Negative campaigning reached a new low over the weekend on ABC’s “This Week” thanks to Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. Using the narrative that the GOP’s Mitt Romney has been an astute businessman, Jindal accused President Obama of having “never run a business, never run anything -- including a lemonade stand” before the White House.
If Gov. Jindal is among those who believe President Obama was born in Hawaii –- and not somewhere overseas where Romney might stash money -- this is a risky charge. It’s hot in Hawaii. It seems plausible the future president and some friends may have set up a lemonade stand. Has the president been asked about this and admitted that was not the case?
Perhaps a newly fair-minded Donald Trump could investigate.
This is great stuff. Negative campaigning -- Democrats wondering about Romney's Swiss bank accounts, Republicans suggesting Obamacare is a socialist plot -- needs to be embraced. Bring on the super-PAC-ing, swift-boating, he’ll-tax-you-into-oblivion ads from both sides.
The ads need to be appreciated for their skilfull use of outrageous claims and truth-stretching. t’s ludicrous that with all the country’s troubles, there are enough people and entities willing to give candidates multibillions of dollars to slug it out, but since that’s inevitable, enjoy the slugfest.
This is not to say, of course, the presidential race is all one big game. Obviously, there are serious choices before the country. The massive difference between politics and policy needs to be pointed out more. The most erudite TV commentators focus too much on the former.
But a narrative needs to be advanced that negative political ads are more entertainment than substance. The media could help the republic by taking that approach. Cable networks, notably CNN, try to point out the falsities and exaggerations, but more needs to be done. End the segments with: "It's all just entertainment. Enjoy it."
The old adage is that negative campaigning works. It’s time the American people realize the statement is an insult to them. With the Internet, the citizenry should work harder to gather information to help them make a more informed, sober evaluation of the candidates (and laugh at the attack ads in the process.)
Laughter brings people together, so the amusement could carry some needed bipartisanship. Those who believe Romney’s economic policies could turn lemons into lemonade, and those supporting a president who allegedly never ran a lemonade stand, should join together before they vote differently. Laughter may be the best medicine to at least try to persuade politicians that attack ads provide entertainment -- not education.