How Low Can You Go?

Crossposted at blogher.com

I have yet to see an election without some low blows, and this one will be no exception.

Today marked the un-official start of mudslinging season. The McCain campaign accused the Obama campaign of playing the race card and the next thing I knew I was reading a press release from the Obama campaign about their new site, the “Low Road Express.”

Julie at MOMocrats explains, “The site offers links to op eds and fact checks, much of which is written by journalists and citizen journalists not employed by the campaign. The idea is to clear up misconceptions that the McCain campaign has been spreading with abandon recently.

After you look at the site, tell me what you think, friends: is this fair play, setting the record straight? Or is it sinking down to play in the gutter with the Rovian campaigning strategies?”

She has a point. The first thing I thought was “Awesome! Fight back and tell the truth!” and then, the name of the site “Low Road Express” got to me. Too snarky maybe?

But my mind was changed a bit with a quick quote from Myrna at Reno and It’s Discontents,

“Attack the attack, not the man. McCain and his campaign could learn something from Obama and his campaign. First there was Fight the Smears, and now there is the Low Road Express. Obama‚Äôs crew is FAST.”

Betsy at BeThink might have the most reasonable take I’ve read thus far though,

“Some might describe political advertisements as disgraceful, disreputable, discreditable, or just dreadful. Certainly, well-crafted candidate infomercials may be more hype than helpful. Rancorous rumors about a rival are meant to pass for truth in propaganda pieces. In a sixty-second sound bite, during a spirited campaign, vengeful voices, can expertly spew vile so sweetly. When a candidate is intent on victory venom flows freely…Reticence is frequently relinquished when much is at stake. Perhaps, when the prize is as preeminent as the Presidency, a person once thought of as admirable can turn ugly. Too frequently, when a someone feels threatened, when a win seems less than certain, aggressive slurs are common. They often come from one thought to be innocent and decent, and when they do, those of us who hear the antagonistic words must decide. What will we advocate for or accept?

This year Americans might ask themselves, must we endure another series of slights. Perchance, it is time to take a stand before the momentum builds. Currently, a petition offers the possibility of hope. We, the people can express our desire to end the avalanche of assault advertisements that now fill the air. If we express our discontent, we might be able to eliminate further folly. Let us address our concerns to the campaign that now stands by statements that are discredited by reputable sources.”

Honestly? The rhetoric is getting so thick and nasty I am tried of shaking my head and correcting every single little thing that gets throw into the public arena. It started with “Obama is a Muslim” and it just keeps on going.

The definition of what, exactly, constitutes as negative campaigning seems to vary from side to side too here. I might be screaming “HOW DARE THEY SAY THAT!” while the other side discusses the legitimacy of bringing up Obama mentioning how he looks different than past presidents as “playing the race card.”

I’m too much of a cynic to think we can avoid negative campaigning- but I can hope.

Contributing Editor Erin Kotecki Vest also blogs at Queen of Spain blog

Comments

  1. I don’t like low blows in campaigning but I would not respect a man that has no way to stand up for himself and let those damn Rove’ers roll over them and smear them! It is a competition and fighting fair is allowed. But I’ll have to go check out the site to see if this is fair! Thanks for the tip.

  2. I like the idea of attacking the attack and not the man. The Republican machine has got their smear campaign lined up and of course, have the old guard leading the pack. If the country falls for it this time around, we’re in deep trouble. Rather than taking the offensive (or is it defensive, really), perhaps the Obama folks should come up with a new strategy to engage the base. I’d love to see them utilizing the 2.0 space and the folks who inhabit it to fight the fight for them. Not sure how it would work but strength in numbers and power to the people.

  3. The sad thing is that people are swayed by the ridiculous stuff. If we as voters would recognize it for what it is and ignore it, perhaps it would dissapate.

  4. Ahh, let the mud slinging begin. I’d like to say that I have faith that Americans will see past the BS and to the facts, but then I’d also like to say the tooth fairy is totally real. Not gonna happen.

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