Campaign Ads Make You Cringe Negative Attacks Out of Control
As we close in on Nov. 2, both major parties are ratcheting up the rhetoric and honing negative ads. It is ever thus.
President Obama is out on the campaign trail delivering rousing speeches to seemingly adoring fans. He is, of course, very good at this kind of speech, but somehow hearing the cheers reminds me of the bobby-soxers that used to be induced to scream for Frank Sinatra. Admittedly, there is a germ of sincerity in these crowds, but I feel it has been highly manipulated and magnified. Check the polls.
The opposition is also having a field day with hyperbole. One of the favorite barbs making the rounds is the accusation that the health bill contains a 3.8 percent tax on the sale of your home. Again, there is a germ of truth here. Some sellers will be hit with this tax but, since it is designed to rip the rich, only huge earners or folks who make huge profits will be taxed. The average house sale will be exempt.
Still, the question must be asked: What does an investment tax have to do with a health care bill?
That's the problem with these gigantic multi-thousand-page bills Congress dreams up. These bills may start out with good intentions, but then they get sidetracked as irrelevant earmarks or mini-laws worm their way in.
The result is a bill that, as Nancy Pelosi puts it, must be voted for so we can find out what's in it. (I can't believe she said that with a straight face.) Add to that conditions that cause even McDonald's to think of no longer offering health coverage to its employees, and you no longer have to wonder why so many are crying for repeal.
Both sides are guilty of negative personal attacks that make you cringe. Although character does count, must we dig down into the gutter to defeat a candidate? There are, of course, vestiges of voyeurism in most of us. But I, for one, am more interested in what a candidate does in the Senate chamber than in the bedchamber. More important is that pack of tax evaders currently settled into the West Wing. Nobody elected them.
Then there are the lies - today so sickeningly prevalent. It has become almost a joke to point out that Congress wants to put people in prison who lie to them, while their lies to us get them elected to another term. Lies are the norm-especially in campaign ads.
How are we to know what is true and what is not? And what is pertinent and what is simply smear? And would the lies be needed if people were elected to represent us for a LIMITED time? More and more, it has become -evident that term limits -correct a lot of evils brought about by the wish of too many representatives to ignore the purpose of -serving the public and turn their elections into highly lucrative careers.
Candidates with slick speeches must never blind us. President Obama is not the only politician out there with the gift of the snake oil peddler. Promises and alibis drip easily from their tongues.
We must never forget that, despite President Obama's plea for more time to get his changes off the ground, -similar tactics have been tried before in a number of countries under a number of labels (communism, -socialism, fascism, Nazism) and they have yet to work.
It may sound politically correct to talk of sharing the wealth and sharing the power throughout the world, but that approach is not how we became the greatest nation on earth and the most desired place to live.
Back in the Roaring '20s, a slang phrase became popular for getting people to leave in a hurry. It's called "23 skiddoo." And, yes, I know it was before your time. But it's apropos today.
There are 23 days until we tell the entrenched crowd in Congress: 23 skiddoo.
Allan Jefferys, a former New York theater critic and newsman, lives in Pinehurst. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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