Saturday, May 13, 2006

Smoke and Mirrors and Lots of Mud

When I talk to people outside politics about politics the one thing I hear over and over is how distasteful they find the mean-spiritedness of campaigns and campaign literature. Many of the people in politics that I respect say the same thing. It's one thing I watch for in a campaign -- how do they present themselves? What language do they use?

So, I took note of a press release on politicspa in a race I have been watching closely. And I see utter nonsense like this:

[candidate's name] is the creation of the Philadelphia political machine which appears to be hell bent on extending its empire into the suburbs.

Is there just ONE political machine in the city? Every time I pick up the paper I read about intra-party fighting and jockeying for power. One faction backs one candidate, another faction backs another. The creation of bogeymen with intent to frighten is a very old advertising and political trick. It never speaks well of people who use it.

All I hear from [candidate] are platitudes and talking points spoon fed to him by someone in a place far away from [district].

Ditto for this. No examples are given. No evidence is provided. It's trash talk from a campaign that I have come to expect that from. I find this particularly irksome because a few years ago I was involved in an argument between two battling politicians. One made it very clear that he considered me incapable of independent thought and viewed me as no more than a wheezing rheumy-eyed attack poodle for the other politican. He had spent enough time in my company to know better. Any time I hear someone dismissed as a brainless agent or water carrier for someone else I become very suspicious, unless specific details can be given. It is the rallying cry of those who have nothing substantive to say and are usually trying to hide their own inadequacies.

To be honest, I think highly of the candidate being dissed in the press release, but I have reasons for doing so (here here and here). I think poorly of the candidate opposing him (for reasons specified here). The person sending out the press release was the attorney representing the plantiff in this case. If you have the time, listen to the two candidates in a joint appearance on Radio Times (either this link or this one).

Everyone is entitled to an opinion. I have a very strong one on this race (as you might have guessed). However, empty rhetoric and baseless mudslinging never reflect well on the people slinging the mud.

(doomsy has a few things to say on this also.)

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