Deliberately Mischaracterizes Opponents' Positions to Distract from Own Record
PHOENIX – Former legislator Kyrsten Sinema is once again falsely attributing right-wing positions to her two opponents, claiming they hold views contrary to their actual beliefs.
In May, former Attorney General Terry Goddard criticized Sinema for using this tactic, saying she was wrong "to smear [Cherny] for views [she] know perfectly well he does not hold."
Despite this criticism, Sinema is now falsely claiming that state Sen. David Schapira and Cherny support private school vouchers, despite clear evidence that they do not.
Last April, Schapira voted in favor of private school vouchers, but did so by mistake. Schapira has since stated that he opposes vouchers. Yet this past week, Sinema sent out a harsh attack mail piece on Schapira, claiming that Schapira's mistaken vote reflects his true position, and that he actually supports school vouchers that drain resources from public schools.
Sinema herself has a long history of mistakenly voting the wrong way on major pieces of legislation. She once voted to give Sheriff Joe Arpaio authority to conduct immigration sweeps, and just last year voted in favor of Jan Brewer's plan to remove 280,000 Arizonans from the health care rolls.
"Mistakes happen all the time," Sinema told the Phoenix New Times. "Legislators don't read bills."
Cherny campaign manager Seth Scott said it would be dishonest to claim that Sinema's mistaken votes represent her true views and criticize her for holding those positions.
Yet that's exactly what Sinema has chosen to do to her opponents in her latest attack mail piece.
"It's time to call Kyrsten Sinema's campaign what it is: dishonest," said Scott. "Rather than have an honest discussion, Sinema has chosen to try to distract from her own record of mistaken votes, missed votes and controversial statements by repeatedly making false attacks on her opponents."
Sinema's latest attack mail piece also makes false accusations about Cherny's position on vouchers. Though Cherny has long been a vocal critic of school vouchers, Sinema pretends otherwise, quoting a single line from Cherny's 2001 book, The Next Deal: "The biggest problem with vouchers is not that they are too radical, but that they are not radical enough."
Sinema's transparent attack intentionally leaves out the rest of the paragraph, in which Cherny makes it clear that he opposes school vouchers because they take money away from public schools and don't do enough to help our children. In the same paragraph, Cherny takes conservatives to task for offering the "mirage" of school vouchers, calling vouchers
"a cruel hoax to play on parents who lie awake at night wishing for a better life for their children. The biggest problem with vouchers is not that they are too radical, but that they are not radical enough. While draining funds from the public schools and giving them to private academies, these vouchers would, under most serious proposals, only go to a select small number of the poorest children and would not be nearly enough to get them out of deteriorating local schools. Under George W. Bush’s plan, for instance, these vouchers would be worth only somewhere between $500 and $1,500 dollars – nowhere near the tuition of most private schools. These vouchers would be a leaky lifeboat for a lucky few that would worsen the plight of all other children. They would sacrifice America’s greatest unifying institution, put public money into private hands without any accountability, and have little impact on the vast majority of schools and school children."