Saturday, January 26, 2008

1-26-08: Negative Campaign Ads

It sure seems like campaigns really don't change much, despite any real advance in technology. Sure, it is easier nowadays to find out what the candidate stands for. I read an interesting post in Freakonomics just yesterday posing the question of whether or not this has been the best primary season ever. Steve Dubner (the author) thinks so, citing how it's easier to find out what a candidate stands for with all the coverage and debates, and more importantly, it's possible to see how well they serve as a manager with the complexities of modern campaigning. It's an interesting viewpoint.

But one thing really hasn't gone away: negative campaign ads. I hate them. They ought to do negative campaign ads against negative campaign ads in general. What's more annoying is when candidates pull negative ads, but then explain what was in them anyway. Mike Huckabee pulled off a classic not too long ago (in campaign time, at least) by calling a press conference to show the press an ad he pulled off the air. Come on, Mike. You're better than that. He seems like a nice guy, but he too plays the negative ad game, and it's not cool. Oddly enough, I haven't seen any negative ads against Ron Paul, and I haven't seen negative ads from his side against others. Interesting.

But the bickering is simply pointless, and apparently it's starting to cost the Democrats. I think that's awesome, since it shows that voters aren't as dumb as one would think. Personally, when I see a negative ad against some one, I use it as a reason to NOT vote for the candidate from whom it came. Let's say Mitt Romney puts out a big TV ad against John McCain, saying this and that about McCain's voting record and whatnot (which isn't fair since Romney has never served in Congress so there's no parity). I'm going to look at that ad and say "Well, Romney's pulling the bully card out, so I trust him a little less. That's just an example, of course. I'd vote for Romney over McCain, but that doesn't mean I'm voting for Romney. Right now, my order of preference is: Ron Paul, Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, John McCain, and Mike Huckabee.

Why Ron Paul? Well, he's big on the economy, which I like. I don't really care too much about health care since I have it and plan on having insurance for the next four years. I also like that he sticks to the Constitution through and through, and his voting record is remarkably consistent. I like that. I also like Giuliani because he supports nuclear power, has management skills, and is a tough bastard. I only really pay attention to the candidates who not only agree with my positions, but care about those positions more than others. I couldn't really care less about pro-life or pro-choice. Personally, I see no need for the government to get involved with that. It's far too intrusive into personal privacy, and a kid is a kid when they're born. You can make a law against abandoning an infant, but birth control and abortion shouldn't be the government's business. The church might have a say, but not the law. The law protects residents and citizens of the United States, not residents of women's wombs.

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