Backlash Against Dirty Politics

One aspect of Obama’s campaign which I’ve particularly appreciated has been how he has avoided the negative campaigning seen in recent years. While Clinton has resorted to a campaign largely based upon distorting Obama’s statements and positions, Obama has kept it clean. The result has been a string of victories and a significant lead in the race. Clinton tried once again to resort to a bogus smear during this week’s debate and wound up getting booed. Could this be the end of negative campaigning? McClatchy has also noticed this trend:

WASHINGTON — Hillary Clinton apparently thought that she had a killer sound bite during Thursday’s debate when she ripped Barack Obama as a promoter of “change your can Xerox.”

Instead, the audience booed, critics winced and once again the New York senator’s attempt to demonize her rival fell flat, another illustration of how 2008, at least so far, is the year that negative campaigning just doesn’t work as it once did.

“It looks like people are just burned out on that stuff,” said Peter W. Schramm, the executive director of the Ashbrook Center for Public Affairs in Ohio.

In state after state, voters said they moved from Clinton to Obama — or, on the Republican side, from Mitt Romney to John McCain or Mike Huckabee — partly because they were tired of what seemed like politics as usual.

“What Hillary Clinton says just seems like dirty politics. Obama offers a very positive message,” said Roshay Malone, a Milwaukee child-care business owner.

“Clinton’s just too polarizing. Obama is able to inject some enthusiasm into the process,” added Bryan Hale, a land surveyor from Smithsburg, Md.

Analysts warn that the campaign still could turn on negatives, should a major scandal erupt. And the rules are likely to change in the general election, which will pit candidates at largely opposite ideological poles against each other.

The article proceeds to provide a list of reasons why negative campaigns no longer work as they have in the past. Hopefully this comes down to voters now being smarter and not blindly accepting these types of attacks. In addition, I hope voters will see it as a negative to campaign in this manner, ultimately punishing candidates such as Clinton who resort to this type of dirty politics. As one television news consultant put it, “There just may be a backlash this year against this kind of stuff.” I hope this backlash continues.

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2 Comments

  1. 1
    Eric Dondero says:

    Obama saves his disdain for the US Military. He bashes the War in Iraq on a daily basis, thereby spitting on the brave men and women who are fighting Al Qaeda in Iraq, and Afghanistan.

    He should be ashamed.

    Eric Dondero – USN (hon.)

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    History has shown that Obama was right in opposing this war from the start. The best thing which could have been for the men in the military would have been to prevent them from winding up in the middle of a civil war.

    If they were to be sent to Iraq, they should at least be given adequate supplies and adequate health care. Notice that it is Obama who has stood up for these things, while the Republicans you worship have been in opposition?

    There’s good reason why the bulk of contributions from people in the military have gone to Barack Obama and Ron Paul–the two anti-war candidates in the race.

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