Yesterday, Riley detailed the voting history of Politifact Viginia Editor Warren Fiske – a voting history which skewed heavily to the Democrats. It turns out the folks at the Richmond Times-Dispatch pay attention to VV, because RTD editor Daniel Finnegan whipped up a defense of Fiske.
The only problem is that Finnegan’s defense of Fiske wouldn’t pass muster on an unbiased version of Fiske’s sit, because Finnegan himself dropped three whoppers of what Churchill once called “terminological inexactitude.”
Finnegan was kind enough to put all of his errors in the second paragraph, which reads as follows:
First, Warren has not voted in a primary since taking this position. Second, according to Henrico County voting records, Warren has voted in five primaries, four Democratic and one Republican, since 2004, which is far back as the county records go. During that time, however, the Republican Party of Virginia held only two primaries. Warren voted in the 2005 GOP primary for Governor, bypassing a same-day Democratic primary for the two lesser statewide offices (Lt. Governor and Attorney General). The only other year he faced a choice was in 2008, when he voted in the Democratic presidential primary instead of the GOP primary. It is worth noting that Mitt Romney suspended his campaign right before the 2008 Virginia primary, so the Democratic primary was the competitive race.
Well, if you take Finnegan at his word, that would certainly sound less problematic for Fiske’s readership. Only you can’t take him at his word, and here’s why.
Henrico County had more than two Republican primaries since 2004:Most of the county witnessed the Stosch-Blackburn State Senate primary of 2007. Is it possible that Fiske wasn’t in that section? Yes, but that would mean he was almost certainly in the part of Henrico that had the equally compelling McEachin-Lambert race on the Democrats’ side. Yet Finnegan says Fiske voted in only four primaries for the Democrats, which would mean either he missed a statewide primary (2004, 2006, 2008, and 2009), was completely tone deaf to the McEachin-Lambert race, or (most likely) he was actually in the 12th district but chose not to vote in the GOP primary that year. We don’t know, because Finnegan either forgot 2007 or is hoping we would.
Meanwhile, there was only one primary for the Democrats in 2005, not two.The Attorney General nomination was not on the ballot in June of 2005. There were two competitive Republican primaries that year (for LG and AG).
Last. but most, the Republican presidental primary in 2008 was the more competitive primary, contrary to Finnegan’s assertion. While Mitt Romney withdrew for the field before Primary Day in Virginia, Mike Huckabee – the winner of the Iowa caucuses – did not. Thus the Virginia GOP primary was big news (the first serious McCain-Huckabee two-way fight), whereas the Virginia race for the Democrats was a foregone conclusion (Hillary Clinton largely ignored “the Potomac Primary”). In fact, Barack Obama won his Virginia primary by 28 points, whereas McCain carried his by less than 10.
Given this paragraph of horrors, Finnegan’s insistence that his goal is “to improve the political discourse” is laughable dreck.
Better luck next time, Danny Boy.
Cross-posted to Virginia Virtucon