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CHRISTOPHER TAYLOR'S BOOKS

Monday, November 01, 2010

INSUBSTANTIAL DEMOCRATS

"I'm Joe Blow and although I've been in congress 8 terms, I'm not going to mention any of that or even the party I belong to. Boy, my opponent is a lunatic/criminal/slut/hypocrite, huh?"

Attack Ad
There's an interesting pattern this election cycle I wanted to highlight, I saw this on a lot of different sites, but it doesn't hurt to give it a little more coverage here. When you look at campaign strategies and advertising, there's a pretty distinct separation between Republican and Democrat candidates this year. Jonathan Karl at ABC News reports:
As you watch this year's ads -- and I've been watching all too many lately -- you'll notice a striking difference between Democratic and Republican attack ads: Democrats are attacking over personal issues, Republicans are attacking over policy.

There are, of course, many exceptions, but the overall trend is clear. Democrats are hitting their Republican opponents over past legal transgressions, shady business deals and even speeding tickets. Republicans are hammering Democrats over "Obamacare," Nancy Pelosi and the economy.

A recent study by the Wesleyan Media Project actually quantifies this. They looked at 900,000 airing of political ads this year and concluded: "Democrats are using personal attacks at much higher rates than Republicans and a much higher rate than Democrats in 2008."
Some of the attacks were just hilariously desperate, and often outright lies. And its more than just attacks versus substance. You almost never saw a Democrat running on their recent votes. When they mentioned record it was always something in the distant past or totally unrelated to recent actions by the Democrat majority in congress.

Nobody ran on ramming the Government Health Care Takeover act through congress, nobody ran on how great TARP was or how they voted for the "stimulus" package. When any substance or record was mentioned, it tended to be on how they bucked the Democrat leadership, voted with Republicans, reached across the aisle. Democrats went out of their way to try to portray themselves as being rebels and outsiders.

Meanwhile their challengers ran on what's going on now, how their opponents arrogantly ignored and even insulted the voters, and how radical the politicians in Washington DC have gotten. So we'll see how that works out in a few days. At the very least the political ads and calls will stop.

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