Our Mission

We, The Republican Watchdogs, seek to encourage increased participation in the ongoing political conversation. In order to facilitate this we hope to promote HONEST communication between the Republican candidates and the public. We feel that fact checking statements and advertisements by the candidates is paramount to an honest American political system. As such, we promise to uncover dishonest communication before it taints the public.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Results Are In!

Hello fellow readers, the Republican Watchdogs have the midterm election results! It appears that Roy Blunt has defeated Robin Carnahan for Missouri Governor according to results from MSNBC.

Blunt has 54% of votes with 1,051,495 reported while Carnahan only has 41% with 785,719 votes. While these results are only with 86% reporting, Blunt is clearly the projected winner of this race.

Another Republican the Watchdogs were fact-checking was Zachary Wyatt. In an upset victory, Wyatt, who is a political newcomer, unseated Rebecca McClanahan. McClanahan was the incumbent and favored candidate but Wyatt managed to pull out a win in the Missouri House 2 District race. According to KTVO, Wyatt will begin his work in Jefferson City first thing Wednesday morning.

Brian Munzlinger defeated Wes Shoemyer for Missouri's 18th Senate seat. The Republican won by a fairly large margin. According to the Secretary of State Robin Carnahan at the Secretary of State website Munzlinger won by an almost 60-40 decision.

Another Republican, Blane Luetkemeyer, won Missouri's 9th Congressional District, defeating 3rd party candidate Dwyer 70-30 according to the Columbia Tribune.

It looks like Republicans sailed to victory despite their sometimes fishy campaign advertisements. Democracy for the win!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Blunt’s Final Push Advertisement, but is it Truthful?

Tomorrow is Election Day! The 2010 Midterm Election is almost over and the final push for each party to get their candidate elected is on. The Republican Watchdogs have worked hard these past weeks to ensure the Republican Party was truthful in their advertising. We will continue to keep this promise tonight as we fact check a new advertisement from Roy Blunt. This advertisement seems to be a compilation of Blunt’s past claims and uses splices of video from his other advertisements. This truly appears to be a “last push” advertisement.

The advertisement opens with an attack aimed at Robin Carnahan over her “support of failing Washington agendas.” The advertisement explains that Carnahan is taking Missouri “down the wrong path.” Now, the Republican Watchdogs have heard this attack made by Blunt more than once. This seems to be a recycled and very general attack. The ad simply states that Carnahan supports “failing Washington agendas.” In looking into this claim, Blunt is clearly attempting to make a blanket statement against Carnahan. The advertisement then turns to explain how Blunt will make things better with his Jobs Plan, tax cuts, and an energy plan to keep utilities low. Again, these are all general promises we have heard for weeks now.

The part of the advertisement that the Republican Watchdogs could not let go however, came at the very end. The ad claims that “Blunt wants to strengthen Medicare, not cut it for Obama-Carnahan government-run health care.” As we discussed a few posts ago, Blunt is not the biggest fan of Medicare. According to an article from Fired Up! Blunt recently expressed the idea that it would be best if Medicare had never been created. Thus, the tail end of this advertisement is not truthful.

Overall, this 30-second advertisement kind of summed up his whole campaign. The attack against Carnahan was too general to be fair and his claims were all accurate aside from his stance on strengthening Medicare.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Zachary Wyatt: A New Voice Ad

Our readers have spoken! They're not interested in our commentary on campaign ads in general, they're interested in our regular formula: Decoding and commenting on general ads. As such, we're going back to the tried and true format!

Zach's latest television ad entitled Zachary Wyatt: A New Voice is tasked with differentiating Zach from the other candidate.

The ad introduces him as a new conservative voice for Missouri, that will "get Missouri working again." This introduction does not offer up anything false, however it's a matter of opinion if Zach is the voice Missouri needs to get us working again. Zach isn't doing anything bad except implying that his opponent is not fit for getting Missouri working again, which is perfectly ethical. He doesn't back up his claim, but it's not far fetched. The Watchdogs take no issue with his introduction.

Next, the ad states that Zach is an air force vet that knows our country is great because of our people, not our government. We see no problem with this. An interesting observation we made when listening to the ad is the fact that the man reading the script says Missouri instead of Missoura, which is an unusual distinction. Usually rural parts of Missouri and the candidates running there have their ads refer to Missouri as Missoura rather than the proper Missouri, because their constituents refer to Missouri as Missoura.

The following statement says that Zach will stand up to the destructive liberal policies of D.C. politicians. We find this to be curious on multiple levels. The most interesting thing about his statement is the fact that he is implying that his opponent is a D.C. politician, which isn't true. She's a Jefferson politician if anything. The most damning thing he does in the ad though is to state that he'll stand up to the nebulous "destructive liberal policies" without ever definng what they are and saying how he'll stand up to them. We find this to be shady at best.

Zach's last message is that if elected he will create jobs, reduce our tax burden and "finally get government spending under control." Zach Wyatt really believes he's the only candidate who can do that, so we see no problem with him stating his opinion.

Overall we found this to be a very clean ad, and while it was light on the facts, it was also light on the lies, which The Watchdogs appreciate. We would love to be out of a job!

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Health Care Showdown

Tonight the Republican Watchdogs are going to switch back into advertisement checking and focus on a new ad from Roy Blunt. This ad focuses on the different stance these two candidates have on the issue of health care.

The advertisement opens with a direct attack against Carnahan and states that “Carnahan supports $500 billion in Medicare cuts, hurting seniors most.” This claim has been focused on before by Blunt. The ad then builds off of this statement and goes on to say that “The Carnahan-Obama plan cuts Medicare to pay for government-run healthcare, and that’s wrong.”

In analyzing this attack on Carnahan, the ad seems to be nothing more than key phrases and misrepresentation. In Blunt’s defense, according to Politico, “The health care overhaul will result in increased out-of-pocket costs for seniors on Medicare Advantage plans.” A Press Zoom article explains that, “Robin Carnahan said she would have voted yes to Obamacare and supports the $500 billion in Medicare cuts to pay for it.”

In defense of Carnahan’s position, a Kansas City Star article explains that the health care law will reduce the federal budget deficit by $143 billion over the next 10 years. Also, according to Politifact, the supposed $500 billion in cuts are not actually cuts but are rather reductions in future spending. Finally, the ad fails to mention the benefits for seniors that come from the health care law. Politifact again explains that by 2020, Medicare will pay 75 percent of the total cost of prescription drug coverage. Clearly, Blunt’s ad is unfair when looking at Carnahan and her stance. What hurts Carnahan however is that according to the Press Zoom article, “71% of Missourians voted against Obamacare and government-run health care.” Clearly Carnahan is against the majority here with her stance on health care.

The advertisement closes by explaining that Blunt will strengthen Medicare and protect seniors. In fact checking this, Blunt is not being entirely truthful. According to the Kansas City Star, Blunt DOES support repeal of the law but has NOT said he opposes all cuts in the growth of Medicare. The Republican Watchdogs also have a problem with Blunt “strengthening Medicare.” According to Fired Up! Blunt gave a recent interview where he expressed some strong opinions against Medicare. Bunt explained that it would have been best if Medicare and Medicaid had never been created.

How will Blunt strengthen Medicare when he wishes it was never created? Clearly, his statements in this ad are not entirely accurate.

Overall, this ad is extremely misleading and is frustrating to the Republican Watchdogs. As this race intensifies, the smear ads will only get worse. However, we will always fight to protect the truth!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Negative Campaigns: The Only Game in Town?

Tonight we're going to take a departure from our normal format, which is us analyzing an ad and finding the issues with it. While this is a tried and true method, and will definitely be resumed in the future, today we're going to talk about the reasons candidates run negative campaign ads with, often, incorrect or partially incorrect facts.

Usually you'll find that a candidate runs positive advertisements until they feel as though they are threatened in the polls, at which point the campaign begins to get quite nasty. Is this always the best tactic? The Watchdogs think not, however candidates do it time and time again. Why?

I think the reason is that most of the voting public is just not motivated enough to call the candidates out on their lies and half truths. We think this is simply unacceptable. Please tell us what you think in the comments, we'd love to hear why you think negative ads are used so extensively.

Are negative ads used to such a great extent because they're effective? Do these ads really have no negative impact on our views of the candidates? Is it truly impossible to run a completely positive campaign at a national level?

We'd love to hear from you on this! This Sunday we'll have a regular post, but on Monday we'll have a special post to discuss the issues we introduced today, as well as addresss your commentary on negative ads.

See you then!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Blunt's New Immigration Advertisement, Truthful?

The Republican Watchdogs are back this week with a close look at Roy Blunt’s new advertisement on Immigration. This newest advertisement from Blunt highlights his commitment to keeping our borders safe and attacks Robin Carnahan over her stance on immigration. You can count on the Republican Watchdogs to thoroughly inspect this advertisement and find the truth behind the claims!

The advertisement opens with Blunt explaining how America needs to improve border security how he is helping. Blunt explains that he has “led the fight” in increasing boarder security and supported building of fencing in critical areas. According to the voting records from On The Issues, Blunt DID vote yes on building a fence along the Mexican border and does have a “sealed-border stance” on immigration issues. Thus, this first claim from Blunt seems to be accurate.

The advertisement then attacks Carnahan because she “opposes measures to secure the boarder like Arizona’s new immigration law.” This is quite a claim and as usual the Republican Watchdogs dug deep to find the truth. According to Politico, Carnahan did explain that, “I’m not in favor of what they are doing in Arizona. This is something Washington’s supposed to do, they haven’t done it.” Carnahan later added that she saw it as an infringement on people’s freedoms. Clearly, Carnahan does oppose the Arizona law as stated in the advertisement. However, the claim that she is against measures to secure our boarder is too broad. According to Politico, Carnahan stated that she would be in favor of a “comprehensive immigration law that included increased boarder security, enforcement of rules against hiring illegal immigrants and strict requirements for people seeking normalized status.” Carnahan obviously is not against protecting our borders. The advertisement is making a blanket statement against Carnahan based on her one issue with the Arizona immigration law.

The advertisement then focuses on Blunt’s support of the Arizona law and his stance on “keeping borders safe, finishing the fence and enforcing the law.” According to Fired Up, Blunt is in support of the Arizona law and believes that “there is nothing wrong with states trying to do what is necessary to protect people in their state.” Blunt sees the Arizona law as “common sense.” Below is the audio clip of Blunt’s comments on the Arizona immigration law.

Overall, the advertisement is pretty truthful and accurate. Blunt is honest in his claims he makes for himself. However, his attack on Carnahan is unfair and inaccurate aside from her opposition to the Arizona immigration Law.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Plagiarizing with Wyatt

The Watchdogs have recently uncovered what we believe to be a shameless act of plagiarism by Republican hopeful Zach Wyatt. We were tipped off not by our own readers, who remain silent, (perhaps due to the sheer shock endured when one realizes that a political candidate would lie to get elected) but by a reader of the republican blog Winning with Wyatt.

SamSeaborn321informed us of an old posting on Show Me Progress which illustrates the extensive plagiarization of a speech on the popular television show The West Wing. Up until yesterday the blatant plagiarization was still viewable in all of its glory on Wyatt's own website www.electzachwyatt.com under his veterans section, however as of today his website appears to be down. Has Wyatt been made aware that The Watchdogs are on to him?

Wyatt must not be allowed to get away with this falsehood. In doing our part to bring greater clarification to this issue The Watchdogs will be asking Wyatt for an interview on the subject so that he may let Missouri know why he decided it was ok to copy work that's not his own. Will he spin and call it an egregious error committed by an aide, or will he, refreshingly, own up to his actions and apologize to all those involved?

The answers to these questions remain to be seen, however their implications will have no small impact on his now questionable political career. Rest assured, more on this issue is forthcoming.