The Season for negative ads

From WaPo:

On the brink of what could be a power-shifting election, it is kitchen-sink time: Desperate candidates are throwing everything. While negative campaigning is a tradition in American politics, this year’s version in many races has an eccentric shade, filled with allegations of moral bankruptcy and sexual perversion.

At the same time, the growth of “independent expenditures” by national parties and other groups has allowed candidates to distance themselves from distasteful attacks on their opponents, while blogs and YouTube have provided free distribution networks for eye-catching hatchet jobs.

“When the news is bad, the ads tend to be negative,” said Shanto Iyengar, a Stanford professor who studies political advertising. “And the more negative the ad, the more likely it is to get free media coverage. So there’s a big incentive to go to the extremes.”

The result has been a carnival of ugly, especially on the GOP side, where operatives are trying to counter what polls show is a hostile political environment by casting opponents as fatally flawed characters. The National Republican Campaign Committee is spending more than 90 percent of its advertising budget on negative ads, according to GOP operatives, and the rest of the party seems to be following suit. A few examples of the “character issues” taking center stage two weeks before Election Day:

  • In New York, the NRCC ran an ad accusing Democratic House candidate Michael A. Arcuri, a district attorney, of using taxpayer dollars for phone sex. “Hi, sexy,” a dancing woman purrs. “You’ve reached the live, one-on-one fantasy line.” It turns out that one of Arcuri’s aides had tried to call the state Division of Criminal Justice, which had a number that was almost identical to that of a porn line. The misdial cost taxpayers $1.25.
  • The Republican Party of Wisconsin distributed a mailing linking Democratic House candidate Steve Kagen to a convicted serial killer and child rapist. The supposed connection: The “bloodthirsty” attorney for the killer had also done legal work for Kagen.
  • In the most controversial recent ad, the Republican National Committee slammed Rep. Harold E. Ford Jr. (D-Tenn.) for attending a Playboy-sponsored Super Bowl party. In the ad, a scantily clad white actress winks as she reminisces about good times with Ford, who is black. That ad has been pulled, but the RNC has a new one saying Ford “wants to give the abortion pill to schoolchildren.”

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You know these guys make me sick. 

Goodbye Kitties ….

Detroit kitties that is. Cards take game 5 to win their 10th World Series title in club history. (2nd behind the Yankees and their 26….aarrgghh, we hate the Yankees)(but I digress)

Any World Series is worth watching in my book, but the lasting memories from this one are going to be about how poorly the Tigers played defense. Eight errors in five games, including five by their pitchers. Those five miscues by the pitchers led to eight unearned runs over the series. The Tigers only managed to push across eleven runs of their own in the five games and gave up almost that many as gifts. No wonder the Cardinals were able to win without hitting the lights out.

The Cards stumbled into the postseason with the second-lowest winning percentage ever to make the playoffs. They got past the Padres and the Mets on the strength of Chris Carpenter and improbable performances by Jeff Weaver and Jeff Suppan. They were carried into the World Series by the miraculous ninth inning wonderblast from ?Yadier Molina? Yes, I had to rub my eyes in disbelief as well. Yes, that Yadier Molina. The one with a season batting average of .216 and a career total of 16 home runs spread out over three years. That Yadier Molina.

And there they were, going into the World Series as underdogs in almost everybody’s books, but I guess that’s why they play the games. Hardly a classic among post-season classics, but every World Series is interesting in its own little ways.

Well, now there’s only about 155 more days to go until Opening Day ’07. But only about 124 until Spring Training begins. And only 38 until the winter trade meetings begin. OK, I guess I can live with that. Suffice it to say that baseball remains my #1 sport of obsession. Maybe I can get some work done over the next few months. Hmmm, maybe after the elections.