I'm a political junkie. Generally, I live, eat and breathe politics, particularly in an election year. So why have I been conspicuously silent on the 2010 election? Maybe I'm losing my taste for it all. I used to accept the conventional wisdom that you go negative because negative works. Somehow, in this first year after the Supremes granted corporations superlative "equality" (companies are people, too?) in political involvement, the advertising just turned my stomach.
Here in Colorado, there were actually some media outlets to turn down the big bucks offered because the ads were, simply, lies. That indication that the media is beginning to look at the veracity of the ads offered encouraged me. That said, I still suspect my blood pressure rose at the tortuous twisting of truth and outright misstatement of fact that characterized far too many ads. I remember, back in the day when the rules changed, thinking that it was a bit silly that the candidate had to appear in his/her ad stating that they approved the ad. With the advent of 527 ads a few years ago, candidates lost control of what was said on their behalf. This year, the ads not produced by the campaigns seemed to outnumber the ads that included the "I'm so-and-so and I approved this ad" message. I'm also concerned that there is no way to know who paid for those ads and I am very upset by the rumors of foreign companies paying for the ads. I do not like the idea that foreign entities are influencing our elections.
If some TV stations choosing not to run some ads was encouraging to me, that the candidate who was most vocal about not running negative ads won was downright exciting. Had Governor-elect Hickenlooper not won, he would have been just one more reason for pundits to say that negative ads work. Hick's unique, witty and positive ads created a national stir with articles in some major newspapers across the country. I sincerely hope his positive campaign encourages other candidates to go positive.
There were only three candidates I was excited to support with my vote. You might guess that Hickenlooper was one of my favorites. I supported Senator Michael Bennet, not because I liked the negative ads when he had some great positive ads with his daughters, but because the ads against him angered me. The third candidate for whom I was proud to vote was a local Senate candidate, Katie Facchinello, the only candidate who has come to my door in 13 years. She was trying and General Assembly candidates where I live don't usually try very hard. The Republicans don't have to try because of the voter makeup of the area and the Democrats, when there are some, are candidates in name only.
It just was not a stellar election year. I would have been embarrassed if my foreign friends had been visiting to see this mess. If I am going to live, breathe and eat politics, there have to be more than three candidates for which I am proud to vote!