Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Political Dirt, Iowa Style
The Political Madman is on a roll.
There's 49 days left until the November 7 election. Forty-nine days of negative ads, push polling, partisan bickering and bad satire. At the end of those 49 days, we'll elect the candidate Iowans hate less based on the smear campaigns of their opponents, 527 groups and the parties.
Then, on November 8th, we'll wonder why no one voted.
True words, but sadly the act of practicing politics at this most fierce & banal level serves the purposes of those who employ the tactics. They win. They make the laws & spend the money.
Aggressive campaigning is not new; it's an integral part of American politics as far back as the Founding Fathers. Americans expect to see the very sharpest edge of bad taste when it comes to campaign politics. It's always been that way: Jefferson, Lincoln, Roosevelt(s), Nixon, Kennedy(s), Reagan and on, each generation and all political parties reinvent the art of political contrast to gain Election Day advantage.
Some experts think that might not be all bad.
High Praise for Low Blows
David Mark on negative campaigning and the accidental benefits of campaign finance reform
"It's a lot like porn," author David Mark says of negative campaigning—and he means that in a good way. As a political journalist and former editor-in-chief of Campaigns & Elections magazine, Mark has watched vicious attack ads take down many an aspiring politico. But instead of bemoaning the low blows struck in the name of electoral politics—from Swift Boat slanders to friend-of-terrorist-smears—Mark is convinced negativity is a distinctly positive feature of U.S. elections.
Like pornographers, Mark argues, negative campaigners have seized emerging technology to reach their audience, bypassing gatekeepers to reach voters directly. The result, he claims, is a more rich, if less genteel, conversation. In Going Dirty (Rowman Littlefield), coming out next month, Mark lays out and defends the modern history of negative campaigning, from1928 attacks on presidential nominee and "rum-soaked Romanist" Al Smith to less-than-subtle images of Osama Bin Laden in 2004. Assistant Editor Kerry Howley spoke with Mark in
in February. Washington D.C.
Yeah, that one should get a lot out link clicks.
In my mind, it's more curious that the Democrats made such a press issue out of a minor political spat. If they're in a race to the wire and they need to kill off a Republican, they're going to use whatever means they have to make that happen, including negative campaign mailers and phone calls. Then it'll be that old ghost of Democrat Hypocrisy riding in on late October winds and without a single Republican sheet in sight.
No one was dirtier, ever, than Bill Clinton. How could the Dems continue to support a guy like Bill. He sold out much of their agenda to the Contract with America, he was a tad misoginystic, to say the least, he sold the party to corporate America and the Wall Street slugs that W has been prosecuting for 5 years, and he repeatedly supports W in public.
But they freaking love him!
Also, your juxtaposition of "fierce & banal" made me think of Hannah Arendt's phrase "the banality of evil" that she used to describe Eichmann. Goebbels would have been more appropriate for the topic of campaign ads, however.
Probably the most appropriate ad is the one from Wendy's, as you pointed out a few days ago.
Curious you bring up Eichmann & Goebbels, there is a German screenwriter & director out with something called "Heil Hitler, the Pig is Dead" Jokes from Nazi era Germany. Sounds interesting & adaptable.
I have to say, I don't think of the words fierce and evil as connected. Fierce is, well, fierce.
I'm fierce in a 'swat the little gal 'cause she's gettin' on my last nerve' sort of way, I just plow on & hope for something good.
Although, recently, as of today, I have decided I need to go to Africa for a three kids, two disapointments and chronic ennui sabatical. I'm not sure where, but I figure thousands of orphans in Angola might need someone's help.
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