Bruce Newcomb: Smith’s struggle with the facts

Posted on 09/20/13 in Uncategorized, No Comments

I read with interest Bryan Smith’s recent column in the Post Register about my friend, Rep. Mike Simpson. Bryan’s fledgling campaign for Congress is already becoming known as one of half-truths and distortions. That’s too bad because there are real issues of substance that should be discussed in this race.

The Smith campaign’s first half-truth was pulled straight from the out-of-state smear campaign manual that seems to be the core of Smith’s campaign plan. He accused Rep. Simpson of supporting the defunct liberal activist group ACORN despite knowing that Mike had voted to defund it 28 times. Simpson even authored language in his own Interior Appropriations bill to block ACORN funding, and Smith knew that as well.

The ACORN distortion was so blatant that the Post Register and other newspapers called him on it. But his distortions didn’t stop there.

In a recent press release, he claimed Mike voted in favor of the much derided Cash for Clunkers program despite knowing full well that Simpson actually voted against it. Mike later voted to ensure Idaho auto dealers got what they were owed and weren’t left holding the bag for President Obama’s clunker boondoggle, but any assertion that he supported the creation of the program is an outrageous exaggeration.

Most recently, in a column that appeared in the Post Register, Smith claimed that Mike was standing alone in the delegation in support of Obamacare. Once again, Smith’s distortion goes well beyond being misleading and shows actual contempt for the honest exchange of ideas so important to our political process.

Let’s be clear, Mike is unequivocally against Obamacare. He has voted 39 times to repeal or defund it and he is a co-sponsor of legislation to repeal it. Mike Simpson wants to rip Obamacare out by its roots.

Bryan Smith has called on Congress to make defunding Obamacare its number one priority. That sounds like a good idea, but it sets up some very bad consequences if done as Smith suggests.

Under Smith’s idea, Congress would place defunding Obamacare in priority above fighting wildfires in Ketchum. It would place defunding Obamacare above funding for the Idaho National Laboratory. It would place defunding Obamacare above a U.S. soldier’s pay and the ability of that soldier’s wife to pay the mortgage and feed their kids while he is on deployment.

Maybe Smith is OK with a soldier’s wife missing a mortgage payment or the layoff of thousands of INL employees in pursuit of his narrow agenda, but he shouldn’t be.

Bryan Smith’s exaggerations, half-truths and distortions may be acceptable and commonplace in the world of trial lawyers, but they have no place in an honest dialogue about the future of our country.

Newcomb, a cattle rancher from Burley, is a former speaker of the Idaho House of Representatives.

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