Washington Post Fact Check gives Plame 3 Pinnocchios. WSJ goes MUCH further. Plus, Sen. Warren just gave Teresa a ringing endorsement. And 83% of Plame’s contributions are from out of state; just 33% for Teresa.
If you haven’t voted yet, we hope you will consider what follows, as it sheds a good deal of light on the two front-runners in the NM’s Congressional District 3 primary. First, something I’m surprised hasn’t been raised more often. Plame’s rhetoric about her CIA experience suggests that her background should assure us of her grasp of international relations. I’m sorry, but a spy is by definition someone who operates undercover and in clandestine ways. Is that the kind of qualification you are looking for?
What’s more, it isn’t as if Plame sat at the table with policymakers considering various international relations options. She was a spy, not Secretary of State. And her choice of ads are revealing: does driving a car like a maniac or crawling under netting provide you with the background needed to be an effective legislator? NASCAR maybe, but not Congress. But these are just my personal reactions. The rest of this post offers the perspective of Senator Elizabeth Warren, the Wall St. Journal, OpenSecrets.org, and from Leger Fernandez herself.
Please share this post with anyone you know who hasn’t voted and is considering a vote for Plame.
Before getting to the Wall St. Journal editorial, let’s look at a couple of other pieces germane to this race. First, Sen. Elizabeth Warren has endorsed Teresa Leger Fernandez:
““I am honored to endorse Teresa Leger Fernandez to represent Northern New Mexico in Congress. Teresa has spent decades working in the diverse Native American, Latino and rural communities of Northern New Mexico and understands what poverty, environmental degradation and governmental neglect look like. I’m endorsing Teresa because she also knows the value of opportunity and will fight for bold and courageous action to help lift working families out of poverty, protect our environment, and achieve equality.”Senator Elizabeth Warren
Next, Valerie Plame has received over four times as much out of state money as Leger Fernandez, despite much being made of how Leger Fernandez has been the beneficiary of so much out of state money. A report from OpenSecrets.org presents the picture quite clearly:
According to the table above, less than 12% of Plame’s contributions came from New Mexicans, while almost two-thirds of Leger Fernandez’s contributions came from New Mexicans. That is not a small difference.
And it is worth noting that most of Leger Fernandez’s out-of-state money came from organizations like End Citizens United, Emily’s List, Latino Victory Fund, and other strongly progressive PACs.
Finally, despite what I’ve seen on social media, Leger Fernandez has been quite clear about her views on LANL and the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Like many of you, I am very concerned about the proposed expansion of plutonium pits at LANL and even more alarmed about Trump’s recent tweets suggesting he may restart nuclear testing. Plame has strongly stated her opposition to increased funding for nuclear weapons. But while the internet has been abuzz about Leger Fernandez being less straightforward about her position on nuclear proliferation, in an interview with the Los Alamos Post, Leger Fernandez was quite clear.
“We must continue to recognize and remember the crucial role of Los Alamos National Laboratory, both in terms of our national security and the economy of our state. I will advocate for federal funding and support for LANL to ensure it remains a critical hub for not only innovation and scientific advancement, but also jobs for our New Mexico families and communities. I will also work to make sure that the necessary environmental protections and compliance mechanisms are put in place to provide for the safety of our surrounding communities and ecosystems. Finally, I will work to help ensure that LANL continues to evolve with the changing global landscapes. Climate change is a significant national security threat, and we should marshal our existing national scientific resources and labs to tackle this crisis.“Los Alamos Post: Teresa Leger Fernandez
LA Post: How would you balance arms proliferation with national defense?
“We must recognize that while nuclear weapons are a key component of our national defense, so is limiting nuclear proliferation. We must recommit to international treaties and processes to help safeguard against the spread of nuclear capabilities to rogue nations and terrorists, and to ensure that we do not spark a reckless arms race. We must rebuild our diplomatic presence and recognize the important role that diplomats and scientists must play in developing new agreements. We must reinstate the constitutional checks on a President’s power to act unilaterally without congressional oversight as we just witnessed with this President’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement and assassination of General Suleimani.“Los Alamos Post: Teresa Leger Fernandez
While indicating she would advocate for more support for LANL, she was clear that she would also seek to redirect its focus from arms to climate resesarch, that she would seek to limit proliferation, rebuild diplomacy, and not embark on a “reckless” arms race.
Finally, I reached out to a several respected anti-nuclear arms advocates to ask their views. There was general acknowledgement that Plame had made the strongest statements in opposition to expansion of nuclear arms, but they also said that they essentially didn’t really trust Plame and felt that Leger Fernandez would be someone who they could trust and with whom they could work.
If you want to better understand why Plame is not trustworthy, the Wall St. Journal certainly lays it out quite explicitly.
Wall St. Journal Blasts Valerie Plame
The Wall St. Journal is not a left-wing rag, it is the face of corporate conservatism. Yet, its Editorial Board published an op-ed exposing Valerie Plame for using a series of false claims to bolster her credentials as a viable candidate. In the end, the WSJ concluded: “her duplicity ought to be disqualifying.”
“Ms. Plame’s campaign has bent the truth of the scandal, starting last fall in a high-octane introduction video. “I was an undercover CIA operative,” she narrated, while hot-rodding a car in the desert. “Then Dick Cheney’s chief of staff took revenge against my husband and leaked my identity. His name? Scooter Libby. Guess who pardoned him last year?” Cut to footage of President Trump, pumping a fist in satisfaction.
This is political pulp fiction. The public record shows that I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby was not responsible for outing Ms. Plame.”Wall St. Journal: “Congresswoman Valerie Plame? She rewrites Scooter Libby history as she runs for Congress.”
The WSJ then cites Judith Miller, the New York Times reporter who passed on the name of Valerie Plame to the media, i.e. she knows what happened.
“Ms. Miller says that Ms. Plame “keeps pretending that she was outed by Libby or the White House and that some great harm to her and the nation resulted because of the leak. Neither is true. See John Rizzo’s book (he was the CIA general counsel for years) who disclosed in his book that a national security assessment had concluded that the leak had caused no harm to her, any of her sources, or American national security.”Wall St. Journal: “Congresswoman Valerie Plame? She rewrites Scooter Libby history as she runs for Congress.”
Finally, the WSJ concluded its op-ed with:
“Now Ms. Plame, reborn a politician, has told voters that Mr. Libby “leaked my identity” to exact “revenge.” Maybe she thinks playing the Cheney-Trump card is the way to get elected, but her duplicity ought to be disqualifying.”Wall St. Journal: “Congresswoman Valerie Plame? She rewrites Scooter Libby history as she runs for Congress.”
If this were a normal election, this post would be timely. This is NOT a normal election and many of you have voted. But if you haven’t or if you know others who haven’t, please share this with them. NM deserves Teresa Leger Fernandez to represent us, not a spy who likes to drive fast, climb ropes, and dissemble the truth.
Paul & Roxanne