Beast Banner Sept 12 - Oct 5, 2006
ISSUE #107
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ArrowGreat Gaffes Through the Ages
A comprehensive list

ArrowWhy ask Why?
Five years after 9/11, the question remains unanswered
Matt Taibbi

ArrowExtreme History Makeover
Lynne Cheney and the rules of history
Christopher Famighetti

ArrowYour Tax Dollars at Work
In Washington, another tale of waste and fraud unpunished
Matt Taibbi

ArrowBaby Suri Hates You, Wants You Dead
Scott Brochert and Josh Righter

Local BEAST
ArrowCON
Tom Reynolds, WNY’s human colostomy bag
Allan Uthman
Departments

ArrowThe Beast Page 3
Obscure Racial Epithet

ArrowKino Korner: Movies
Hollywoodland, The Black Dahlia, The Covenant, The Last Kiss, Gridiron Gang, The Protector

ArrowBEAST-O-Scopes
As divined by your ethereal guide

Arrow[sic] - Letters
Gentleman Be Trippin', Hot Girl on Girl Misogyny, Our Illiterate Correspondent and more

CON

continued - page 2

Not content simply to lie about himself and his platform, Reynolds kicked it up a notch with his latest ad, an attack on his Democratic opponent, “Jack Davis: Raising Taxes.” His “fighting for jobs” ad made it clear that Reynolds is nervous about losing to the self-financed political neophyte who took 44% of the vote two years ago, before the Abramoff-Delay corruption scandals, Hurricane Katrina, Bush’s decline in approval and the growing opposition to the war in Iraq. But this time, Reynolds seeks, amazingly, to define his opponent as the real power elitist, and a Very Bad Man.

Jack Davis Ad“Western New Yorkers work hard,” intones a professional voiceover guy, “to make ends meet; to provide for their families. But millionaire Jack Davis doesn’t understand. His plan to increase tariffs is really a tax increase on families, raising the cost of everything. Experts say his risky plan could create havoc, damaging our economy [the ‘experts’ in question here are the editorial board at Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, quoted from 2004]. Davis even admits his plan raises taxes on working families [the supporting Davis quotation here reads ‘a duty is a tariff is a tax’—any mention of working families is conspicuously absent]. That’s plain wrong. Millionaire Jack Davis: raising taxes; hurting families.”

There are a few reasons why Reynolds should be mercilessly beaten for approving this ad. For one, the chutzpah of a GOP politician as wealth-subservient as Reynolds attempting to smear someone as a “millionaire” is astounding. I couldn’t find Tom Reynolds’ net worth anywhere—congressional financial disclosure forms don’t require it—but it’s hard to believe that a seasoned congressman, chairman of the RNCC and close friend to Tom Delay, could manage to avoid becoming a millionaire in the process. It’s also a virtual certainty that when Reynolds finally leaves politics he will follow his predecessor Bill Paxon into an extremely lucrative lobbying career. At any rate, Reynolds makes a living as a compliant servant of the richest people in the world. For him to use the word “millionaire” as an epithet, like some scraggly-bearded Trotskyite grad student, is comical, especially when his constituency, consisting mainly of affluent Buffalo and Rochester suburbs, surely contains more than a few millionaires, most of whom are sure to vote for Reynolds.

The ad also completely subverts the meaning of tariffs, which, by the way, are taxes on imported goods, not “working families,” whatever the hell that means. The tariffs recommended by Davis are intended to protect American workers from unfair competition from foreign firms whose workers make as much in a month as Americans make in a day. Yes, tariffs would raise the cost of the Chinese-made goods at Wal Mart, but the theory goes that the tariffs would make American products competitive again, and workers would be better able to afford the higher prices because their jobs would pay better. This is how the American economy worked for a long, long time, including what most conservatives think of as America’s golden age. A lot of people these days think these ideas are obsolete, but I have yet to hear a decent explanation of how the new system won’t result in a sharp decline in domestic labor rights and the standard of living that Americans have taken for granted since WWII. In any case, it is clear that Davis believes strongly in balanced trade, and is clearly attempting to help, not hurt, families.

But the hypocrisy here goes beyond simple mischaracterization. The fact is that Reynolds has voted repeatedly, and as recently as July, to impose tariffs—yes, those family-hurting taxes—on China. So any way you slice it, Reynolds comes off as a disingenuous hump. Either tariffs are good, and Reynolds is lying, or they’re bad, and Reynolds is screwing us over.

Reynolds is banking on your ignorance here. He is banking on the probability that, despite voter frustration, he can win one more time if he just lies enough.

The thing about negative ads is they work. And there’s really nothing objectively wrong with them, as long as their content is true. The problem with dastardly ads like the infamous Swift Boat spots against John Kerry or the Reynolds ads isn’t that they’re negative; it’s that they’re bullshit. It’s bullshit that tariffs would hurt working families, or that Tom Reynolds is trying to save jobs in his district by helping Bush put the country in a debt hole from which it can never emerge. It’s bullshit that Tom Reynolds gives a damn about all of the children (and adults) who are cut off from quality health care by their relative poverty. But what’s not bullshit is that Tom Reynolds is a classic congressional pig, very closely associated with the worst of the Republican scumsuckers like Tom Delay and Jack Abramoff. Well, not just like Delay and Abramoff—actually Delay and Abramoff. Yes, Reynolds did take money from Jack Abramoff. And yes, he was Tom Delay’s protégé, taken under the disgraced congressional heavy’s leathery wing the day he took office as former Delay crony Bill Paxon’s hand-picked successor. Reynolds has taken to the corporate lobbyist teat like a greedy calf—for example, he has taken more PAC-funded luxury golf trips in the past three years than trips back home to his district.

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