Negative Campaigning

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The Washington Post helpfully informs everyone that it is all the Republican's fault. Never mind that the way they "prove"  this allegation is by one of the oldest tricks in the book. They devote a paragraph or more to each and every Republican ad they object to. All – pretty much across the board – of Democrat hit ads are glossed over in one paragraph. I've said all along that this is the worst cycle I have seen in terms of negativity, but it is NOT the exclusive realm of the Republicans.

The result has been a carnival of ugly, especially on the GOP side, where operatives are trying to counter what polls show is a hostile political environment by casting opponents as fatally flawed characters. The National Republican Campaign Committee is spending more than 90 percent of its advertising budget on negative ads, according to GOP operatives, and the rest of the party seems to be following suit. A few examples of the "character issues" taking center stage two weeks before Election Day:


· In the most controversial recent ad, the Republican National Committee slammed Rep. Harold E. Ford Jr. (D-Tenn.) for attending a Playboy-sponsored Super Bowl party. In the ad, a scantily clad white actress winks as she reminisces about good times with Ford, who is black. That ad has been pulled, but the RNC has a new one saying Ford "wants to give the abortion pill to schoolchildren."

Some Democrats are playing rough, too. House candidate Chris Carney is running ads slamming the "family values" of Rep. Don Sherwood (R-Pa.), whose former mistress accused him of choking her. And House candidate Kirsten Gillibrand has an ad online ridiculing Rep. John E. Sweeney (R-N.Y.) for attending a late-night fraternity party. "What's a 50-year-old man doing at a frat party anyway?" one young woman asks, as a faux Sweeney boogies behind her to the Beastie Boys. "Totally creeping me out!" another responds.

But most harsh Democratic attacks have focused on the policies and performance of the GOP majority, trying to link Republicans to Bush, the unpopular war in Iraq and the scandals involving former representative Mark Foley and former lobbyist Jack Abramoff. That is not surprising, given that polls show two-thirds of the electorate thinks the country is going in the wrong direction. And studies show that negative ads can reduce turnout; Democrats hope a constant drumbeat of scandal, Iraq and "stay the course" will persuade conservatives to stay home on Nov. 7. (Emphasis added).

This is disingenuous at best. The Democratic attacks are high-minded, the Republican ones are mean-spirited, according to the WaPo.

Nonsense. BOTH parties are trying to whack hell out of their opponents. Trying to connect Congressman X to Foley is no less an offense than trying to paint the anti-Ford ad they cite as racist. It isn't even a matter of degree. This is not really a news article.

It is cheerleading.

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