meant, your reasoning in attacking Harris is flawed. No reasonable person can assume that Meekins' statement claims what you say. It's dishonest of anyone to say that Harris is intentionally being dishonest here.

The statement is technically inaccurate way of saying that every Senator who represents the First District, save Pipkin, supports him. It could have been phrased better, sure, but to try and see some sinister meaning where there is none makes no sense. There are things to letitimately criticize about Harris; if this is what you are stuck with, then that's a pretty sad effort.

The Waterman said...

I don't think it's an intentional attempt to truly deceive. But Chris Meekins is a smart guy, I know that much.

By saying every State Senator he knows most people will figure out what is meant is that all the ones who represent the 1st District, save EJ. In the conscious mind people will see it and recognize the actual truth as opposed to the literal meaning of the words.

But there's also an interaction with the unconscious mind that has to be considered. The conscious mind sees that statement and infers the real truth from it. But some portion of that literal statement is going to enter into the unconscious mind and stay there. If it happens once it's no big deal. But when it is repeated over and over again it is a message that gets driven deeply into the unconscious mind and pretty soon it becomes and accepted truth that most everyone supports Andy Harris when the actual truth is far from it.

Chris Meekins is a smart guy. I find it hard to believe that no one noticed that error before it went out. I find it even harder to believe that no one has pointed out to them since then. Seeing as the website still has the statement listed without any correction it suggests to me that Meekins is fully aware of what is being said and how it interacts with the conscious and unconscious minds, perhaps not in the more academic way I described it, but in a practical aspect at least since it's a pretty classic campaigning technique.

Mike Netherland said...

No, Pipkin is probably not a liberal, however, his supporters refer to him as a 'moderate.' Gilchrest was a "moderate" when he went to Washington. Do we really want to take a chance on another one?

No. A Partisan is exactly what we need. Someone who will add to the votes and voices of the minority Party in Congress. You see, in order to hold sway over critical pieces of legislation we need votes. We DON'T need independent thinkers. The time for independent thinking comes during the debate or the hearings. But if and when you've failed to convince the rest of your party that yours is the way to vote, then you DAMN well better vote with the rest of the GOP.

Harris will vote with the rest of the party because the vote agrees with conservative values; or the rest of the party will vote with Harris because he has articulated the conservatism of his position.

That is what I and his other supporters expect him to do. Why? Because it is what WE would do if we were in his shoes. It's perfectly simple.

Pipkin? I don't know the guy. He would, I assume, see the conservative valus in, say, securities lawmaking. But hey, Warren Buffett would be the same way, wouldn't he? Would you want Warren Buffett representing you in Congress? No. Or how about all the fine upstanding businessmen and women in US Chamber of Commerce, busy helping the ACLU and AFL-CIO bring in illegal aliens? No, I don't think they can be trusted, either, with upholding the principles of liberty, small government and faith in God, unless there's a buck in it for them.

bud said...


You're operating under the false assumption that siding with the republicans means you've voted conservative. Personally, I want someone you'll stand up for my values, not the values some party leader decides s/he wants.

Marc said...


We do need an independent thinker in Congress and not just one who votes the GOP party line. Too often over the past few years the GOP party line has been for more government spending, increasing government involvement in local matters, and more expensive entitlement programs. We need someone who is willing to stand up for conservative values, not just blindly follow the directions of the GOP leadership. I think Harris will do that, however. At least that's how he's talking on the campaign trail.

I've met Pipkin a few times and have been impressed by him. He's led the fight against Medicaid expansion and tax increases in the General Assembly. He would do a much better job than Gilchrest is doing, that's for sure. But Harris is more conservative and he's been in the race for months. He deserves the support of conservatives. Pipkin should have stayed out of the race if he were truly interested in seeing a conservative replace Gilchrest.

Mike Netherland said...

Bud and Marc,
What good will it do you or me if some one stands up for YOUR values at the expense of mine or to little or no avail?

This is a two-party system. There are two ways to vote. In the end, voting is what counts. The time for independet thinking is OVER when it comes down to the vote.

Marc, you absolutely correct. Over the past few years te GOP has not represented conservatives (no one, I mean NO one, is tougher on the GOP than yours truly, for this very fact). This can change if we keep focused on sending conservatives to Congress to vote Republican.

Bud, conservatives don't stand a chance in the Democratic Party. The idea is to elect Republicans who actually do stand up for your values. Republicans who will become "some party leader" some day.

The Waterman said...


Ideological values ought to trump pragmatic ones. Conservative is more important than Republican. Logic like yours is what continues to drive the GOP further and further from its conservative roots and into the arms of religious right extremists like Harris.

I already showed in a previous thread that if one truly understands conservatism then they will see that Harris is no conservative (incidentally Marc, I think you missed the point I was making so for both of you the link to the comments where I showed this is here).

I agree with you, we need to send real conservatives to Washington if we want to change this. But we need to make sure that we send REAL conservatives. It says something when the people who are the intellectual basis of the conservative movement (John Locke, Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Ayn Rand, Barry Goldwater, etc.) were all highly critical of religion yet now the politicians who usually claim to be conservative are holy rollers like Harris, Huckabee, and George W. Bush.

Mike Netherland said...

First, your credibility suffers when you make comments like this:

"...the fictional concept of "family values" and preserving an outdated moral code drawn from Christian teachings..."

"...the pointless debates over non-issues like gay marriage and gays in the military."

Second, your candidate is definitely not going to represent me in Congress. Consequently, your opinion on Harris' conservative credentials constitutes the pointless debate here.

Third, we don't have a Conservative Party. We have the next best thing. We need to make it work for us.

The Waterman said...


First, I don't really see the point you're trying to make here. You can't just throw out some selectively chosen quotations and say it hurts my credibility without establishing how it does so.

Second, I have even more trouble following your point here. No matter who is elected, they will represent us so it is of utmost importance that someone is selected who best matches our own values. And when you yourself said you cared about conservative values I think it is worth establishing just what they are.

As I understand it (and have argued ) conservatism is the belief that the role of the government is a minimal one: preserve individual liberty through low taxes, few restrictions on the market, and as little intrusion into people's lives as possible. Therefore what are often considered family values issues are really outside the scope of conservatism and the proper role of government.

If you disagree with this definition of conservatism please explain why and what you think cinservatism is so I can have a better idea of where you're coming from.

And third, I don't really disagree with you, I just think that the way we make it work for us is force it to come back to true conservative values.