What do you want to see in advertising from our Presidential candidates? Do you want a clean set of advertisements simply listing the candidates positions on certain issues? Would you prefer a dirtier affair where the viewer is reminded of all of the nasty little skeletons in someone’s closet? Or perhaps something in between, highlighting candidates differences and reminding voters that the other candidate may not be morally, ethically, or otherwise capable of being our President?
I genuinely believe that most voters think they want the “clean” fight. People are tired of the wantonly destructive way that candidates often speak of each other, and they want politicians who devoutly believe in being the “good guy” on the stage. Not stooping to the low blow attacks of the ethically challenged opponent and the political operators who handle these campaigns. But it’s a load of horse manure. If this were really the case, then why would campaigns continue to trot out the drivel that we see election after election?
Most recently one of President Obama’s Super PACs developed an ad that seemed to imply that because of Mitt Romney’s business practices at Bain Capital… a woman died of cancer. The ad has backfired in a tremendous way, but only because it was proven to be filled with half-truths and misinformation. If the ad had been accurate, and Romney had still been running Bain, and the family really had no health insurance, and the woman did die of cancer because of the loss of said insurance… this could have been a KO for the Romney campaign. The ad is dirty and frivolous whether or not it’s true, but if it had been true that would not have mattered, the American public would have eaten it up and Romney would be forever painted as some kind of murdering capitalist vampire. Romney just got lucky that he wasn’t at Bain anymore, and the family did have insurance after the husband lost his job. Otherwise this ad may have rung in another 4 years of Obama.
We need to face the reality that we live in a culture that values the grotesque and the dirty. Millions of Americans may say they despise the mud-slinging but these are the same people who tune in to TMZ, or read the National Enquirer, or surf the many celebrity gossip sites on the web. Negative advertising is the best way for a candidate to sway voters, whether or not they like to admit it. It is vitally important that Romney find the soft underbelly of the Obama campaign and hit it with as much negative advertising as he can. If you are waiting for a “clean” political fight then you better get comfortable you are going to be waiting a very long time.