This is the tag line on the commercials Republican Steve Pearce is running in his race against Democrat Tom Udall for the U.S. Senate seat here in New Mexico. My favorite is the one on energy, where Pearce affirms that he is in favor of alternative energy sources (wind, solar, etc.) as well as nuclear power and more drilling for oil. Udall is also running ads proclaiming that he is in favor of alternative energy, nuclear power and more drilling. The only difference is, Udall’s voting record in the House of Representatives doesn’t back up his claims. Throughout his Congressional career, Udall has voted to block drilling and the construction of nuclear power plants. Now, when voters of all political persuasions are thoroughly sick of paying astronomical gas prices, and are more concerned with their pocketbooks than with hypothetical Chernobyl scenarios or the pristine Arctic wilderness, Udall and the Democrats are scrambling to assure those voters that they’re on the right side. While they may be now, they haven’t been up until now. Udall’s voting record belies his commercials.
Moreover, when Udall accuses Pearce of being for big oil and against alternative energy sources, he’s not being truthful there either. I met Steve Pearce last night at a fundraiser here in Santa Fe, and listening to him talk for longer than TV commercial sound bytes was most enlightening. The truth about Pearce and Udall and alternative energy is this: there were six votes in the House on funding development of alternative energy sources, four of them with tax increases tacked on, and two without the tax increases. Udall voted yes on the four that included tax hikes, and no on the two that did not, while Pearce voted no on the four that included tax increases and yes on the two that did not. The measures on which Pearce voted yes passed, while the four Udall supported did not. Under the circumstances, it is hardly fair to call Pearce opposed to development of alternative energy sources. Rather, he’s simply opposed to raising your taxes. Of course, all this is too complicated to explain in 30-second TV commercial sound bytes, and that’s all most voters ever hear. They hear Udall say, “Pearce voted against alternative energy,” which is technically true, but substantively untrue.
Watching Udall’s and Pearce’s TV ads, it’s hard to see any difference in the policies they appear to be supporting. The crucial difference is in the voting records that back up those ads: Pearce actually voted for the things Udall implies he did, but didn’t. Tom Udall may support drilling and nuclear now, but he didn’t when it counted, on the House floor.
How did you vote, Tom?