Saturday, April 10, 2010

Henry McMaster: Playing Politics With His Office?

South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster has been in the news a lot lately for leading a group of state attorneys general in a federal lawsuit seeking to overturn President Obama's health care reform law. McMaster knows it, too -- he produced a video of his many teevee appearances saying health care reform threatens our "liberty, freedom and sovereignty," which are "held by a thread" (presumably by McMaster?):

Wow, pretty scary stuff. That "March 23, National healthcare signed into law..." seemed reminiscent of Glenn Beck calling President Obama's signing of the bill "9/11 all over again, only we didn't have the collapsing buildings." The dramatic music really helps drive home the point that McMaster's lawsuit is basically the only thing standing between Morning In America™ and total socialist annihilation. But apparently that's just par for the course as far as this lawsuit is concerned. As Igor Volsky writes:
[T]he lawsuit itself doesn’t contain any references to past Supreme Court decisions or legal precedent that explain where the Court has agreed with their interpretation of the constitution. The plaintiffs regularly use buzz words like “unprecedented encroachment on the liberty,” “unfunded mandate” to condemn reform and argue that the law will be enforced by 16,000 IRS agents and will levy “any kind of amount of money” in new taxes.
Long on inflammatory rhetoric, short on logic. It's a familiar strategy the GOP has used for decades to rally their base during election year. And come to think of it, McMaster's enthusiastic and well-televised fight against health care as attorney general is bound to help him in his 2010 campaign for governor.

Wait a second, maybe... No, it's too crazy. Alright, you don't suppose... McMaster is just playing politics with his office and grandstanding for the governor's race, do you?

I know, it's probably just coincidence that 11 of the 16 attorneys general involved with the lawsuit are running for either re-election or higher office. Random chance that when the attorneys general of four states refused to join the lawsuit, their Republican governors went around them and appointed "special" attorneys general, which are apparently real things that exist.

But the biggest red flag that Attorney General McMaster may simply be using his office for political gain is a McMaster campaign ad that has started cropping up online recently. It’s a two-slide ad that says in all caps, “Obamacare is unconstitutional” before flashing to “Learn how you can join Henry and throw it out.” The ad has his campaign logo and a link to a McMaster page with the scary video discussing the lawsuit… and a campaign donation form.

Here's the thing. It’s one thing to campaign on repealing health care reform, but this ad and the video are obviously conflating his attorney general lawsuit with his campaign for governor. The "join Henry," the video discussing the lawsuit and the campaign donation form all combine to suggest donating to his campaign will support the lawsuit. That's dishonest for a political campaign, and it's dishonest for a public official. There has been enough misinformation about health care reform as it is, and McMaster's blatant attempt to further confuse voters and possible donors should be rejected accordingly.

Interestingly enough, the ad has frequently appeared on the Huffington Post as of late... So targeted spending is clearly not a priority at the McMaster campaign.

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