Let's Focus on Political Issues, Not Personal Issues

newt gingrichNegative campaign ads by the Super PAC hurt voters and ultimately the success of our nation. Truly negative ads distract voters from the real issues and play on emotions rather than educating the voters on how a candidate will or will not lead our nation.

So what is a negative ad exactly?

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There are "negative" ads that show the candidate in a negative light, such as, for example, summarizing inconsistent votes at committee hearings by that candidate. We saw this take place in 2008, when Mike Huckabee commissioned a negative ad against Mitt Romney. Romney was accused of raising taxes, leaving a budget deficit, providing abortion coverage in his universal health care plan, and failing to execute during his term as governor. Since all of those facts were true, and related to how Romney would potentially serve as his role in presidential office, I would agree that such an ad was appropriate. If a candidate waivers back and forth, or doesn’t keep promises, well, I want to know before I vote for him or her again or at all. Accurate points about relevant issues are just the sort of thing we should be made aware of.   

In contrast, there are negative ads that seek to disparage or defame a candidate by publishing false or inaccurate information about him or her. It's this kind of negative ad that's destructive for everyone. When the Super PAC group funding the ads start focusing on the candidate’s personal life, well, I start to lose respect for the candidate whose group is paying for the ad rather than the candidate who is the focus of the negative campaign. I don’t feel like it’s my business to know that a particular candidate is a recovering alcoholic, or that he throws a tantrum off camera, or had marital affairs. Personal character flaws don't necessarily relate to professional flaws. I think we can, and should, be able to separate the two when it comes to selecting a good candidate.    

Hopefully most people see the mudslinging for what it is. I would say they are cheap attempts at detracting us from the real issues; however, it's frequently reported that the Super PACS raise and spend a lot of money for their candidates. As we approach the upcoming caucuses, I’m sure we'll start to see more negative ads hit the media outlets. Hopefully the candidates will encourage their support groups to be more responsible with their approaches.   

 

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 DonkeyHotey/Flickr

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