Enough Already!

Bill Neinast


Enough already!  Wading through knee-high mud for six months will tax even the most fit athlete.

Half a year, at least, is how long American voters have had to wade through muddy political campaigns. 

The first mud was thrown in the Republican campaign for the presidential nomination.  Initially, the mud slingers were the class warriors.  Of those seeking the Republican nod, Herman Cain was considered the most serious threat to President Obama’s reelection.  For that reason, he had to be destroyed.

Dalliances in the White House are reserved for class warriors like Bill Clinton.  So the voters had to be shown that Herman Cain likes women other than his wife.  To do this, just spread some chum around Chicago, the Citadel of honest politics. Some will probably surface to claim that Herman Cain is a dirty old man.  And they did.

Voila!, it worked.  Herman Cain bowed out of the race and went on the talk show circuit.  This left the field wide open for the Republican candidates to slash and burn among themselves.  They rose to the occasion.

The race then became one to see which of the candidates was not “conservative” enough.  Put another way, who could promise or deliver most to the extreme right?  Which one would be the most stern master of others’ bedrooms and guard most closely the marital altar against insurgents?  Any deviation from that straight and narrow road meant failure at the polls.

Mitt Romney survived all the internal ambushes and finally stood alone as the Republicans’ “presumptive nominee” for president.  As he rose from the fray, he looked almost as formidable as Herman Cain.  A handsome, strictly religious, faithful husband who was a self-made millionaire with a wealth of business and managerial experiences could not be allowed to enter the race for president without blemishes.

Before the move to tarnish an unblemished reputation began, however, Texas voters had their own travails.  Because of the redistricting fiasco, the state had a prolonged primary season.  When the dust finally settled and the primaries were held, one significant runoff primary remained.

That is when the Texas mud slinging began.  Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst, in his run-off race against Ted Cruz to replace Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, became particularly vicious.

The Dewhurst ads pushed me over the fence to support Cruz.  His ads criticizing Cruz for doing what lawyers do, that is represent to the best of their abilities their clients, were bad enough.  His ad, however, with a woman blaming Cruz’ action in a trial for her son’s suicide, was way too much. 

Apparently, I was not the only one with that opinion.  Ted Cruz is now the Republican nominee for senator.

As the Texas political mud began to dry, it reemerged in a more virulent form on the national stage.  A Super PAC ad put together by a former Obama aide went viral on the internet and bled over to TV news where it is running without the sponsors having to buy ad time.

This is an ad with a man telling the sad story about his wife dying of cancer because Bain Capital, a Romney creation, closed the plant where the man worked.  News media of all types have proved that the only part of this ad that is true is that the man’s wife died of cancer.

Several months ago, another Super PAC considered playing an ad reminding voters of President Obama’s connection with Reverend Wright and his hate America sermons.  When that possibility surfaced, White House spokesman Jay Carney went ballistic.  He suggested strongly that the Republican party repudiate such scurrilous demagoguery and the ad never developed.

Today, however, when Carney is asked whether the White House will repudiate the false ad about the worker’s dead wife, he waffles and refuses to condemn it.

Not nearly so bad as the dead woman ad, but one that is troublesome because it does not tell the whole truth is the class warrior ad that Romney made 20 million dollars last year but paid only 14% in taxes.  The ad notes that the 14% rate is lower than that of the average tax payer.

What the ad does not say, however, is that Romney actually paid 2.8 million dollars in taxes, which is more than the combined salaries and taxes of dozens of the taxpayers who paid no or little taxes.

The ad does not mention, either, that Romney gave 7 million dollars to charity in the last two years.  How much did Obama give?

So here’s the perspective.

This is the worst year for dirty, disgusting political ads in recent decades.  That leaves two disturbing conclusions.

First, dirty ads apparently are effective.  They are not cheap.  The continual flood of the airwaves with such garbage, therefore, indicates that those who are paying the ad bills have ample research and proof that they produce results.

Second, and more troubling, is what the ads say about voters. As they produce results, they motivate the lowest common denominator--the one who will gobble without question things like the lie that Romney caused the death of a worker’s wife and paid taxes at a lower rate than he, the voter, did.

That is a sad commentary that means the rest of us will have to endure the vile and bile for almost another three months and hope that we outnumber the gullible among us.


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