When political campaigning gets dirty

Aaron Sanders
Staff Writer

We’ve all seen them before: the melancholy political ads disavowing another candidates’ agenda or perhaps the candidate themselves. The frequency of these negative campaigns are increasing as we head into the last month of the presidential race of 2012. Super-pacs and interest groups are mobilizing corporations to donate to the political machine so the ads can continue. But do these nasty ads have any credibility? No, they do not.
The Restore Our Future pac has relentlessly broadcast negative campaign ads blasting the president and former Republican nominees during the G.O.P primaries. In fact, Newt Gingrich was angry that Restore Our Future and other pacs have attacked his record and personal life and he appealed to the American people after his record had been so brutally tarnished by the machine.
Both Obama and Romney have increased their evil campaign tactics. For Obama, it is unconventional because in the last election he decided to run his campaign on ethics and values – attacking the opposition was never employed in his 2008 presidential victory. In the 2012 election President Obama sensed that he had to launch more vehement ads spotlighting inconsistencies in Romney’s record. Time will tell if these ads will help the Obama administration or not.
Romney is no stranger to the game of dirty politics. He has a slight advantage in the realm of super-pac spending. Moreover, he has accepted endorsement from Restore Our Future, who has done nothing but portrayed the President as an incompetent leader.
Personally, I am dispirited by the unusual amount of negative ads.  The elections are supposed to reveal facts and polished platforms. Delving into a candidates’ past may be necessary but history should not be distorted. There is no transparency in the 2012 election and Americans often extract information from political commercials. The average citizen has no interest in researching the truth of political claims made. I believe that this campaign is playing on the fears of Americans on both sides of the isle.
Fortunately, there are sources that allow us to get the facts correct. Factcheck.org is a non-partisan organization that reports and corrects claims and arguments made by both candidates. Realclearpolitics.com also diverts from the partisan campaign methods and gives you an impartial assessment of both candidates. Sources like these are important because they allow us to research what we hear on TV.  Both sites hold the candidates accountable for information they report as fact. It is imperative that we utilize these independent sources.
The elections should not be won on distortions, half truths, or lies. Vote with an understanding of the facts. The next political advertisement you see, analyze with cynicism and take its worth at face value.
Ultimately, there are no ethics in negative campaigning.  Money is central to the practice.  When pacs and campaign committees advertise the shortcomings of their opposition, we should investigate if the claims are factual or downright biased and distorted.
Millions of dollars are sent to states and networks who air these pathetic ads, so logically we cannot expect this to stop if there is an economic component (which there is). A billion dollars have been spent during this collection. At least 65 million dollars have been spent by non-profit groups that don’t have to register with the Federal Election Comission.