11.07.2006

Mudslinging

I rarely discuss religion or politics here. I feel somewhat strongly about one subject, while the other is filed in the back of my awareness along with sports information. Politics in America tends to be a popularity contest, and choosing candidates very often involves picking the lesser of two evils. There's never a person I agree with 100%, so it comes down to finding the one with the most non-objectionable stances. Some years, I'm sorry to say, I'll have a bout of laziness and just flip all the switches in one row. So my opinion doesn't have the weight of someone like The Southern Conservative, for example.

The thing I hate the most about this time of year is the commercials. It doesn't matter if you favor the left or the right; both sides employ the same tactics. Instead of listing the pros of one candidate, most advertisements paint a sinister portrait of the cons of the opposition, often in an ominous voice, then tack on a cheerier “paid for by” message with their guy's name at the end. It's politics at its most juvenile, high school mentality, and it's probably more effective than any news report or magazine article. Who has time to do research and check facts?

These ads have become spoofs of themselves. The recurring theme I've been seeing, though we aren't electing a new president this year, is to paint any candidate who supported any aspect of the current president's policies as evil by association. I don't know if anyone has noticed this, but people really don't seem to like our current president. Apparently, in addition to attacking innocent terrorists and using his weather dominator to weed out undesirables with hurricanes, he eats kittens and sacrifices children to the devil. This isn't what I'm saying, just to clarify before the secret service knocks down my door. But to listen to some of these commercials, especially with the sinister voice over, the devil is running this country and demons are running for other positions. It's absurd.

Maybe it's naive of me to expect adults to act like adults. Can you imagine a world where politicians boasted what they (sincerely) stood for? Imagine if they used the tactics I learned in high school for debating. We were taught never to issue personal attacks, and to even concede some of an opponent's points before pointing out why we felt differently. Saying, “You're just wrong and you smell kind of musty!” is not effective debating. The better tactic is to say, “You're right about this and this, but here's where I disagree with you and these are some facts to support my position.” Does that ever happen? Sometimes, and more often when the candidate himself is speaking. The committee behind the campaign however seem to have missed some of these debate classes.

I'm not going to talk about where I stand or who I support, although I'm sure that's easy to infer. I'm not going to tell anyone who to vote for, but I hope people's decisions are based on favoring one candidate over opposing another one. Imagine for a moment I was running for President of the Blogosphere. Just for fun, even though we'd probably be in the same party, let's say my opponent is TheWriteJerry, and my people run a series of ads on YouTube issuing the following statements, read by someone like Tobin Bell:

”The Write Jerry would have you believe that God is your friend, but God doesn't want you to have any fun. Don't you like to have fun? If you vote for Jerry, he will come over and rip up all of your ‘sinful' issues of She-Hulk. Once, The Write Jerry shaved his head because some lousy wiseguy told him to. It wasn't pretty. Do you want a candidate who isn't pretty? Jerry is soft on the issues, and softer around the midsection, moreso than our guy. Do you want some plump guy in office? A grown man who takes BATHS?? Did I mention that The Write Jerry is also a scary old vampire with an albino midget hugging his neck? Think of the children. Won't someone please think of the children?

The Write Jerry is The Wrong Candidate. Vote MCF.

Paid for by Friends of Mike Whorenelli. Some or all facts may or may not have been embellished. Act now, and receive an MCF bobble head figurine for free. Keep it in your office; we swear there are no concealed electronic listening devices.


So who would you vote for? Sadly, the hypothetical isn't far from real examples out there...

8 Comments:

Blogger Jake said...

Sadly, in Arizona, Jon Kyl and J.D. Hayworth are emplying two types of commercials.

A) Negative. "Here's something my opponent said or wrote twenty years ago that I can take out of context and make it sound like it applies to current events" For example, as a councilman Harry Mitchell voted against a bill in the 1980's that would have denied bail outright to people accused of child molestation in favor of a bill that set higher bail. This is spun as "Harry Mitchell wants to put child molesters back on the streets!"

B) "Positive." In short, these say, "If you don't vote for the Republicans, terrorists are going to kill you and everyone and everything you've ever loved. If you loved things that have already died, like your grandmother, terrorist will resurrect them and kill them right in front of you."

For the first time in my life, I'm planning to vote a straight Democratic ballot today. I'm an independent voter who tends to hate both parties equally, but the Republicans have skewed so far right of traditional Republican values I can only hope losing both the House and the Senate might get them back to their core and away from the cartoonish villains they've become.

11/07/2006 5:13 AM  
Blogger TheWriteJerry said...

Once I'm done cracking up, I'll have to call my lawyers. And a press conference. And Dominos Pizza.

11/07/2006 7:07 AM  
Anonymous theGreek said...

bobblehead? Oh man, I'm already setting up an ebay store. That is too perfect...

11/07/2006 7:52 AM  
Blogger b13 said...

I have to go with the bobble head as well. Good selling point. I usually follow the news and make the best guestimate that I can around election time...
While watching “United 93” last night I got chills watching the footage even though I have seen the real thing. I was hesitant to watch this film because I hoped they didn’t twist the facts just to make a movie. I thought they did a good job portraying the event. I found myself gritting my teeth, clenching my jaw, and praying for vengeance from our leaders. What happened 5 years ago is still young in our minds. And even the slightest hint that one of our elected leaders will help exact that vengeance can sway someone to vote a certain way. I don’t really know where I’m going with this... But choose wisely.

11/07/2006 10:20 AM  
Blogger Darrell said...

You know, I used to really support The Write Jerry, but now that you've brought these other issues to light, I don't think I can comfortably vote for him. I mean, after all, She-Hulk ROCKS!

most advertisements paint a sinister portrait of the cons of the opposition

Yeah, I get sick of it from both sides, and it especially bugs me when the mud is slung by the guy I support. Here in Virginia we're faced with the possibility of losing a good Senator (George Allen) because, while he's a good legislator, he's an awful politician. The negative ads he's run against his opponent have been embarrassing for those of us who support him. I'd so much rather he'd just focused on his own rock-solid record ... but all the conservatives are afraid of being linked to Dubya and they're scrambling. It's a shame.

By the way, Tobin Bell is an awesome sounding name for an actor who plays bad guys. It's not as cool a name as Mike Whorenelli, but it's pretty awesome all the same.

11/07/2006 3:22 PM  
Blogger Kev said...

"...eats kittens and sacrifices children..."

Too funny!
Just last night Rubi and I saw one of those ads on TV, and Rubi piped up "Baron Hill eats babies!!"

11/07/2006 6:51 PM  
Blogger Lyndon said...

The free bobble head sounds cool, especially since it doesn't contain any listening devices.

But does it possibly contain a spy camera, hmm?

11/07/2006 8:53 PM  
Blogger Janet said...

Maybe it's a generational thing and we're just more jaded, but I just can't get jazzed about any candidate who resorts to such childish tactics. So much of it is just so far removed from anything important or relating to the issues. I guess this is why I got attacked on my blog today.

11/08/2006 6:58 PM  

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