Negativity In Political Campaigns – Our Role Models For Bad Manners

When the people who represent us do so in bad taste and with terrible manners, I’d like to send them to their rooms without dinner. Why don’t they understand that this childish name-calling and mud-slinging does more damage to their own reputations than to their opponent. Being mean just makes you look mean.

It Has Already Begun
The presidential ad campaign has begun with commercials already airing in a few states. Instead of highlighting why we should vote for a candidate, they are already busy telling us why the other guy is no good. Of course negative advertising works, or they wouldn’t use it. Just because both sides are doing it, doesn’t make it right. It should go beyond trying to beat an opponent at any cost, it should be about showing the voters who is the better person.
Ideally, I’d like for an incumbent to simply say, “I’d like to keep my job and continue the work I’m doing.” Then he should put his head down and continue to do the work, ignoring the race completely. No amount of advertising or campaigning against his opponent will go as far in winning my vote as will his steadfast refusal to waste time and money running a wildly expensive campaign.

Even The Money Is Rude
The amount of money spent on election campaigns is absurd, but also immoral. To waste hundreds of millions of dollars on smear campaigns is beyond rude in a country where people are hungry, where health care is still out of reach to many, and the education budget is dismal. In 2008 Obama’s campaign spent $244 million on ads. How is this even possible? Romney and Obama have already been going at it on Twitter, or at least their advisers have been. Blasting comments and photos, generating a lot of buzz around their mini confrontations. At least a Twitter campaign is free.
Experts say that the negative ads work better than a positive one extolling the virtues of the candidate.  This is because we have to process the negative ad differently. We have to think about the implied comparison between the candidates and the message is more likely to stick.

The Super PACs Play Their Part
The Political Action Committees are the surrogates who can really get down and dirty while representing their candidates. This is where the really big money is generated for the campaigns. Ever since candidates were allowed to opt out of public funding for their election campaigns. American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS who are supporting Romney in this race, have promised $300 million to be spent on attack ads against Obama.

Our Representatives
We need to remind these people that they work for us, not just for the big businesses that finance their races. They need to be accountable as human beings and show respect for one another. Especially when smear campaigns get personal about a candidates family. That’s when I’d really like to break out the bar of soap and start washing some filthy mouths! How can we expect our children to be respectful and polite to one another when the leaders of the country can be so vile to one another? Leaders must lead by example. Who is a bigger role model than a President? It is a huge responsibility, one that they need to take seriously all the time. It’s not ok to let manners slide just because it’s an election year!


Mark Weatherford is a high school English teacher and proud American who follows politics quite closely. He also prints out current events for his classes to read to ensure they are well-informed and when he does so he uses APPi printing to save time and money.

Photo Credit: jvumn