25 August 2008

Why it is So Hard to Run a Clean Campaign

The candidates promise that they'll run a clean campaign. And soon they're slinging mud at one another - accusing the other of being clueless, elitist, bungling .... something and everything.

This seems to me inevitable for the simplest of reasons: false modesty. It is, of course, a symptom of arrogance when someone decides they are qualified to be president (or governor, or). And in order to win an election, this person has to win more votes than his or her opponent. This comes from looking better than the opponent, and there are only two ways to do that: either make yourself look good or make your opponent look bad. It seems presumptuous to say too much about what a great person you are. So, you make your opponent look bad. "I may be a womanizer unable to balance a budget, but let me tell you about my opponent's pedophilia and crack addictions."

And so it goes ...

4 comments:

Gypsy at Heart said...

Unfortunately all too true.

Big Al said...

*I* think if they wore frilly collared shirts and cool white-hair wigs that made them look like George Washington on the $1 bill, it'd really help. But that's just me.

Did you hear how all of a sudden the Democrats have found some morals? John Edwards was going to speak at the convention but the Dems decided it may not be such a good idea given the outing of his recent affair. Instead they've asked Bill Clinton to speak in Edwards' place. (and no, I'm *NOT* a Republican).

Lifehiker said...

I, for one, really appreciate Obama's staying pretty clean with respect to personal attacks.

McCain's surrogates, on the other hand, have been shameless liars and played on the prejudices of uneducated and uncultured Americans. They deserve a reserved seat in the underworld.

That said, I also think it totally fair to publicize negative facts about your opponent. For example, Obama was a state senator only four years ago; he is low on "experience". And McCain voted against clean energy 25 times but came out for sale of offshore oil leases to Big Oil.

Too bad we don't have newspapers who publish a quarter-page of fact checking every day of the campaign, covering both the candidates and their surrogates.

Ron Davison said...

Milena,
I agree with you agreeing with me. I think.

ALLEN!
I'm chuckling aloud here. Really about Edwards vs. Clinton? And yes, I will begin blogging in a founding fathers' fashion. I am wearing a wig even as I write this.

LH,
It is sad that the Republicans have opted to become the party of fear. I think it is worth exploring some day (maybe through Bernard) how it is that their worldview has led them to this.