Sunday, August 22, 2004

Negative Campaigning

I hate to admit it, but I'm generally a nice guy. And being a nice guy, I like to see nice guys play nice, but rarely does one see a political campaign that plays nice all the time.

"It's a very strong and simple empirical fact," Mr. Goldstein said. "You can tinker with campaign finance laws all you want, but when you have competitive elections you get lots of advertising - and you get negative advertising." (NY Times - "Going Negative: When it Works," 8/22/04)

How do you all feel about negative campaigning? It's drawn recent attention with the Swift Boat ads and the response by dems and republicans (the Kerry team recently put out a great clip of McCain sticking it to Bush during the 2000 primaries. Shaula's got a link on her blog).

I've never felt bad voicing my complaint about the current administration, but I remember a lot of people criticizing democrats during the primaries because it seemed that all they did was focus on bashing Bush. Starting with the DNC it seemed that the Kerry-Edwards campaign wanted to keep things positive, but even Kerry is beginning to go on the offensive.

Do we live in an environment where negative campaigning can have a deleterious effect on a candidate, or will those swing voters who will be turned off by a smear ad be marginalized in the long run?