Thursday, December 18, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Voters share blame for negative campaigns

By
From page A13 | November 07, 2012 |

America’s Great Electoral Marathon of 2012 ended with the venerated vox populi – the voice of the people – reverberating louder and clearer than ever: “Please lie to me!”

Candidates discovered this year that they’d pay no penalty for campaign lies, distortions and deceptions. Because that’s what people want to hear – as long as it’s about politicians we love to hate. Too many of us prefer to get what we call news from blogs, tweets and cable news channels that pander to partisans to get ratings.

Campaign 2012 just set a new record for campaign ad negativity. Lies abound. Distortion is the norm; deception an art form. Accuracy is as rare as a found artifact. According to a Wesleyan Media Project study, 86 percent of President Barack Obama’s ads and 79 percent of Mitt Romney’s ads were negative. (That’s a big increase from 2008, when Obama and John McCain spent 69 percent of their ad budgets on negative ads; and 2004, when George W. Bush and John Kerry spent 58 percent on negative ads.)

So there are multiple lessons we must learn about the shortcomings and failures of all the players: the politicos, the journalists who cover them, and the people (see also: voters) who encourage and even implore candidates to do what we used to deplore.

First, let’s review the lowlights of the campaign’s biggest whoppers, distortions and deceptions.

Especially, the Republican demonization of “Obamacare”: This carefully conceived deceit began when conservative schemers successfully conned frustrated and easily manipulated folks who flocked to tea party rallies by denouncing as liberal the mandate that all must buy health insurance.

But the media glossed over this truth: The health care mandate was an idea incubated in the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank in the Clinton years as a Republican alternative to the liberal’s desire for a single-payer government program. Conservative Republicans embraced it. Romney used it for his Massachusetts health plan.

Obama, who had opposed the mandate, reluctantly accepted it to appeal to Republicans – it was the only way even Romney could assure that no one could be rejected for a pre-existing condition. Then, like a precision drill team, congressional Republicans unanimously about-faced and attacked Obama’s mandate as a liberal evil. Their audiences cheered, ignorant of the fact that their conservative heroes had championed the mandate. They just loved to hate anything tied to Obama.

Meanwhile, Obama’s Democratic ad makers did their own distorting as they cherry-picked hundreds of transactions by Romney’s Bain Capital private equity company. Democrats magnified outcomes that closed plants and cut jobs. They of course ignored those that created famous companies, such as Staples, The Sports Authority and Burger King.

Campaign 2012 ended with a national security controversy in which Team Romney didn’t have to take the lead, because Fox News Channel was on the case. Famous for sometimes mixing right-wing invective with its journalism, Fox raised valid questions about the killing of U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens in an attack on the consulate at Benghazi. And the White House failed to put out facts promptly about what it knew and why Obama and others asserted it might have started as a protest about an anti-Muslim video that spun out of control. Republicans pounced and denounced.

But lost in that was that for days after the attack, Obama’s daily CIA intelligence briefers had told him it could have begun as a protest – but it turned out there wasn’t one at the consulate. Republicans kept blasting Obama and never criticized the official responsible for that intelligence: their longtime hero, CIA director and retired Gen. David Petraeus.

Then Fox aired what appeared to be a big scoop: that when the attack began, CIA agents nearby requested permission to try to save the ambassador but were ordered to stand down. Republicans rushed to blast Obama. The Fox scoop had a big hole in it: The CIA explained it told its team to wait – just 20 minutes – to coordinate with a Libyan militia patrolling the consulate. Soon CIA agents were on their way. Sadly, the effort failed.

It is easy to now read all this and denounce those who are way too eager to hate those on the other side. We like to say we aren’t like that. But wait: How often have you passed along gleefully an emailed Internet political accusation filled with invective and based on distortion or a downright lie?

And when was the last time your newspaper or television news made clear in a page one headline or prime-time TV report that a candidate’s TV ad seen by millions was a blatant distortion?

Candidates will never stop lying, distorting or deceiving until we all do our jobs – and make sure they pay a penalty when they try to con their way to victory.

Martin Schram writes political analysis for Scripps Howard News Service. Email martin.schram@gmail.com.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Recent Articles

  • Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • .

    Solano News

    Solano College trustees move back ‘home’

    By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Needs of small dog give Solano man life’s mission

    By Ian Thompson | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

     
    Christmas comes early for prenatal program participants

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2 | Gallery

    Police chief: Suisun crime up 3 percent in 2014

    By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Council OKs $65,730 pact to advocate for Travis base

    By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

     
    Fairfield pays $42,500 to settle soil suit

    By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

    Jury convicts teen for role in 2012 DeBartolo’s heist

    By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Cellphone theft in Fairfield prompts police search

    By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

    Police arrest Vacaville man after alleged attack on business owner

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
     
    Suisun City police log: Dec. 16, 2014

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

    Suisun City police log: Dec. 15, 2014

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

     
    Fairfield police log: Dec. 16, 2014

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

    Fairfield police log: Dec. 15, 2014

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

     
    .

    US / World

    Like Iran, secret diplomacy leads to US-Cuba thaw

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

     
    Pope played crucial role in US-Cuba rapprochement

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

    US travel industry carefully eyeing Cuba tourism

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

     
    US-Cuba thaw could benefit farmers, energy and travel firms

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

    Cubans cheer historic renewal of US relations

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

     
    Freed American endured years of declining health

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

    US, Cuba patch torn relations in historic accord

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

     
    Fears fanned by hackers bring down Sony film

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

     
    Bay Bridge light sculpture to keep on shining

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

    Study: Huge wildfire supports need for controlled burns

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    A fresh setback for efforts to cure HIV infection

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    14 charged in deadly 2012 meningitis outbreak

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    Study: Alcatraz inmates could have survived escape

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    Nigerian court sentences 54 soldiers to death

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

     
    Colombian rebels announce unilateral cease-fire

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

    Russians flock to stores to pre-empt price rises

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

     
    Pakistan buries victims of school massacre

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

    .

    Opinion

    Editorial Cartoons: Dec. 18, 2014

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

     
    Crime Witness Protocol 101

    By Kelvin Wade | From Page: A7

     
    Asia needs to prepare for a possible China crash

    By William Pesek | From Page: A7

    Tortured roots of enhanced interrogations

    By Walter Pincus | From Page: A7

     
    .

    Living

    Today in History: Dec. 18, 2014

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Community Calendar: Dec. 18, 2014

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

    Horoscopes: Dec. 18, 2014

    By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

     
    My siblings don’t want to replace abusive mother’s pacemaker

    By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

    .

    Entertainment

    25 movies chosen for the National Film Registry

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

     
    Saving Private Ryan’ among films being preserved

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

    TVGrid

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

     
    .

    Sports

    Falcons cruise by crushers in girls basketball

    By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    49ers release McDonald amid further legal trouble

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

    Carr faces another tough test in rookie season

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

     
    For MLB, changes in Cuba will take time to sort out

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

    Chattanooga women stun No. 7 Stanford 54-46

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

     
    Track coach Drummond gets 8-year doping suspension

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Warriors’ Bogut out with knee injury vs. Thunder

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    AP source: Romo close to $15M, 2-year deal with Giants

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Baseball monitoring White House Cuba decision

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    APNewsBreak: Judge rejects NCAA concussions deal

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Painkillers lawsuit against NFL dismissed; may be appealed

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Garcia resigns as FIFA prosecutor

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    This date in sports history for Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

     
    .

    Business

    McDonald’s in Japan limits orders of fries

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

     
    Amid scrutiny, Uber says it will focus more on safety

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

    Health care exchange sign-ups exceeding last year

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

     
    Fed to be ‘patient’ about a rate hike; stocks soar

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

    .

    Obituaries

    Patricia “Pat” Anne Stringfield-Pierre

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

     
    Marian L. “Chicki” Downs

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

    Ernest “Ernie” Moretti

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

     
    Jennie Ponce Reyes

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

    .

    Comics

    Sally Forth

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Garfield

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Peanuts

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Dilbert

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Get Fuzzy

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    For Better or Worse

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    B.C.

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Rose is Rose

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Blondie

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Pickles

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Baldo

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Baby Blues

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Wizard of Id

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Beetle Bailey

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Frank and Ernest

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Zits

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Cryptoquote

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

     
    Sudoku

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

    Bridge

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

     
    Word Sleuth

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

    Crossword

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9