Does Senator Patty Murray deserve four Pinocchios? Recently I was sent a Sept. 27, 2022 Fox News article titled: “WAPO Gives Sen. Patty Murray ‘Four Pinocchios’ for saying Republicans Plan To ‘end’ Social Security, Medicare: Patty Murray is facing a tightening reelection battle against GOP Challenger Tiffany Smiley” .
Murray’s actual tweeted comment was: “Republicans plan to end Social Security and Medicare if they take back the Senate.” She earned “Four Pinocchios” from Washington Post fact checker Glenn Kessler.
Was Senator Murray lying? Yes, but the facts are more nuanced than the Fox News article suggests. In Florida Sen. Rick Scott’s 11-point Republican platform, he made this statement: “All federal legislation sunsets in 5 years. If a law is worth keeping, Congress can pass it again.” If Murray had referenced this statement, then her claim would make sense.
Senator Mitch McConnell strongly repudiated Scott’s plan by saying that “[getting rid of Social Security and Medicare] will not be part of a Republican Senate majority agenda.”
Scott later denied he wanted to end these two social programs, saying, “No one that I know of wants to sunset Medicare or Social Security. Medicare goes bankrupt in four years. Social Security goes bankrupt in 12 years. I think we ought to figure out how we preserve those programs. Every program that we care about, we ought to stop and take the time to preserve those programs.”
Fact checker Kessler noted that Scott was guilty of “exaggerations”.
“Both trust funds will continue at reduced levels, but they won’t go bankrupt. Medicare’s Part A fund has been on the brink of going ‘broke’ since 1970—but always manages to stay afloat.”
Murray’s staff then cited GOP support for a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution which might cause cuts to these programs. This amendment was proposed by North Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham.
Graham knows that it requires a 2/3 majority in both houses to pass such an amendment. That will not happen, especially since it is predicted even by Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell that Republicans are likely to lose the Senate on Nov. 8.
Murray was fear mongering to gain herself votes. Both parties use this political ploy to rouse their constituents.
Here’s my take on this very important Senate race and on the Fox News article: Fox News lies. Constantly. This network condoned the Tucker Carlson legal defense that “reasonable people” know he’s lying on air. It seems that Fox News is the “pot calling the kettle black.” Fox News editorials should earn the maximum number of “Pinocchios”.
If you go to the article , you will see the photo of a smiling Tiffany Smiley. She’s a beautiful woman. Some people vote for candidates based on their looks. Senator Murray is shown to be old, unsmiling, and “sad sack-ish”. It’s clever photo journalism.
Patty Murray is one of the Senate’s Democratic leaders. No politician gains a leadership role without being effective. Murray has thirty years of seniority. That’s power that no resident of Washington State should want to give up easily. It means more federal money for our state.
Regarding the Fox News statement that Murray is doing poorly in the polls, you will find that the most recent polls put Murray over Smiley with an average spread of +8.6%. Washington is a Democratic state. The chance of Murray losing this late in the election season is very small.
Additionally, Republicans have been deeply hurt politically by the Supreme Court’s overturn of Roe v. Wade, which, as the vote in Kansas demonstrates, even most conservatives want to keep as an option.
According to a Sept. 17, 2022 article Eleanor Clift in Yahoo News article entitled, “Tiffany Smiley Would Be the GOP’s New Star, but She’s in the Wrong State”, “Smiley was asked three times by CNN’s Dana Bash if she considers Biden a legitimately-elected president. Through a deer-in-the-headlights glaze, Smiley conceded that Biden is president, but stopped short of the ‘legitimately-elected’ part—thereby staying in MAGA’s good graces without being saddled with the “Big Lie baggage.”
It’s tough to be a Republican today. If you say you support Trump, you’re favoring autocracy and dictatorship. If you repudiate Trump, you don’t get past the primaries.
My vote is still for Patty Murray, no matter how long her nose grew by fear mongering about losing Social Security and Medicare if she loses to Smiley.