Where on the integrity scale would you rate a candidate whose background is marked by lies and misdeeds, who is called to account and fails to show up, and who releases a glitzy campaign ad so mendacious that the Washington Post‘s fact-checker awards it three Pinocchios? I’d give Valerie Plame a zero.
Back in June, not long after ex-CIA operative Plame announced her candidacy for Congress from my district, I wrote two essays questioning her fitness for office. Both essays are filled with links to reliable documentation of the assertions I made.
You’ll find the first, “Lying for A Living: Is Valerie Plame Qualified for Public Office” here. In it I questioned Plame’s fitness on two main grounds: the truth of her CIA role as a recruiter of clandestine agents, given the agency’s abysmal record on human rights; and the fact that she had not long before tweeted virulently antisemitic material, then tried to dismiss her misdeed by saying she only “skimmed” the site and was going through a tough time.
A week later, in “The Facts and the Fairytales: A Follow-up to ‘Lying for A Living: Is Valerie Plame Qualified for Public Office?’” I shared my shock at how many so-called progressives downplayed the CIA’s crimes, marshaling astoundingly weak arguments for electing spies to a public office that should have transparency as a watchword (e.g., “So you are clearly against anyone who was an actor ever running for office? After all, their whole career is based on lying for a living.”). I also marveled at how Plame, who would never have resigned the CIA had she not been outed, had managed to reframe herself as a whistle-blower, another lie.
I would have been quite happy never to write about her again, but sadly, she’s still in the race and spinning lies with everything she’s got. The aforementioned campaign ad is one of the most cynical pieces of propaganda I’ve seen. As the Post‘s fact-check documents, she says she was outed by Scooter Libby, then Dick Cheney’s chief of staff. This is false. The apparent reason Plame says it is so she can mention that the Present Occupant of the White House recently pardoned Libby, so she can show his image and thus position herself as his opponent.
If that weren’t bad enough, in the same ad, and without any apparent context, Plame says, “I come from Ukrainian Jewish immigrants.” The truth? Her paternal grandfather was Jewish, the son of a rabbi who emigrated from the Ukraine. Plame was raised as a Protestant, like the rest of her family. On page 173 of her own self-aggrandizing book, Fair Game, she explains that she did not learn until she was an adult that her grandfather was Jewish. The apparent reason Plame throws this assertion into her ad is to dispel the charge of antisemitism: how can she be antisemitic if her grandfather was a Jew?
Is there a stronger word for cynical? Jaundiced? Shameless? Ruthless? Soulless? The irony is that even if I had known none of the truths I previously learned about this candidate, the campaign ad in question is so disrespectful of voters’ intelligence, it alone would have convinced me that “never Plame” is what New Mexico deserves. She model-walks toward the camera—with the sound turned off, you’d swear it was a hair-color commercial—stunt-drives a Mustang in a cloud of dust as if that somehow qualified her for public trust, says absolutely nothing about the issues that matter to New Mexicans, and finishes by smilingly offering a challenge to the Orange Menace. Actually, with the sound turned off, it also doubles as a tooth-whitening commercial.
How stupid does Plame think New Mexico Democrats are? She should never have entered the race, but now, having achieved a trifecta of prevarication and disgrace—CIA lies, antisemitism, and insulting voters’ intelligence—it’s time to exit.
“Ship of Fools,” an oldie by World Party. Let’s not board it.