Wilson: Abandoned by GOP?

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By Hal Rhodes

 In recent weeks, national Republican officials have delivered what were widely interpreted as back-to-back blows to former GOP Congresswoman Heather Wilson’s bid for the Senate seat being vacated by longtime Democratic U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman, who is retiring in January.
First the Republican Senatorial Committee announced that it was reclaiming $3 million it had earmarked for Wilson’s race against her Democratic rival, Dist. 1 Congressman Martin Heinrich.
Then, insult to injury, the Republican National Committee let it be known that three top RNC staffers who had been working in New Mexico on behalf of the party’s candidates preliminary to the general election were being transferred to Nevada and/or Colorado.
 To hardened political observers, the message seemed clear: National Republicans were cutting their losses in New Mexico and transferring resources to other states where their odds look better.
It’s a cynical business, politics, and with most polls showing Wilson not doing all that well this time around that could be exactly what we have going on here.
But if that is the game being played by national GOP Pooh Bahs, the former congresswoman was apparently not told about it because she continues to shell out money sufficient to fill our television screens with campaign commercials
One such ad features Wilson in biographical mode as she reminisces, teary eyed, about telling her grandfather that she planned to become the first member of her family to graduate from college by attending the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.
Wilson’s campaigns always feature mention of her status as an Air Force veteran, but this particular campaign reminder might strike some veterans as paradoxical since it coincides with Senate Republicans’ maneuver last week to kill the Veterans Jobs Corp Act on a procedural vote just before they went home for their pre-election vacation.
Unemployment among Gulf War-era, Iraq and Afghanistan veterans hovers around 11 percent.
Wilson’s second TV commercial, since being left to her own devices by Republican big shots, is a basic slash-and-burn attack ad calculated to cause her Democratic opponent to don a hood whenever he deigns to slither out in public.    
It’s a loathsome art, the attack ad, in this reporter’s opinion, and you would think candidates who sponsor them might themselves feel the need to don hoods before slithering out in public.
But, as we are told every time the subject comes up, “They work!”
Strangely, the attack Wilson is currently running against Heinrich is rather stale, both in format and substance (if “substance” is the word for it).
The ad starts with a group of unknown and unidentified people. They could be voters or actors.
 Who knows? But each has a bone, real or imagined, to pick with Heinrich.
Stranger still, the complaints Wilson’s ad has them lodge are almost, word for word, the same complaints a number of Mitt Romney’s ads have already ventilated.
Even more bizarre, “adwatch fact-checkers” who keep tabs on the truthfulness and accuracy of attack ads of this sort have pretty thoroughly judged them to be less than truthful and short on accuracy.
Case in point: Wilson’s ad claims Heinrich “cut” $500 billion from Medicare, which is simply not true, as the folks at “Fact Checker” have amply demonstrated.
What the Wilson ad relies upon here is Heinrich’s vote for President Obama’s health reforms. Under those reforms, billions of dollars are expected to be saved on expenditures to health care providers. Medicare beneficiaries, however, will experience no cuts in benefits.
In short, it boils down to much ado about information purposefully misrepresented.
 Turns out, Heather Wilson can do that without the help of all those Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee folks.
Hal Rhodes
New Mexico Progress