Thursday, October 16, 2008

Nasty Campaign Ads....

Repost from Terry Smith, Managing Editor of The Athens News.

Negative ads: Nasty is as nasty does

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH ran a fascinating story Monday headlined, “Attack Ads Unpopular But Effective, Party Official says.”

The party official in question, Scott Borgemenke, chief strategist for the House Republican Campaign Committee, has a key role in devising the advertising strategy for Republicans running in Ohio House of Representatives districts across the state, including the 92nd District that includes Athens County.

So he would have to claim some responsibility for the repulsive “death-penalty” mailers the Ohio Republican Party sent out against the Democratic 92nd District candidate, Debbie Phillips. I wrote about these mailers last week, so I won’t go into full detail, but they basically made the argument, in Technicolor negativity, that because Phillips opposes the death penalty, she is therefore an “ally” of brutal murderers and child rapists.

This is not unlike GOP vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s recent offhand remark that Barack Obama “pals around with terrorists,” based on his acquaintanceship with a man whose domestic terrorism occurred when Barack was 8 years old.

The article actually cited another noxious ad campaign that Borgenmenke is involved in this election season, a homophobic mailer whose underlying grievance against the Democrat in a House race (opposition to a bill that would ban gay adoption) would have applied just as well to GOP House Speaker Jon Husted and a majority of Republicans who opposed the same bill, according to the Dispatch.

In the article, Borgenmenke freely admitted that this sort of campaigning is bad. “I don’t think it’s a good thing for the system,” he said about the negative ads. “It just works.”

His attitude is so cynical and corrosive that I’m not going to waste your time explaining why. If you don’t see the moral bankruptcy of using scare tactics and outright deception — completely divorced from any reasonable discussion of issues — to win an election, you’re just Borgenmenke’s type of voter: Stupid, gullible and impressionable.

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