Eugene Cho

say no to negative campaigning and s#*t

Another presidential debate took place last night and I don’t know about you, I’m debated out.  Are you?  Once you hear one debate, they all sound the same.  I emailed Tom Brokaw these two questions for consideration: 1] anything to do with extreme global poverty and genocide and US involvement even if it doesn’t support our nation’s vested interest and 2] what’s up with the recent increase in negative campaigning?

I’m starting to understand why nothing gets done in our country’s political process: Name calling.  Finger pointing.  Blame game.  Partisanship.  When will we learn to work together? 

There were some interesting comments in response to yesterday’s post about reasons why I liked Sarah Palin…but not that way.  But come Novemer 5, can fellow Christians from different political views – particularly in the same church – respect one another and be in genuine fellowship?  I hope so.  Remember the rules of civility.

I have two good reads to share with you including some serious s*#t.  No joke.

Here’s what Campbell Brown [CNN] wrote calling the candidates to stop the negative campaigning:

There is just one month left. Please, please don’t let this devolve into a campaign you are sickened by and embarrassed to be part of.

Here’s a purely practical reason: The negativity you are spewing now will only make your job harder after Election Day.

Bipartisanship is really tough to achieve when everyone on both sides is left with a bad bad taste in their mouths.

Here is the new CNN Opinion Research Corp. When asked “How are things going in the country today?” 80 percent said badly. Eighty percent. Pollsters have been asking that question since 1974. Eighty percent is an all-time low. People want to hear solutions from you. They want to hear how you are going to get us out of this mess.

One of you will have to. Don’t you want to be able to walk into the White House with your dignity intact and your head held high?

And here’s the s*#t [or feces to be politically correct] people can resort to.  C’mon people!

Late Sunday night or early Monday morning, somebody tore a Crown Hill man’s cardboard McCain-Palin campaign sign and rubbed animal feces on another similar sign after burning it.

When an officer responded to the home in the 9500 block of 14th Avenue Northwest, he found the cardboard Republican campaign sign in multiple pieces.

Animal feces was also rubbed on the other sign, which was plastic, and on the east window of the man’s home.

The victim, in his early 60s, “had an American flag and a message inside the house facing the street and the feces was rubbed over the message,” the officer wrote in his report.

Police did not specify what the message said, and a suspect has not been found.

Filed under: politics

14 Responses

  1. Kari Byrd says:

    I really wish we didn’t have this two party system.

  2. Kevin King says:

    I agree with this becoming to much of a “smear fest”! After hearing so much negative and all the finger pointing, it makes me want to vote for a third party, lesser known guy that has no chance of getting in the white house… but at least I won’t feel responsible for putting one of these whiners in office. 🙂

  3. Ben C says:

    Friedman put it in very simple terms for the world to read about why McCain lost it with me and others:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/08/opinion/08friedman.html?ref=opinion

    Again, Palin, are you kidding me?

  4. Tracey says:

    Maybe I’ve forgotten what it’s been like in the past but it just seems preposterous how polarized the country has become. How is change possible with either parties when we’ve created a system of gridlock?

  5. DanW says:

    On the radio last night following the debate, even the national commentators were saying “There’s no reason to have more than one debate; after the first one, the rest are all just the same thing.” Talking points and negative campaigning. That’s how I want to be known – “Not as bad as that other guy.”

  6. Aaron says:

    As for partisanship, I always wonder… what do we have to lose by trying to understand the other parties point of view? What do we lose by sitting down and talking through it? Cant we come to some mutual understanding? Isn’t there a middle-ground that may be more correct? Can’t we learn from each other?

    My biggest questions: What do we really stand to lose? Why are we defending this (party/politician) so adamantly?

  7. rexhamilton says:

    I agree with you on the thought of being “debated” out. In fact, they aren’t even debates even more. Last night I found myself wishing we knew who the candidate’s potential cabinet members would be. Those are the people I want to begin to hear from and understand. Much of my voting decision has come down to who I believe will show the most wisdom in choosing the right people to come around them as advisors and directors. These are some of the biggest decision makers in America!

  8. Tom says:

    Definitely debated and campaigned out. The process goes on way too long. I’d be up for some legislation that restricted the length of campaigns at various levels. The folks in the House of Reps, because their term is so short, are basically continuously campaigning.

    As for the negative stuff, amen, but it won’t end until it stops working. I’m in Denver, and since national Republicans consider Colorado a long term ‘tipping point’ state that they can’t afford to go ‘blue,’ they’ve (almost entirely Republican groups outside of Colorado) invested almost 12 million dollars here for round the clock, truly vicious and false ads against Mark Udall, the democratic U.S. Senate candidate. There are about 4 ads against Udall for every ad for him. It’s been going on for a couple of months and has become a joke among everybody here, including Republicans. It’s gotten so silly that Udall came out with a pretty funny response ad the other day where he opens by saying something like, “Hey, lock the doors, hide your children, it’s me, Mark Udall! Then he pauses a count or two and says, “Just kidding!’

    Funny response to the problem that’s making our process sick. Maybe either ignoring or ridiculing this kind of attack approach would do the trick, but hard to expect these kinds of tactics to change when Udall’s lead has shrunk significantly since the ads started. He’s still leading and is likely to win, but I can’t imagine the political operatives watching this won’t conclude that sleaze–and lots of it–simply works.

  9. It’s interesting that you connected this instance of local vandalism with ‘negative campaigning.’ As I understand it a campaign is considered negative if it focuses on the bad parts of the opponent rather than the good parts of one’s own candidate.

    With that definition I don’t think negative campaigning is a problem at all. It’s just a form of marketing and it’s used by groups from World Vision (focusing on the horrors of global poverty) to the National Wildlife Foundation (which promotes ecology but mostly focuses on the people and institutions who threaten it).

    The problem is with unfair negative campaigning. When one candidate lies about the other or holds rallies attempting to create a fervor of dislike against the opponent there is nothing good that can come of it. You and many commenters are right in pointing out that it takes time to heal those kinds of wounds.

    But what’s a candidate to do when he or she attempts to run a clean campaign and then the other guy gets dirty? Nasty ads, while distasteful, are proven to work very well. He who takes the high road is bound to lose and the last thing we need is the nastiest person in the country to rise to the top. I think I like what Obama said about this topic just a couple days ago as it became clear that he’d been withholding plenty of negative ads that he chose not to run unless McCain went nasty. Obama said: “We don’t throw the first punch, but we’ll throw the last.”

  10. eugenecho says:

    @JDC: i understand. i do. i ran for middle school president and it got nasty.

    seriously, over the past few weeks, i’ve been just dying to hear one elected or appointed official say, “i’m not quite sure how this financial crisis came to pass but i want to apologize. i am one of the leaders of this country and i have failed you.” [preview of a future post].

    so, going back to obama in the context of your post, i just think it would have been really powerful had he said, “what mccain’s camp is saying and doing is false and wrong. he’s an american hero but these actions or ads are not heroic but cowardly because… we’ve chosen to not engage in negative ads but instead, we want to tell you what we’re about.”

    what do you think?

  11. Pat says:

    I’m not watching the next debate. You can’t pay me enough to do it (well, perhaps you could; email me to make an offer).

    But let’s be realistic here. The reason that both sides are going negative is that in today’s political climate, IT WORKS. Contemporary politicians will do what earns them votes; they’re not going negative because they want to bash the other guy/gal for the good ol’ fun of it. Obama’s early campaign tact of being positive and focusing on the future and on hope have been abandoned. McCain’s willingness to challenge his party and think outside the box have been abandoned.

    And it works because we eat it up. We love it. We love bashing Palin’s stubborn refusal to admit that she doesn’t know something; we love bashing Obama’s rhetoric without the record to back it up; we love bashing McCain’s anger management issues and frailty; we love bashing Biden’s esoteric oddballness.

    We also are a culture that loves to play the blame game. We don’t really care what’s wrong or how to fix it; we only really care who we can blame for it.

    And these debates and the ad campaigns for our two would-be heroes are calculated strikes against us, feeding us exactly what our itching ears demand to hear.

    Style over substance, baby! That’s what matters, right?

  12. […] campaigns have gotten increasingly more negative over the past week. Some say it is because McCain is slipping in the polls, some argue that this is […]

  13. g says:

    The “truth” of negative advertising via SNL humor:

  14. @eugene:

    I, too, would love to hear an honest apology from someone in charge. How strange that we forget the unifying power of humility. Most elected officials might predict they’d look weak or would be attacked by their opponents but I’m sure any apology would have a net positive effect and would endear them to their constituents for years.

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"He must become greater; I must become less." - John 3:30 We have to remind ourselves of this truth every day lest we forget:

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Sadly, I have witnessed this reality in too many places. ​In 2012, I traveled to a remote area in Eastern Kenya as part of a @onedayswages response to a famine that struck the Horn of Africa region. This famine impacted nearly 13 million people and according to some sources, took the lives of about 250,000 people. During my trip there, I had the chance of meeting many people but the person that still remains in my memory was a Muslim woman named Sahara.

She was so hospitable in inviting us to her small and temporary home. During our conversation, I learned that ​Sahara traveled 300 kilometers (a little under 200 miles) – some by cart and some by foot – as they sought to escape the worst drought that has impacted East Africa (Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia) in the past 60 years.

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