SCOTT MOONEYHAM: Political Ads Are An Insult to Voters
"They call her Fibber Kay."
Who does? During her 10 years in the state Senate, I've never heard her called that.
She's "balanced five state budgets in a row."
Really? Did she sit down with a little ledger pad and do the math herself? What about those other 169 state legislators? Did they have anything to do with it? And there is that little matter of the state constitution, which requires a balanced budget.
"Perdue presided over $6 billion in new taxes."
Presided over, huh? You mean, as in, didn't vote for or against because the lieutenant governor of North Carolina has no vote in the state Senate except in the case of a tie? Does this mean that President Bush "presided over" the worst attack on U.S. soil since Pearl Harbor? I guess not.
But Pat McCrory is "a real danger to the middle class."
So does this "middle class" include those families in Charlotte that have somehow managed to survive during his tenure as mayor? Arise, middle-class Charlotteans. Danger is near!
Exaggerations like the one in the Perdue ad attacking McCrory, her Republican opponent in the race for governor, aren't new.
As tough as Perdue's task is running against a centrist mayor of a large city, political candidates have always tried to portray their opponents as out of touch or at the extremes.
But exaggeration is one thing.
In this campaign season, unlike any that I've ever seen, political ads have really degenerated into outright lies. There seems to be no standard, no need for any basis of truth, no claim that's too absurd.
So John McCain becomes a president who will be intolerant toward Hispanics. Barack Obama called Sarah Palin a pig and will tax the middle class. Kay Hagan, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, becomes "Fibber Kay."
Even the positive ads are filled with lies. Once upon a time, Perdue, a Democrat, and incumbent U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole, a Republican, would have claimed to have "helped" save North Carolina military bases from closure. (And each did have a role in that aim, even if no one knows what would have happened without their help.)
Now, just as with Hagan's claim of balancing budgets, each did it. By themselves. No help.
Next up: an ad taking credit for the sun shining.
All these ads seem pretty silly, and I have a hard time believing that I'm alone in that assessment.
If I'm not, the only reasonable conclusion to draw is that political consultants who design them have gone nuts.
When exaggerations become easy-to-prove lies, credibility suffers. If a campaign lies about this or that in one ad, why believe any claims or charges in any of their ads?
Of course, the consultants peddling this garbage have always believed voters to be gullible. Apparently they believe we're more gullible than ever.
Scott Mooneyham writes for Capitol Press Association. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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