Well, we are in the midst of another political season, and my inbox is once again overflowing with pleas for contributions to this that or the other political hopeful. The rationale behind most requests is to fund their entry into their particular battle over the airwaves (or better today, cable, satellite or internet). If I am to believe the authors, their only effective remedy to counter the mudslinging of their opponent is to retaliate with mud of their own. Make that expensive mud, thank you very much, because TV ads aren’t cheap.
Having watched any number of such ads over the past 30+ years, I can’t help but think that by the time the mudslinging starts, the candidates are well known – why pay for expensive ads against an opponent who is generally unknown? So you can make him more well known??? At that point, it really is nothing more than a high priced pissing contest. John Mayer, the recording artist, once penned a song in which he asked: “Is there anyone who, can ever remember, changing their mind from, paint on a sign?”. Nope.
The scenario of a voter interested enough in politics to sit through a political ad, and at the end of which declaring “I think I’ll vote for him instead” is comically absurd. I have to guess that most voters, if they are interested, have long ago made up their minds, and those who aren’t will mostly vote along party lines. To that end, they mostly vote against, as it is easier to choose who you like the least rather than who you like the most, as most candidates give plenty of reasons for such.
I can see the effectiveness of a website, where position statements are there for all to see, to either critique or defend. I can see videos hosted on that site by their owners for all those who would rather watch and listen than read. Such an effort costs a pittance compared to TV ads. In this day and age of non-existent press ethics, why would anyone give an interview, only to be misquoted or have their words twisted all out of context? Then, in an effort to stop the bleeding, beg for money to use the same heavily biased media channels to counter the attack? All it makes me do is question the intelligence of the candidate pleading for donations.
I must confess that I have in the past given money to such causes. Inevitably, all that I have received from my contribution is direct mail, pleading for more donations. So in effect, all I have done is contribute to the solvency of the US Postal Service, and Kinkos.
My only consolation, is that soon, it will all be over, at least for a while, and browsing my inbox will not require wearing out my delete button.Tweet
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