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MONDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2006
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EDITORIAL

Mudslinging should make you wonder about slinger

Take an analytical look at campaign ads, and you'll have to conclude that the typical candidate in Alabama wants voters to see him as a Christian conservative who hates taxes and treasures his hunting rifle.

He paints his opponent, however, as a heathen liberal who can't wait to raise taxes and take away your guns.

Analytically is the only safe way to look at many of these ads, because they will mislead you more than they'll help you make an intelligent decision in the Nov. 7 general election.

Candidates use half-truths and irrelevant issues in attacking opponents, and, sadly, it works. It gets them votes.

"How many times have you seen a negative commercial and said, 'That is the most disgusting thing I've ever seen,' and then remembered it later?" Athens State University political science professor Jess Brown asked in M.J. Ellington's story about negative advertising, published in Sunday's DAILY.

Sometimes these campaign tactics backfire. More of them ought to.

The next time you see a candidate slam his opponent, ask yourself what it says about the character of the person slinging the mud.

Or maybe you know that person, and mudslinging is out of character for him or her. The question then is whose money and advice are influencing him to do something he would not normally do — and will those same bad supporters and advisers be telling him what to do after he gets elected?

Also bear in mind that what candidates say often does not predict the way they behave once in office.

At the national level right now, we are learning that certain politicians who courted conservative and religious voters were unable or unwilling to deliver on their campaign promises, and in fact were hypocritical, corrupt and incompetent.

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