Fact Check: Gomez Claim On Markey’s Effectiveness Doesn’t Hold Up

BOSTON — Republican U.S. Senate candidate Gabriel Gomez made headlines Monday for attacking his opponent, Democratic U.S Rep. Edward Markey, on national security.

Massachusetts Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Gabriel Gomez repeated a claim, during a Monday appearance with Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., right, that his Democratic opponent U.S. Rep. Edward Markey hasn't sponsored a bill in the last 20 years that became law. (Michael Dwyer/AP)

Mass. GOP candidate for U.S. Senate Gabriel Gomez repeated a claim during a Monday appearance with Sen. John McCain, right, that his Democratic opponent U.S. Rep. Edward Markey hasn’t sponsored a bill in the last 20 years that became law. (Michael Dwyer/AP)

But he also dropped a line he’s offered up several times of late: Markey, he said, hasn’t sponsored a single bill in the last 20 years that became law.

It’s a sweeping claim, designed to undermine the central rationale for Markey’s candidacy: that with experience, the Democrat has developed into an effective legislator.

Is it true, though?

Independent observers say the argument doesn’t hold up.

“It’s, at best, a shaky attack,” says Norman J. Ornstein, a resident scholar at the Washington-based American Enterprise Institute and one of the country’s most respected congressional observers. “I’ve watched Markey since he came to the House and I’ve written many times before that he’s one of the most effective legislators” in Congress.

The Record

Gomez’s assertion, read narrowly, is true: none of the legislation Markey sponsored in the last 20 years went directly to the president’s desk for a signature.

But the statement, clearly meant to suggest the Democrat is a do-nothing representative, elides the realities of the lawmaking process.

Markey pushed several measures over the last 20 years – designed to protect children’s privacy online, promote elder home care, and screen air and maritime cargo in the wake of 9/11 – that landed in larger legislative packages signed into law.

President Obama also signed Senate legislation nearly identical to several bills Markey sponsored in the House.

One measure created a new, national effort to combat Alzheimer’s disease. Another ensures that people with rare diseases like cystic fibrosis can participate in paid clinical trials without forfeiting their Medicaid or supplemental Social Security benefits. A third requires easier access to the Internet for the deaf and blind.

Companion House legislation, Ornstein notes, is crucial to passage of any Senate bill.

The Context

More broadly, he says, passage of sponsored bills is not a terribly useful measure of a representative’s effectiveness.

Lawmakers can deeply influence legislation, even if their names aren’t formally affixed to the bills.

Markey is widely acknowledged as an architect of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which opened up competition in the industry and spurred the creation of broadband networks central to the growth of the Internet.

And John McDonough, a professor of public health practice at the Harvard School of Public Health who was deeply involved in the formulation of Obama’s health care reform law, says Markey made his mark on the measure from his post on the Energy and Commerce Committee.

Legislators can also influence the regulatory process.

Darrell West, who directs the Center for Technology Innovation at the Brookings Institution in Washington, says Markey’s call for Internet openness helped push the Federal Communications Commission toward approval of so-called “net neutrality” rules in 2009.

In Sum

Bottom line, observers say: Gomez’s claim that Markey hasn’t accomplished anything in the last 20 years doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/Tazman316 Jay Leonard

    Markey SUX!!!!

  • cab02149

    We have no reason to expect Gomez to be anything more than that; a media creation; a Carl Rove puppet, an empty suit, a Roger Ailes’ production; saying his lines, reading his script.
    It takes a special kind of human to act like that way and play that game, it really does.
    What, again, does being a professional sniper, a head shot expert, have to do with community leadership, and being an active participant in public affairs?

    • Paul McGrath

      Carl Rove is irrelevant in regards to the Senatorial race being run in our State. Roger Ailes is not the architect of the driven determination & discipline which gives Gabriel Gomez the guts to stand up to the stagnant status quo of legal suits seeking wiggle room when it comes down to creative & innovative ideas which are needed in moving Massachusetts forward. As for sniping? The only character assassination I see is bigoted bloggers who hang on to rejected republican agendas of the past. Lincoln was a republican. JFK was Navy, just like Gabriel Gomez. What about Washington? President & General of Our Navy. Stuffed suit? Puppet? Party production? Yeah, perhaps if you wrote for the tyrannical propaganda printed press which warned of the end of freedom If “those people” achieve liberty. All “those people” have become “We The People”. Gabriel Gomez, if given the chance to change main stream mediocrity, might follow in the footsteps of these special kind of humans. How do we know? B.C. can sometimes stand for Before Computers. What did, and do you stand for now? Remember when enlisting in the armed forces offered you the opportunity to participate in protecting & serving your Community & Country, and didn’t label you an outcasted actor. Actions speak louder than words. I think the people will speak for themselves come election day.

  • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

    Bottom line WBUR is so far in the bag for Markey they rewrite quotes to prove Gomez wrong. Instead of “fake but accurate” we now have “accurate but shakey.”

    • jefe68

      Bottom line who cares. If you don’t like it don’t listen.

      • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

        “Qui tacet consentit”
        I will not remain silent and enable the fallacy that WBUR is objective.

        • jefe68

          Comprehension issues.

          No one is telling you to remain silent.
          I heard Gomez say the same kind of things he’s quoted for here so much for your claim.

          You complain about the same stuff all the time and it’s all based on your right wing ideology. WBUR is not very left wing however and there is some level of journalistic freedom that you seem to be bitching about. All of this is through your very conservative lens.

          What I see here is you just moaning about this and that because you think WBUR is a fallacy based on your ideology.
          It’s as if you think you’re going to change this or even make it apparent for the entire world. No one cares but people who agree with you.

          By the way, News organizations can support who they want, this happens all the time and is nothing new.

          Again, if you don’t like it there are other choices.

          • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

            And I will continue to complain about this.

            Biased news reporting can not be allowed to masquerade as objective reporting.

            One might wonder why my comments trouble you so much.

  • road.rep

    Wait a minute! Gomez did NOT say that Markey hasn’t accomplished anything in the last 20 years. WBUR put those words in his mouth! Gomez said that Markey hasn’t sponsored a single bill in the last 20 years that became law. And Gomez is ABSOLUTELY CORRECT! Isn’t he? Stop this sleazy yellow journalism WBUR!

    • jefe68

      Oh please, it’s obvious what this muck raking comment by Mr. Gomez was about. The man, Gomez is not fit for office.

      • road.rep

        Fit or not fit, the man’s comment was true. The blatant political spin came from Norman Ornstein and WBUR. Democrats would be smart to drop this issue. And Gomez would be smart to bring it up at every opportunity.

        • k_j_usch

          The word “spin” does not mean what you think it means.

          • road.rep

            OK, I’ll bite. What does “spin” mean in your world? I think my understanding of the term is pretty clear, and pretty correct.

          • k_j_usch


          • road.rep

            Wow! Condescension from a true Dinning-Kruger sufferer. I feel sorry for you, but I’m sure you have no idea why.

    • k_j_usch

      Ah ha! You prefer your politicians to be misleading. It’s perfectly fine to you that Gomez’ statement is literally true and that the conclusions he draws from it are completely wrong.

      You, no doubt, require the same relationship to the truth from your spouse. Right?

      • road.rep

        I would simply prefer the truth. And in this case, I got it from Mr. Gomez. I would also prefer that both candidates spend their time telling me what they will do as senator, rather than why the other guy is awful.
        We’ll leave my spouse out of this. With that sort of tactic, you would make a great Markey aide.

        • k_j_usch

          Your offense at my spouse comment (which may have flown right over your head) indicates to me that you are applying a completely different standard in accessing Gomez’ honesty.

          Otherwise, you wouldn’t be offended at spousal references.

        • Beverly OConnor

          I suppose you find Gomez’ statement that Markey blamed him for the Newtown tragedy accurate too. Gomez commercials such as that gem and his 3 point plan (which even he knows has zero chance of getting near the floor) are an insult to our intelligence. He should have stuck to the Pledge of Allegiance.

      • Slimfred

        When I heard Markey’s 1st commercial of the campaign state “20 years ago, I…” blah blah blah … I figured he hadn’t done anything in the last 20 years worth talking about. Markey’s 1st commercial this year claimed that 20 years ago he implied that he made Smart Phones and Google. Why is Markey’s pile of donkey dung not getting 4 Pinocchios?

  • J__o__h__n

    It looks like Gomez is spending Newt’s money on Karl Rove tactics.

    • Paul McGrath

      A$ oppo$ed to out$ourcing income from Karl Marx money?

      • Townes V. Zandt

        I get that you’re just raging up to a hate-induced aneurysm but what exactly does this statement even mean? Maybe take a break from the internet for a while? Read a book? Go for a walk?

        • Paul McGrath

          Oh I get it, aneurysm. As opposed to alcoholism? you know, Egomaniacs with an inferiority complex. I took a rest from the internet & took a walk to my car, where I found 3 orphaned raccoon cubs who were LEFT to fend for themselves when their Mother was struck & killed by a motorist. A friend & I released them into the Arnold Arboretum. Across from there was the Faulkner Hospital. Down the road was the Shattuck. Two of the best mental health assistance facilities my tax money can buy you. Money well spent I say.

  • Salamandastron

    Technically true, but found wanting when context (i.e. reality) is applied. Thank you, this kind of thing is =exactly= what journalism is about.

  • pberg

    There is not a man alive that can make a compelling argumaent that Markey has been an effective legislator in nearly 38 years in office. Name me one accomplishment that matters. Name me one key central issue that he has championed. Name one “stand” where he has shown leadership. This man ran unopposed 8 times — are you kidding me. What on earth do you see Markey voters see? My guess, you have never voted for a Republican for any office in the land. That’s intelligent?!

  • Paul McGrath

    Thanks for your service Gabriel. Keep running the campaign trail towards veterans rights and no fence sitter can come close to candidates like you who walk the talk. Remember, All gave some, & some gave All this weekend.

    • Townes V. Zandt

      Relevance to this article? Oh wait, you’re just on auto-pilot hitting all the comment fields you can to talk about how the sky is falling. Why don’t you go back where you belong — right wing talk radio? You and all of the other racist, middle-aged, ignorant white guys can all rage together about how gay, muslim, black, atheists with Ph.Ds are ruining “your” country.

      • Paul McGrath

        Gabriel Gomez is a pilot. Selling ice cream doesn’t give you credibility to anything but diarrhetorical soft serve politics which Markey has passed-off as achievements. Good Humor hacks are a dime a dozen, & come with sprinkles for 5 cents extra. Never mind Cargo ship litigation. Stick to Banana Boats & Sundaes. If I want to hear non-outdated ideas concerning sea safety. I’ll get it from the source, not some salty political pirate posing as an admiral. U.S. Naval intelligence trumps stow away double-talk every time. Some stood strong. Some stood tall. All gave some. Some gave all. Remember the veterans who fought for freedom this Memorial Day weekend.

  • Guest

    Fact Check is the propaganda arm of the Annenberg Public Policy Center, a progressive liberal marketing organization.

    It’s no surprise their supporting Markey.

  • Duke LaCroix

    Fact Check.org is the propaganda subsidiary of the Annenberg Public Policy Center, a progressive liberal marketing organization.

    It’s no surprise they are supporting Markey.

  • pato

    As pointed out in the beginning of the article, Gomez statement is true. And many of the caveats about interpreting that statement are also correct, Markey like every other long serving congressman has a long track record both good and bad.

    But it is pretty reprehensible and hypocritical that a so called fact check has to go ahead and put words into the candidate’s mouth in order to refute them. No where in the article or in any other news story have I seen a direct quote about “Gomez’s claim that Markey hasn’t accomplished anything in the last 20 years”

    Bottom line is that Gomez never made such an outlandish claim. If anything I think you would summarize the implication of Gomez’ attack against Markey as a claim that Markey has been a mediocre Congressman. In which case the standard should be to compare against other long serving congressman and the quality of the bills they sponsored or wrote or championed.

  • Beverly OConnor

    The millionaire private funding’s lack of sophistication is on full display in comments such as these. Of the 435 members in the House, those with experience, influence and with time tested relationships amongst fellow lawmakers have little need to have their own names as author of final bills but instead focus on the best possible outcome through negotiation and incorporation.

    • Slimfred

      Are you talking about Markey the millionaire? Certainly, you seems to be missing the fact that Gomez is a self made millionaire. Stop picking on Markey for being a millionaire.

      • Beverly OConnor

        The stunning intellect u display in this witty play or words leaves me in awe! I suddenly have the urge t

        • Beverly OConnor

          Urge to start hating the less fortunate. Thank u!

  • Slimfred

    When I heard Markey’s 1st commercial of the campaign state “20 years ago, I…” blah blah blah … I figured he hadn’t done anything in the last 20 years worth talking about. Gomez thought the same thing, as did thousands of normal thinking men and women. Markey’s 1st commercial this year claimed that 20 years ago he implied that he made Smart Phones and Google possible. Why is Markey’s pile of donkey dung not getting 4 Pinocchios?

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