I’ve heard a lot of talk lately about how people are so sick of the negative campaigning and how the Democrats are just as bad as the Republicans,
It just seems like it isn’t so, from where I’m sitting.
A few weeks ago, I volunteered to do phone calling for Amy Klobuchar. We were all instructed to stay positive and focus on Amy’s record. We were only to mention her opponent by name and then only to refer to him, and not say anything about him. Just focus on Amy and the issues.
By contrast, we got a call this afternoon from the Republicans. They first asked how Rocky would vote in the Governor’s race. Would he vote for Tim Pawlenty, the Republican, or Mike Hatch, the Democrat. Well, we’re not thrilled with Hatch, but Tim Pawlenty (the incumbent) is swiftly turning our state into Alabama.
There are some mighty fine people living in Alabama. They run the state the way they want to, and it works for them. We lived there for a while. We didn’t care for it, and couldn’t get out of there fast enough. No offense. It’s just a matter of taste. Rocky told him this, and the guy replied in a disgruntled voice “My wife’s from Alabama.”
My quip later was “Yeah, I notice SHE left too.” Rocky was not so quick, having been distracted by some home-improvement work he was being kept from.
The guy didn’t try to defend Pawlenty. He was satisfied that we were lukewarm on Hatch.
Then the guy asked about Maria Ruud. See, Maria Ruud was elected for one thing, and for one thing only (in our minds); to change a law that capped Eden Prairie’s ability to tax property to raise money for our local schools. It was capped at a time when Eden Prairie was rural, and most of the land was agricultural. Huge property taxes would have been unfair and burdensome for agricultural land owners. Now, of course, Eden Prairie is suburban, and many, many people own yard-sized plots of land. The demands on local services have expanded immeasurably, but our ability to raise money to accommodate that growing demand has been capped by State Law. Our schools were in desperate need of funding, and it was NOT going to come from a state government headed by Tim Pawlenty. So we wanted to take matters into our own hands and preserve our decent schools. But we couldn’t, because of this stupid law.
Nobody in office at the time wanted to change the law, because THEN they could be accused of “voting to raise taxes”. Even though changing the law wouldn’t actually raise taxes; it would just put power into the hands of local people to raise taxes on themselves if they wanted to.
Doesn’t matter. The tax Nazis don’t care if you WANT the taxes or NEED the taxes. They don’t care that they don’t even live in the community where the taxes are being raised. All they care about is somewhere someone who was elected to office voted in a way that might indirectly lead to a tax possibly being raised.
Have I mentioned how much I loath Grover Norquist; Tax Nazi?
Anyway, many people in Eden Prairie voted for Maria Ruud so she could go to the State Capitol and change the law so we could vote for our own damn taxes and save our schools from the Tax Nazis.
This she did, and this she is being crucified for.
The Republican on the phone asked Rocky if he would change his mind about voting for Maria Ruud if he found out that she had voted for a ten cent tax on gasoline, and to raise property taxes.
Blah! Taxes! Booga Booga Booga. Will you vote for my boy NOW?
Screw that. They didn’t even have the guts to accuse her of voting to raise the taxes. Only the gutless implication of “Would you change your vote if you found out she had voted for a raise in taxes?”
Oh, and I might add our local Mayor’s race. Our city is so conservative, we don’t even have a Democrat running for Mayor. We have a choice of two Republicans:
1) Ron Case, who was on the school board, worked very hard to push for the school and parks referendums (which passed, and were only made possible through the work of Maria Ruud). He also refused to seek the Republican nomination because he doesn’t believe that national parties are appropriate in local elections. He believes a candidate should be answerable to the people he is elected to serve, and national parties get in the way of that.
2) Phil Young, who accepted the Republican nomination and immediately launched a negative campaign ad “Ron Case’s record: Higher Taxe$”.
Ron Case’s response? An overwhelmingly classy one. “Ron Case’s REAL record: “One of America’s Top Ten Cities”.
I think the Republicans are going to find out that the people can’t be fooled for long, and the negative attack ads they are running on every level of government…even against their own kind, are going to blow up in their faces.
In my opinion, the Democrats AREN’T as bad. Some might point to Patty Wetterling’s “Congressman Foley” ad.
It doesn’t hold a candle to the Willy Horton ad (IMHO), and it is less dishonest to say that Foley is a child predator than it is to say that Maria Ruud voted for a tax increase that actually happened by referendum.
Foley’s actions were predatory. They may not have actually resulted in him touching a child…but most people would consider them to be predatory. Certainly, Foley’s actions:
1) Asking children to report on how interacting with him was affecting their state of arousal.
2) Making clear attempts to arouse them sexually.
3) Reporting that he was aroused by the interactions.
4) Asking children to report the measurements of their sex organs to him.
5) Asking children to describe their masturbation techniques to him.
are defined as molestation and are illegal in some localities, and are illegal as harassment in others. (although not all, as they vary in age of consent, and what specific behaviors/conditions constitute molestation/harassment) Therefore, it is possible that his actions are criminal (depending on jurisdiction). Calling Foley’s actions predatory and calling for a public accounting for those actions and the resulting cover-up is not negative campaigning.
Calling them a crime, while possibly inaccurate due to jurisdictional technicalities, is not a stretch. If you want to split a hair as fine as that, I guess that’s your prerogative. But to my mind, it’s not enough to call “foul” on Ms. Wetterling.
I just don’t see how anyone can say the Democrats are just as bad as the Republicans for negative campaigning…but then again, I don’t watch TV ads (I DO love TiVo)…so I just see the signs and hear the ads they call me with on the telephone, and send in my mailbox…or what shows up on the internet.
Maybe someone can help me out with an example of negative campaigning from a Democrat that can beat the Willie Horton ad?