When Super PACS Attack: Fight Like a Girl or Die, Candidates


Mitt Romney in Iowa
Politics ain't beanbag
, as writer Finley Peter Dunne famously, and correctly, said. But you'd be led to believe otherwise by the constant pearl clutching, even by some candidates, over Super PACs and negative ads this election cycle. Egads! People band together in support of one candidate to run negative ads against an opposing candidate -- and they often contain half-truths or outright lies? Get me to my fainting couch!

 

Super PACs are so prevalent and dominate campaigns nowadays due to a plethora of absurd campaign finance reform laws. If you don't like them, you can blame campaign finance reform and limits being put on individual contributions to candidates and their campaigns. But, until the laws change or the Supreme Court revisits cases like Buckley v. Valeo, get used to them. And for cripes sake, candidates, quit whining about them. 

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The proper response to a Super PACs negative ad blitz is not to cry 'unfair', it's to fight back. If you don't, you might as well hang it up. Negative ads work; they are highly effective. You must counteract them offensively or you are doomed. I mean, we've seen how well not fighting back worked for Newt Gingrich in Iowa. By "well" I of course mean horribly. The Super PAC 'Restore Our Future', which supports Mitt Romney, went all out in their attack ads aimed at Speaker Gingrich. His response? To have lawyers send letters demanding television stations not air them. Then complained to Mitt Romney, basically asking him to tell the PAC to stop being so meany pants

This is not the Newt I know nor want. First, Romney cannot, by law, tell the PAC anything. Look, I am not a fan of Governor Romney and, if the Super PAC is any indication, then I'm also not a fan of the company he keeps, another criterion on which I judge a man. But the laws are set up so that he cannot admit to having any communication with the PAC. Which is why people should be able to contribute as much as they want to a candidate, giving him full accountability and no Super PAC cover of anonymity for 'negative' jackassery.

Second, the answer to speech you don't like is not to seek to quash it. Nor to seek further regulations; that's how we were saddled with Super PACs to begin with, for cripes sake! You counteract 'negativity' and speech that you don't like with more speech, your own speech. The GOP candidates need to grow a set of ovaries. They refuse to attack Governor Romney during the debates and now they are even refusing to respond to negative ads, which work no matter how much people feebly protest them, with their own.

The candidates are harming themselves. Also harmed are those people who are wilfully uninformed and purposely remain so by refusing to research anything on their own, instead choosing to believe whatever they see on television. Which is why negative ads are so effective in the first place!

The candidates harmed the most are those who will not or can not fight back. Either because they are pulling the absurd 'above it all', "I'm super positive and negative stuff is nasty, even though this is politics' cards or because their campaign organization stinks.

Fight like a girl or lose, candidates!

 

This post is part of a weekly conversation with our 5 Moms Matter 2012 political bloggers. Read the original question and find links to all their responses here: Who Do Negative Campaign Ads Hurt Most?

 

Image via WEBN-TV/Flickr

 

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