Yep, it’s “throw the bum out” time… another election season.
You see the signs. You see the attack ads. I hate it! It’s causing me to pay 3X for my TV ads because they’re being sucked up by McSally/Kelly.
Anybody remember “Daisy” back in the 60s? It was the infamous attack created by the Lyndon Johnson campaign in 1964 to defeat presidential candidate Barry Goldwater.
The ad opens with an innocent looking young girl plucking daisy petals in a field. Heartwarming. Then the camera zooms closer and closer until it submerges into the darkness of her right eye as a man with a deep voice starts a countdown to zero.
KABOOM! A massive nuclear explosion shatters the earth as Johnson’s voice emphatically proclaims, “These are the stakes, to make a world in which all of God’s children can live, or to go into the dark. We must either love each other, or we must die.”
The TV ad finishes: “Vote for President Johnson on November 3rd. The stakes are too high for you to stay home.”
It was shocking, disturbing… and effective. The implication was that if Goldwater was elected, he would start a nuclear war.
However… The ad was so immediately and widely criticized for suggesting that anyone would do something so horrible, it only ran once on September 7, 1964 during the NBC Monday Night Movie, David and Bathsheba.
Nevertheless, the Goldwater campaign couldn’t overcome the fear created by this TV ad, along with the prolific news reports and water cooler discussions that ensued after the commercial aired.
Remember the “too easy on criminals” ad campaign used by George Bush to defeat Michael Dukakis in 1988?
“Willie Horton” was the attack ad Bush ran touting his support of the death penalty for first degree murder. It depicted the gruesome story of Willie Horton, who committed heinous acts while on furlough. The ad ended with, “Weekend prison passes. Dukakis on crime.”
In Arizona we have a hotly contested race for the Senate between Republican Senator Martha McSally and her Democratic challenger, former astronaut, Mark Kelly. The attack ads have already started.
STAND BY YOUR AD
Because of the rampant proliferation of political attack ads with controversial and clearly false claims, the McCain-Feingold Act was passed in 2002, requiring political candidates to associate themselves with their television and radio ads, hopefully limiting (eliminating is too much to ask) the utter absence of truth.
This law forces candidates for federal office to state their name and in some form, acknowledge that they agree with the content of the ad. Subsequently, the Democrats tried to pass legislation that expanded the requirement to PACs, but the bill failed in the Senate.
So what happens when you approve an attack ad that turns out false? Based on what I’m seeing on TV, a lot of candidates are betting on a presidential pardon.
Just a quick refresher – The 116th United States Congress is the current legislative branch, composed of the Senate (100 members) and the House of Representatives (435 members). Senators elected to regular terms in 2014 are finishing their six year terms.
In the 2018 midterm elections, Republicans increased their majority in the Senate, and Democrats won a new majority in the House, making it a split Congress.
Right now Republicans hold 53 Senate seats, Democrats hold 45, and Independents caucusing with the Democratic Party hold two. Republicans will be defending 23 seats, while Democrats are only defending 12.
If Democrats gain a majority in the Senate, maintain a majority in the House, and win the presidency, it will be the first time since 2009-2011 that one party commands such dominant power.
Would this be good for America? I have my thoughts. I expect you do too. If it does happen, be assured one thing is true. In the words of Abraham Lincoln, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”
Could it be that the desire for power (running for office), then gaining power (winning office), then keeping power (maintaining office) is why our politicians can’t seem to find constructive paths forward?
Whether you are Republican, Democrat, Independent, or don’t care, I hope you agree that the political power-driven gridlocks, mudslinging, and inability to move forward in the best interest of this great country could ruin this great country.
This is Greg Hague, and I approve that message!
– Greg Hague