Monday, September 27, 2010

Governor’s Debate Factcheck

On September 11th, 2010, Sam Brownback and Tom Holland held their only scheduled debate for the office of Kansas Governor. The debate took place at the Kansas State Fair and was broadcast by several radio stations. It can also be found online at KWCH.

Dressed in comedically identical attire, both partook in the ancient political tactic of lying to get elected. Their factual disagreement was over Sam Brownback's record in the US Senate. At approximately 17 minutes into their debate, Tom Holland alleged that Brownback had said that it was "appropriate" to spend 85 billion dollars to bail out AIG. After Brownback's turn to answer the question Holland issued a 30 second rebuttal in accordance with the rules of the debate. In that rebuttal Holland restated a claim he had made earlier that Sam Brownback had voted to bail out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Brownback responded, “Not true.” Holland repeated his claim that Brownback supported the bailout of AIG in his closing statement by saying that Brownback's values included bailing out Wall Street.

Why politicians would lie on facts that are so easily checked must come from their assuredness that no one will look into their claims. The internet, a tool that has forever changed the political process, contains websites that track politicians' voting records. One such website is

The Bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac was authorized by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008. Brownback voted for its passage. The record of this vote can be found here.

The Bailout of AIG (and by extension the Wall Street Investment Banks that had been insured by AIG) was authorized by the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008. Brownback voted against its passage. The record of this vote can be found here.

In the unlikely event the Holland campaign were to respond to my findings, they would probably claim that Holland meant Brownback supported bailing out Wall Street in some indirect way. But nothing can disguise the fact that his comments were meant to deceive the public into thinking Brownback voted to bail out AIG. This becomes clear when his closing statements are coupled with his earlier one. It wouldn't be too much of a stretch to call his statements lies. Brownback's statement that Holland's claim that he bailed-out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac was, “Not true” is a blatant lie.

If politicians will knowingly lie to get elected, they cannot be trusted to be honest with their constituents once they are elected. That is why neither Holland nor Brownback will be receiving my vote this November.

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