When you don’t have the votes, spin, spin,spin…
November 8, 2010
As we’ve all heard, the Republican Party has assured itself an unprecedented victory in this year’s Midterm Elections. According to the Popular Democratic Party (PDP) in a recently published article, this Republican victory signifies a loss for the statehood cause because Congress has supposedly lost most of the pro-self determination Congressmen. (Ola Republicana barre a congresistas que apoyaron la estadidad http://ppdpr.net/blog/?n=8) This claim, however, is misleading.
Deceptive tactics are the norm with the PDP. One example is the fact that the PDP affiliates itself with the Democratic Party in PR, only to encourage the Tea Party and the English-Only movement to oppose benefits for PR while in Washington, DC. The PDP builds up this opposition and then comes back to PR to accuse them of a racism they themselves foment. Another example of their misinformation, is the article in question.
The PDP article, published 2 days after the Midterm elections, claims that the results brushed most of the support that bills like the Puerto Rico Democracy Act enjoyed. However, the PDP article’s conclusions and allegations are almost entirely false and misleading. Normally, the PDP would not be worried about the facts and simply lie their way into forming an argument, but the public knows better and through these facts, exposes them.
The first claim the PDP makes is that the pro-statehood movement has lost Alan Grayson and Ron Klein from the Resources Committee. The fact is that neither of these congressmen belonged to that committee, and
furthermore, all but four of our friends in the resources committee are still in Congress. A little bit more research would have made this obvious.
A second claim is made that many of these congressmen lost due to their support for HR2499. Claiming this fact only uncovers, at best, the PDP’s ignorance, and, at worst, the PDP’s willingness to lie to the public. However, there is a far more misleading argument in the PDP’s article – the numbering of congressmen that will not be rejoining the next congress. The PDP will have you think that this signifies a net loss of supporters for the self-determination campaign. A little research and some political common sense show otherwise.
The article lists 31 Congressmen that either retired or were defeated on or before November 2, and it claims that this has taken away the possibility of passing a self-determination bill. First of all, HR2499 enjoyed around 182 co-sponsors, and it was passed in the House of Representatives with 223 votes. If you take away 31 Congressmen from this list, you wouldn’t have enough votes to pass any legislation, but here’s what the PDP article doesn’t tell you: this list is misleading because most of these congressmen have been replaced by people who DO support Puerto Rico’s self-determination. Some in this list didn’t even vote for HR2499 as the PDP claims, congressmen like Neil Abercrombie, John Shadegg, Eric Massa, Ron Klein, Artur Davis, Robert Wexler, Alan B. Mollohan and Zach Wamp So that leaves 23 other congressmen in this list, of which 20 were replaced by people that also support it, like:
- Lincoln Diaz-Balart, replaced by Mario Diaz-Balart (Mario just moved seats)
- Mario Diaz-Balart’s seat, replaced by David Rivera
- Ciro D. Rodriguez, replaced by Quico Canseco
- Kendrick Meek, replaced by Frederica Wilson
- Michael Arcuri, replaced by Richard Hanna
- 6. Brian Baird, replaced by Jaime Herrera
- Jim Costa, replaced by Andy Vidak
- Michael Castle, replaced by John Carney
- Kathleen A. Dahlkemper, replaced by Mike Kelley
- Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, replaced by Kristi Noem
- Frank Jr. Kratovil, replaced by Andy Harris
- Patrick Kennedy, replaced by David Cicilline
- Suzanne M. Kosmas, replaced by Sandra Adams
- Betsy Markey, replaced by Cory Gardner
- Adam H. Putnam, replaced by Dennis Ross
- Carol Shea-Porter, replaced by Frank Guinta
- Gene Taylor, replaced by Steven Palazzo
- Dina Titus, replaced by Joe Heck
- John T. Salazar, replaced by Scott Tipton
- John M. Jr Spratt, replaced by Mick Mulvaney
In addition, the article doesn’t mention those incoming congressmen that are supportive of PR self-determination that took down congressmen that weren’t. Like for example:
- Tim Griffin, replacing Vic Snyder
- Raul Labrador, replacing Walt Minnick
- Chip Cravaack, replacing James Oberstar
- Ben Quayle, replacing John Shadegg – The article assumes Shadegg voted for HR2499 when in fact he didn’t.
- Steve Southerland, replacing Allen Boyd
So, if we replaced 20 of 23 Congressmen, and gained 5, that gives us a net GAIN of 2 Congressmen. This means that if there was to be a vote on self-determination, we would have 225 votes – enough to pass any bill. A far cry from the claim the PDP makes in its over simplified and poorly researched article.
And that’s without mentioning those Republicans and Democrats that were in favor of HR 2499 that are now heading towards leadership positions, congressmen like: Eric Cantor, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Steny Hoyer and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz.
These facts are simple and accessible. The PDP knows this; they just choose not to divulge it. Why? Because the facts will tell you that the new Congress would support PR self-determination. Because the facts will tell you that we have gained support in Congress. And because the PDP will never let the facts get in the way of a good lie.
Raúl R. Vidal is the Co-Chairman of the Young Republicans Federation of Puerto Rico.
The Puerto Rico Statehood Students Association contributed to this article by making all the necessary calls to the different campaigns and congressional offices to determine the congressional candidates’ position on Puerto Rico Self-Determination.