Sunday, October 05, 2008

Get Ready for Negative Campaigning In October

McCain's campaign recently announced that they will get tough on Obama regarding his past associations and voting record. As an example, here is Palin in Colorado:
Our opponent, though, is someone who sees America it seems as being so imperfect, imperfect enough that he's palling around with terrorists who would rather target their own country. Americans need to know this. ... We gotta start telling people what the other side represents.
Paul at Powerline has this to say:
As John notes below, the McCain camp has decided to get tougher on Barack Obama down the stretch of this campaign. In the Washington Post's report on this story, Michael Shear contends that "being so aggressive has risks for McCain if it angers swing voters, who often say they are looking for candidates who offer a positive message about what they will do."

But the Obama campaign went brutally negative on McCain last month when Obama briefly fell behind. Even Shear notes (if you read far enough) that "Obama has run television commercials for months linking McCain to lobbyists and hinting at a lack of personal ethics." These ads have not hurt Obama. Thus, if swing voters reject negativity from McCain, it won't be because they want a positive message, it will be because, under the circumstances, they want to vote for Obama.
ABC News is reporting that in response, Obama's campaign will be starting preemptive attacks on McCain starting Monday.
The Obama campaign plans on taking [McCain adviser] Strimple's expressed desire to "turn...a page on this financial crisis" against McCain, to characterize all attacks on Obama as desperation to change the subject.
So if you love to be bombarded with negative campaign ads, get ready for a fun October. I've seen my fair share of negative ads already--it will be interesting to see how the public responds, especially with both sides participating.

While I'm not a big fan of negative campaigning in the current climate, I'm not sure McCain has much choice. The media isn't just biased for Obama--it is refusing to report or even investigate anything that might potentially hurt his campaign. Given that the media has failed in one of its primary functions, McCain has no choice but to become his own media in order to bring some facts to light.

Clearly, this is not as effective as it would be if an "unbiased" third-party were to do it. People will naturally be skeptical of what one candidate says about another. This is why the media being in the tank for Obama is so effective. Years from now, hopefully people will be able to look back and see how dangerous it is for the public media to blatantly try to elect one person President. But for the moment, the country has its blinders on and the media is taking full advantage of it.

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