NOM’s rather deceptive anti-Chafee ad
January 12th, 2011
The battle for marriage in Rhode Island has begun and the National Organization for Marriage has rolled out their first ad. Well, the rolled it out and then had to roll it back in because they misspelled Chafee’s name, but it’s back out there again with the correction.
The problem, of course, is that NOM is just about as honest as they ever are. Which is to say, not at all.
They tell us that Chafee only got 36% of the vote and imply that this means that only 36% of Rhode Islanders support marriage equality. But let’s look at the vote totals:
Lincoln D. CHAFEE (IND)…..123,571 36.1%
John F. ROBITAILLE (REP)..114,911 33.6%
Frank T. CAPRIO (DEM)……….78,896 23.0%
Kenneth J. BLOCK (MOD)…….22,146 6.5%
Three Others…………………………..2,799 0.8%
But what NOM doesn’t tell you is that Caprio and Block also ran on a pro-marriage-equality platform and one of t. In fact, two-thirds of Rhode Islanders voted for a candidate that pledged to support same-sex marriage.
They then do something that – if they had the ability to feel shame – would surely give them trouble sleeping. They compare Chafee’s percentage of an three-credible-person race to the results from an entirely different race. To understand how dishonest they are being, you have to have some background.
In the race for Lieutenant Governor (in which Chafee was not a candidate), the Republican nominee pulled out and threw her support to perennial candidate Robert J. Healey, JR., the founder of the Cool Moose Party (a riff on Theodore Roosevelt’s Bull Moose Party). She said that Healey agreed with her views on smaller government; and indeed Healey ran on a platform of eliminating the office of Lieutenant Governor. While NOM pretends that the Cool Moose is oh-so-amusing, it was actually the not-a-Democrat choice.
In a two-credible-person race with the Democratic candidate Elizabeth Roberts (and one minor party candidate), Republican-endorsed Healey got 39.2% of the vote. And it is that 39% that NOM compares to Chafee’s 36%.
But NOM doesn’t tell you that Liz Roberts, who got 54.5% of the Lieutenant Governor’s vote has endorsed marriage equality and supports Chafee’s efforts.
And they don’t tell you that truthful people, honest people, don’t try to fool you by comparing apples to pineapples. And, if they do, you don’t get to distort the numbers by using big bold completely-bogus graphics.
Because not only can you not compare different races involving different numbers of contestants, but the number of voters who cast a ballot in the Governor’s race was not the same as the number that voted in the Lieutenant Governor’s race. 39% of the Governor’s race is not 39% of the Lieutenant Governor’s race.
In his two-person race, Healey the Cool Moose, got slightly more votes than did Chafee in his three-person race that night; 2,492 to be exact. But that isn’t 3% of the vote like NOM’s graphic pretends.
Now graphics representing the real numbers between the two would have not illustrated NOM’s point very well, so they just used whatever they wanted. In other words, NOM behaved in a completely dishonest manner.
Why are we not surprised?
So here is my challenge to Maggie Gallagher in 2011: Maggie, I’m not going to ask you to stop lying. I’m not going to request that you take up honesty as way of life. All I ask of you now is that you stop pretending that you are on the side of God and righteousness and morality; it offends my Christian faith.