Monday, October 23, 2006

COLUMN: Negative Ads

My favorite source for the news of the day has got to be newspapers. This may or may not have something to do with the fact that I work for one. It may or may not also involve my editors stringing me from my toes if I were to say something different. Regardless, I think we do a pretty good job bringing you the top stories of the day.

Or so I thought.

See, I've been watching a lot of TV lately. After all, it IS the new fall season, and as much as I love our newspaper, it doesn't routinely feature Evangeline Lilly, or Jenna Fischer, or any of America's Next Top Models...

Or that one girl on "Heroes" who I'd like to mention but know that even though she's been photographed partying with Paris Hilton, in reality she's only 17 and ergo that would be WRONG, Shane. Very, very wrong.

Anyways, thanks to my sad obsession with hot TV celebrities, I learned about a new threat we all must fear. And it's a threat our newspaper sadly seems to overlook. It turns out that there are two very, very dangerous men roaming about the Iowa countryside. And If it wasn't for a helpful barrage of non-stop TV ads, I never would have known about this threat to our way of life.

Funnily enough, both of these apparant harbingers of doom are running for Congress.

NOTHING on Earth so efficiently drives me crazy quite like negative campaign ads -- and this election year, we're setting a new precedent for the things. I'm referring in particular to the race for Iowa's 1st District between Mike Whalen and Bruce Braley.

I should barely care about this race. I don't live in Iowa; these guys don't represent ME. No offense, but the only thing I care about when it comes to Iowa politics is making sure someone's there to tell future viable Presidential candidates that it's not the best idea to yell "Wheeeeargh!" when making their Iowa concession speeches.

Yet, night after night, I have to suffer through the mindless back and forth mudslinging going on by these guys and the random PAC's that support them. I have yet to hear an ad that talks about which candidate is GOOD for Iowa. I only know why they're both BAD. The respective arguments of these ads go something like this:

• Mike Whalen has a whole lot of money. This is apparently a bad thing, as guys with lots of money are apparently greedy and evil. Frankly, I think the fact that Whalen built a restaurant empire out of nothing speaks to his initiative. And hey, Whalen's Heart of America owns Johnny's Italian Steakhouse, and have you guys tried the Filet Trio over there? Anybody responsible for THAT foodgasm going into my mouth is an okay guy in my book.

• Braley, meanwhile, has "been labelled a 'peace candidate' by the Communist Party!" First off, doesn't it take a crowd to have a "party"? Isn't it more like the Communist Brunch these days? No offense to you aspiring socialists out there, but isn't today's Communist Party nothing more than a few overly-idealistic college kids and that same guy who runs for President every 4 years? Who cares who the Communist Party sorta-endorses? And, Commies aside, what's so wrong with being a "peace candidate"? Would you rather be the "Warmonger candidate?"

Is this what today's politics has come to? Hoping that controversial groups DON'T support you? What's next? In two more years, what will we be seeing? "Hi, my name is Larry. I'm a convicted pedophile and arsonist, and I'm here to tell you that Jim Schtick is my choice for Congress. Yes, on behalf of all the arsonistic pedophiles nationwide, I can safely say that Jim Schtick is our man! (Paid for by the League of People Who Think Jim Schtick is a Doodiehead.)"

How about trying something different, folks? How about telling us who TO vote for, rather than who NOT to vote for? Campaigns should be about the issues and concerns of constituents. In fairness, both candidates' websites address and answer these negative ads, but still, this campaign has managed to turn "blue vs. red" into the Greenbacks vs. the Red Menace. It's all pretty silly, but then again, I've never claimed politics weren't funny.

I'm just waiting for one of the OTHER guys in the hunt for that Congressional seat to run an ad claiming that a newspaper column has just linked both Whalen AND Braley to arson and pedophiles. Then my editors probably WILL string me from my toes. And then, heck, nobody wins.

No comments: