October 17, 2016

Star-Ledger Editorial: Another Scott Garrett fib. This must be Monday

In his audacious effort to pursue the record for the greatest number of lies used in a single congressional campaign, Rep. Scott Garrett (R-5th) has aired another jaw-dropper.
And this one is born of desperation.
Garrett is running an ad that accuses his Democratic challenger, Josh Gottheimer, of “assaulting” and “violating” a woman – which, if placed on a scale of political deceit, is mendacious enough to merit a Royal Trump.
This spurious claim involves Gottheimer’s time in D.C., where he was on the management board for his condo. A complaint was filed by a resident whom Gottheimer and his wife discovered rummaging behind an unattended security desk, a woman ostensibly looking for a key late at night. The couple questioned her, as any responsible residents would.
The woman filed a complaint in July 2007 that said Gottheimer “derisively asked if she was the new security guard,” though the complaint made clear that he never touched her.
Here’s what happened next: “We sent the woman interrogatories and she never responded to them,” said Richard Sliber, the attorney who represented the board. “So the court dismissed the case” eight months later.
Actually, it dismissed the case with prejudice, which is legalese for “don’t waste our time with frivolity again.” As Sliber put it, “You file a charge, and the charges are tested. In this case, we tested it, and she didn’t even show up for the exam.”
So how did the Garrett campaign handle this historic moment of jurisprudence?
It produced an ad last week that claims Gottheimer “aggressively intimidated and assaulted” the woman, who was left “scared and violated.”
No kidding, that’s what the ad said.
It’s one thing to use an opponent’s peccadilloes during a campaign if they accurately reflect his character, but this is weasel politics, and we can’t say that we’re surprised by its source.
It’s what you expect from a mealy-mouthed congressman who denounces Donald Trump for his vile attitude toward woman one moment, then concedes that he’s going to vote for him anyway. Garrett did that last weekend.
Of course, he has little choice, because he can read the lawn signs in Newton and Allamuchy. He is shackled to Trump at a very inconvenient time in this GOP circus: He dare not aggravate his base in Northwest Jersey, because there is very little margin for error in a race against a qualified, well-bankrolled opponent.
His attachment to this national pinata, however, is a Catch-22: Meg Whitman, the former HP executive who was national chair for Chris Christie’s presidential adventure, endorsed Gottheimer last week, and cited the Garrett-Trump marriage as the reason.
Rep. Garrett has not renounced the Oath Keepers or his support for Edward Durfee. Apparently, he is just embarrassed that he got caught.
Hence, Garrett now resorts to TV ads that reek of desperation.
At this point, any relationship with truth is purely coincidental.
Recently Garrett broke bread with Oath Keepers and then denied any knowledge of their thuggish paramilitary activity, even though the Christie Administration classifies them as a domestic terror threat.
Then he ran an ad claiming his Gottheimer is responsible for wasteful spending in Congress, which would be a neat trick since he hasn’t never held elected office.
A few weeks earlier, Garrett claimed that he supported the reauthorization of the Zadroga Act, which was physically impossible, because yes-votes were cast only by lawmakers with functioning hearts.
The nascent Veterans for Garrett group believes the Congressman voted for Zadroga reauthorization. He didn’t.
Then there are the polls.
The respected Cook Political Report calls the race a toss-up, and said that Garrett is “is in deep electoral danger” and “at more risk than at any time since he was elected in 2002.” The Rothenberg Gonzales Political Report says Gottheimer is “within striking distance.” And an internal poll by House Majority PAC – which bankrolls Gottheimer’s ads – actually has the Democrat challenger with a 48-41 lead.
To win this race, Scott Garrett will undoubtedly resort to more lies. In other words, business as usual.

 

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