Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The latest degeneration

By Bill Kraus

Despite widespread agreement on the deleterious effects of money in politics, we have a long history of not doing much about all the things we complain about.

The mostly shameful Republican primary is behind us.

Unfortunately it has left a trail of personalization of political campaigns that shows no signs of going away.

The high-tempo partisans have always advocated smash mouth campaigns. When their favorites lose, they attribute the loss to what in a normal world would be regarded as reasonableness.

The reigning wisdom is attack, attack, attack.

This tells us something about those who are shaping campaigns these days and what those shapers think of the discernment of those whose votes they seek.

Within the last week yet another idiot billionaire announced a plan for a guilt-by-association campaign to prove that Obama is joined at the hip to a long since discredited rabid preacher.

The Republican hyper partisans are no doubt lamenting the Romney campaign’s distancing their candidate from the idea and the billionaire.

In the same paper Vice President Joe Biden mounted an attack on Romney’s business history. The assumption is that Joe doesn’t know how that high risk business works or that the voters don’t.

The 14 Dems who went to Rockford on a quorum trick journey may never recover. This perhaps uncalled for expedition has been elevated to treasonous levels in this demonization era.

In Wisconsin the gubernatorial candidates are squabbling about who is using the most deceptive numbers about jobs in Milwaukee and Wisconsin.

Recall campaigns by their nature are attack driven. They are rehashes of what are regarded by one side or the other of past mistakes and votes.

Anyone looking for ideas about dealing with any of the confounding problems confronting us is not likely to find them in the stump speeches, the literature, or, most certainly, the TV ads of most current campaigns.

Most of the campaign spending driven by the reigning wisdom is devoted to characterizing opponents in the most unflattering and repelling terms available.

I understand that politics isn’t bean bag but it needn’t be WWIII either, where the voter’s choice devolves to the least bad. This is no way to pick leaders.

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Bill Kraus is the Co-Chair of Common Cause in Wisconsin's State Governing Board

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