D'Amboise Continues His Travashamockery Of A Campaign

Today, on the heels of the United States Senate vote on the debt ceiling increase, I received a fundraising email from the Scott D’Amboise for Senate campaign.

I’m pretty used to dishonest and mind-numbingly stupid emails from politicians seeking office, and D’Amboise is hardly the only offender.  Still, his emails have always been particularly dishonest and cynical.  But today’s email takes the cake.

Bit by bit, he makes outright false statements, and lies to the recipient to try to get campaign cash.  Among the most egregious:

Just 25 days ago, Senator Olympia Snowe told the people of Maine she would vote for a debt plan with a balanced budget amendment.

However, today Snowe betrays the people of Maine by voting with the Democrats for a debt deal that gives President Obama a blank check in exchange for only token spending cuts and no promise for a balanced budget amendment.

Problem one: Senator Snowe did say that.  The trouble is, she never said that she would only vote for a plan with a balanced budget amendment, only that it was her preferred solution.  Indeed, when the Boehner bill came to the Senate after House passage, Senator Snowe voted no on the motion to table it, just like forty of her Republican colleagues.  Indeed, she took the very position D’Amboise seems to want, pushing for the GOP “Cut, Cap and Balance” legislation.

The problem of course, is that anyone with half a brain knew that the balanced budget amendment would never pass the United States Senate under any circumstance, given that there were 53 Democrats, and that little problem of the filibuster.  More than that, even if it did pass Congress, it still has to be ratified by the states, and that will take longer than Congress had to act on the debt ceiling.

Problem two: everything else in that statement.  Had D’Amboise been in the Senate during this vote, he too would have “betrayed the people of Maine by voting with the Democrats”, and it would have been quite a list of Democrats he was siding with.  Among them, Kirstin Gillibrand, Tom Harkin, Frank Lautenberg, Bob Menendez, Jeff Merkley, Ben Nelson, and self-described socialist Bernie Sanders.

Scott D’Amboise would have voted with the only open socialist in Congress!  (See what I did there?)

And of course, there were more than just a few conservatives who voted for this in the Senate as well.  Why?  Because the irresponsibility of saying no to a deal that cuts more than two trillion dollars from the deficit over ten years, while preventing the country from potentially defaulting on its debt, thus making necessary the mother of all tax increases in the future, is just too much to swallow.

Getting cuts with no tax increases, getting a guaranteed vote on the balanced budget amendment (even though it will fail), and preventing the country from slipping into economic calamity due to default is a good deal.  It might not be perfect, but if D’Amboise got his way, there is no end to how destructive it would be to the country.

Do I really have to go through the effect it would have on consumers for the country to lose its AAA credit rating (something that may happen anyway)?  Do I really have to talk about how much larger the deficit will be if our debt interest payments skyrocket?  Is that fiscally conservative?

More importantly, though, the real point is that Snowe did in fact keep her word and backed Cut, Cap and Balance.  Once it was killed and was then off the table, however, she voted for the best possible deal we could get.  I understand criticizing Snowe on her vote for the bailouts, stimulus, voting for health care reform in committee, and so on, but this is just insanity.

In addition, his assertion that it is a blank check is wrong for a whole host of reasons.  First of all (and most amusingly), it isn’t a blank check, it raises the debt ceiling by a very specific amount - $2.1 trillion to $2.4 trillion.  More importantly, however, it simply allows for the federal government to pay bills it has already committed itself to.

Congress has already appropriated the money that the debt ceiling will now allow to be spent.  This gives no one a “blank check” to rack up additional debt, it essentially just services the debt already passed by Congress.

In other words, if you have a problem with the debt, talk to Congress about their irresponsible budgets and addiction to spending.  That is the real culprit here, not the statutory “limit” on debt.

The rest of his email keeps right on going.  He calls Snowe a liar, says Snowe thinks Maine people are idiots, and so on and so forth.  It is a frothing bit of slander and paranoia, exactly the kind of opportunistic crap I’m used to from him.

I realize that in the past I have recommended that we simply ignore these kinds of candidates.  However, after working at the National Republican Senatorial Committee last year and watching no less than three winnable races go up in flames because gadfly candidates that had no business running, let alone being elected to the United States Senate, scored upset primary wins (followed by general election losses), I come to the conclusion that I can’t simply ignore obvious loons any longer.

You say you were happy when Christine O’Donnell beat Mike Castle?  When Sharron Angle won in Nevada?  Ken Buck in Colorado?  You say you care about conservative solutions and you don’t care if they lose in the general election, because you don’t want representatives of the Republican Party to be anything other than arch-conservative?

Than consider how much more likely it would have been that a bill made it to President Obama‘s desk today that contained larger cuts, a balanced budget amendment, entitlement reform, or any number of conservative ideas, had the Majority Leader of the United States Senate been Mitch McConnell instead of Harry Reid.

If those three races had flipped, it would have allowed the national party to recommit resources to other winnable races like Washington, West Virginia or even California, and get themselves a 51st Senator.  I realize that it isn’t the most popular thing to say, and that it is a cold, tactical approach to politics, but there really isn’t any denying that it is true.

A unified Congress negotiating with the White House would have had an infinitely stronger  bargaining position, and would have been able to craft a much better deal with the president, because all the congressional negotiators would have been Republicans.

The most conservative base of the Republican Party doesn’t like to hear this (any more than the most liberal base of the Democratic Party likes to hear the opposite), but politics is a rugby scrum.  It is better to have an undersized person in the scrum pushing on the back of your pile, than it is to have a full sized player on the other team pushing against you.  (God I love metaphors)

You find a more conservative alternative to Olympia Snowe that isn’t a joke, and can win the general election, and let’s talk.  But, as I’ve detailed many times, that person is not Scott D’Amboise.

The problem isn’t that somebody more conservative than Snowe can’t win state wide.  Quite the opposite, I’ve long argued Maine is more conservative than people think.  The problem is D’Amboise is simply the wrong candidate for people who hope for a more conservative option.  And if I must, I will constantly remind everyone why.

Matthew Gagnon

About Matthew Gagnon

Matthew Gagnon, of Yarmouth, is the Chief Executive Officer of the Maine Heritage Policy Center, a free market policy think tank based in Portland. Prior to Maine Heritage, he served as a senior strategist for the Republican Governors Association in Washington, D.C. Originally from Hampden, he has been involved with Maine politics for more than a decade.