Tags: 2020 Elections | George W. Bush | valerie plame | cia | new mexico | teresa fernandez | roy moore

Valerie Plame's Defeat Latest Case of 'Martrydom Unrewarded'

plame in a white top and black pants sitting on stage with a blue pbs background
Valerie Plame (Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

By Wednesday, 03 June 2020 11:37 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Much like Valerie Plame’s James Bond-like TV spots, in which she drove a car backwards and spoke of her years in the CIA, and her candidacy for Congress from New Mexico, her defeat in the Democratic Party primary Tuesday night was big news.

Plame was famed for being exposed as a CIA operative after then-husband Joe Wilson disparaged the Bush administration’s claim that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Her story was told in the movie “Fair Game,” featuring Naomi Watts as Plame herself.

But despite raising more than $2 million and receiving press attention nationwide that most U.S. House candidates would drool over, Plame barely managed 23% of the vote and finished in second place.

“Plame placed a poor second to lawyer Teresa Leger Fernandez’s 43%,” said veteran election analyst Jay O’Callaghan. “Fernandez emphasized her local ties to Hispanic and Native American communities and beat Plame in all but one of the 16 counties in the district.”

To many, Plame’s defeat is another example of how American voters, no matter how sympathetic they are to tragic figures and their hardships, rarely ever translate that sympathy into awarding office to that figure.

“Martyrdom unrewarded,” is how Michael Barone, one of the authors of the “Almanac of American Politics,” once characterized it — the failure of victims to turn their unfortunate circumstances into political success. He even offered the example of Patty Wetterling, Minnesota housewife and math teacher, whose 11-year-old-son Jacob was kidnapped in 1989 and never seen again. She formed the Wetterling Foundation to address the crisis of missing children and became a nationally-known advocate of the subject. But when she ran for Congress in 2004 against Republican Rep. Mark Kennedy, she lost with 43% of the vote.

U.S. Marine Sgt. Kevin Hermening, who at 21-years-old was the youngest hostage held in the U.S. embassy in Iran, was profiled in such national outlets as “USA Today” and “Good Morning America.” But Republican Hermening lost two bids for Congress from Wisconsin, as well as a race for the state legislature.

Twice removed as chief justice of Alabama for his championship of public display of the Ten Commandments, Roy Moore subsequently lost more bids for offices than he won. Moore finally did win the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate in 2017 but lost the election following unflattering revelations about his relationships with young ladies.

There are always exceptions, and certainly, the cases of widows of congressmen and Vietnam prisoners of war are among them. But even widowhood or heroic resistance to torture have not been enough for some to win. Voters, more often than not, feel sympathy for certain figures but, for whatever reasons, they just won’t vote for them.

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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Much like Valerie Plame's James Bond-like TV spots, in which she drove a car backwards and spoke of her years in the CIA, and her candidacy for Congress from New Mexico, her defeat in the Democratic Party primary Tuesday night was big news. Plame was famed for being...
valerie plame, cia, new mexico, teresa fernandez, roy moore
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2020-37-03
Wednesday, 03 June 2020 11:37 AM
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