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Herszenhorn Finds 'Anger...Fury,' and Ignorant Republican Voters in Pennsylvania

Reporter David Herszenhorn finds anger and voter ignorance at only one end of the political spectrum, and has time for a fact-check of conservative claims: "The voters of Pennsylvania are angry at Washington. And Pat Toomey, the Republican nominee for United States Senate, is glad to stoke the fury....Some of [Toomey's] assertions are fair. Some are a stretch but defensible. Others are false, like Mr. Toomey's claim that a recent law passed by Congress to aid small businesses would have the federal government buy a stake in local banks....Details, however, are beside the point. Anger is defining this race."

Reporter and Obama-care cheerleader David Herszenhorn found more anger on the campaign hustings in Pennsylvania, in Monday's "In Pennsylvania, Anger Fuels a Race for Senate." As usual in a Times account, all the "anger" was on the conservative side. Herszenhorn presented conservative Republican hopeful Pat Toomey as a fury-stoking opportunist, and engaged in some post-reportorial fact-checking.

The voters of Pennsylvania are angry at Washington. And Pat Toomey, the Republican nominee for United States Senate, is glad to stoke the fury.

"The policies that we are seeing coming out of Washington are preventing us from having the kind of recovery that we could be having and should be having," Mr. Toomey declared after touring the ironworks shop of a spiral staircase manufacturer here.

His speech, variations of which he offers up at stops across the state, quickly turned into a punch list of supposed misdeeds he hopes to address, perpetrated by the Democrats controlling Congress and, by extension, his opponent, Representative Joe Sestak.

Bailouts: "Taking resources from the productive companies like this one, productive workers like you, and sending them to failing companies."

The economic stimulus: "Over a trillion dollars of growing government, that's what it is."

The health care bill: "Another huge obstacle to job creation."

Climate change legislation: "Designed precisely to drive energy costs through the roof."


Herszenhorn paused his report for a fact check of Toomey's campaign rhetoric, a practice rarely applied to Democratic assertions on the stump:

Some of his assertions are fair. Some are a stretch but defensible. Others are false, like Mr. Toomey's claim that a recent law passed by Congress to aid small businesses would have the federal government buy a stake in local banks. The bill would channel government-backed loans through the banks.

Details, however, are beside the point. Anger is defining this race.


That last line could have come straight from another condescending Times reporter, Kate Zernike, who on March 28 observed: "After a year of angry debate, emotion outweighs fact."

After labeling Toomey "an unwavering fiscal conservative," Herszenhorn suggested his rhetoric was plagued with inconsistencies.

Mr. Toomey says he favors making the Bush-era tax cuts permanent for all Americans - which would add $700 billion more to the deficit over 10 years than the plan advocated by President Obama to let the lower rates expire for the rich. But he also expresses a desire to reduce the deficit.

At the ironworks shop, Mr. Toomey brushed aside a question from a local reporter who pointed out that real income for American workers dropped after the Bush tax cuts, saying he did not believe the data.


Next, Herszenhorn went after a concerned conservative citizen like he was Joe the Plumber, the Ohio man slimed by the Times' Larry Rohter after daring to question Obama face to face on taxes during the closing weeks of the campaign.

Herszenhorn's victim was one Scott Wagner, who raises money for Republicans and who "stood up with a printout of the entire health care law and offered it to Mr. Sestak," saying the plan "is not good for business." Unfortunately for Wagner, he had failed to memorize chapter and verse his specific personal grievances with the federal government.

In an interview, Mr. Wagner expressed deep anger at the government. "We're being regulated to death," he said. But when asked for examples, he offered only I.R.S. Form 2290, which is used to file the "heavy use vehicle tax" - a tax enacted in 1982 - and the I-9 immigration form to prove an employee is legally allowed to work in the United States, which has been required since 1986.

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