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Dirty Politics or Necessary Evil?

“Just when you thought we had enough videotape about him firing people, he gives you one more,” Mr. Burton, who leads a political action committee backing the president, said before laughing.

Obama Campaign on Lookout for Romney Flubs – NYTimes.com

Nate Beeler, The Washington Examiner

Nate Beeler, The Washington Examiner

Somewhere Over Louisiana…

What do you think about this practice?  Is it simply a new spin in our modern times on politics as usual or something more? How about historically, have campaigns always been steeped in negativity? (good opportunity for a citation)   What type of effect does this focus on error and gaffe do to our collective consciousness?  Do stories like this make you less likely to engage in the political process or not really?

What about the impact of this behavior on the Romney campaign?  Is this a politically “responsible” thing to do for the Obama campaign?  I wonder (hint, hint…citation) if there are any studies out there about the effects of negative campaigning?  Do those findings make sense to you?

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16 comments on “Dirty Politics or Necessary Evil?

  1. Stephanie Nissani
    February 6, 2012

    Negative campaign? I would have to say George W. Bush. He was horrible.Sadly, I honestly don’t think that there are any good candidates for the 2012 presidential elections. Stories and incidents like those, make a person, or at least me, want to be more involved in politics for two reasons. 1. Maybe to “prevent” some type of government corruption in the sense of making a change, 2. Just like the Socrates, I rather speak up before “I die”, I rather say something and express my ideas and thoughts and not be let down and shut down by fear, because you never know what kind of impact you can do or say with your words or actions. The error is that we should have a president that is sensitive to all “caste systems” such as poor, middle class, rich, or whatever. Mr. Woodhouse even says that it’s the biggest mistake to say what he said in his position, “it was a two-fer! first, it was just the most incredibly insensitive thing that someone in his position could say and second, he gave us an opening to go after his record on the middle class” HA! Good luck finding a normal politician out there during these times. Speaking on political error.
    Romney

  2. Jillian Wood (@JillianMWood)
    February 6, 2012

    Slander never reflects well on anyone, except when making a shallow comparison. It is political bullying: bringing down another politician to make yourself look better, and while it may momentarily aim the voter’s focus on another candidate’s errors, it displays weakness on those who are dishing the dirt, and many voters recognize that. While it may look good in comparison that Obama’s dog gets to ride around with him first class while Romney’s dog cruises strapped on top of his car, it is not relevant to the bigger issues our country is facing. Candidates should get the voters’ attention through more positive means. A good candidate should not have to highlight another’s faults, but shine on his/her own by showing the voters how he/she will bring about positive change if elected.

  3. Roman Wright
    February 7, 2012

    I feel like it can be nessary sometimes. Being a former athlete i feel like you some times you have to talk dirty shoots at people. It knocks your opponent of balance and it gives you time to catch your breathe or to catch up to them. In President Obama’s case it throws his opponent off because he is focused on other things right now? Plus I think the president thinks Romney is going win for the GOP. So he is getting a head start for the election. In this article it talks about Jimmy Carter’s negative campiagn tactics against Jerry Ford. Ford had started dating his wife Betty was divorce from her exhusband. By Jimmy Carter doing this it helped him the election that year. I think if your going to run for any polictical position you have to make sure you have no skeletons in the closet or no major ones. The reason why is your opponent will take advantage of it. I don’t think i could be in polictics its a real dirty game. I really don’t think President Obama has to do negative campiagning against Romney because of the things he has said to the media. Like he isn’t worried about very poor people. Thats shooting your self in the foot but i guess President Obama wanted to add more damage. This article claims the negative campiagns sky rocketed in 2006. This tactic to me only makes sense to use it when you are really behind in the poles.

  4. Leban Arreh
    February 8, 2012

    In all honesty i think the practice is unfair and it gives a certain group an advantage over the other and thats politics. I think with the interaction with the media and online it is making this practice more and more common in everyday politics. In the last election in 2008 it was recorded that Obama ran the most negative ads on television in history and it seems he might top that record in this years campaign Startribune . Having these kinds of tactics has a big effect on us as humans because most of us get our information from the web or the t.v. A story like this will have me less engage in the political process because there are opponents out there just watching my every move and waiting for me to slip up and use that big mess up to define my candidacy. This will have a big impact on Romney’s campaign because statements like that can mislead anyone and could be a crucial decision on picking him come election time. Though it may be irresponsible for Obamas campaign to do this but they have no other choice because Mitt is a big threat to the Democratic party. There have been studies made about the effects of negative campaigning. From the findings I saw yes it did make sense to be.

  5. Kenny D. Nguyen
    February 9, 2012

    Using negative advertising is just plain dirty. The majority of the time, the person making the ads tend to twist the wording which cause them to look far worst than what people should think about the situation. According to this study , more than half of the people watching negative ads believe they are being twisted, a bunch of lies, purposely made to just make fun of the candidate, or are just concern of how personal the ads is. Another thing candidates should consider is that sometimes making these ads only hurts your chance of winning because people will start to believe you’re the real villain than the person you’re trying to hurt. However, there are cases where it can change the minds of the voter where they weren’t aware of the things that candidate have done. When i see Obama constantly attacking Romney with these negative campaigns, it makes me less interested in politics because all he is mainly doing is just bullying Romney with things that happened in the past. Technically, some of the things they said in those campaign were twisted up to make it seem much worst than it was suppose to be.

    I understand that negative campaigning can benefit the candidate by throwing their opponent off their “game” with stress. But negative campaign isn’t all that great. I believe negative ads only effect those who aren’t politically educated on the candidates where they will basically believe anything that is being said by a ad, as stated in this study. I believe positive campaign ads are more effective than negative because it only help yourself instead of making yourself look like the bad guy that is bullying opponents through their past. Leaving a positive impression on the voters will provide better results than showing them twisted-up ads that we will never know whether or not they are true or not.

  6. Wesley Davis
    February 9, 2012

    This is how politics play now. Its all about campaigning then the real purpose of leading this country. I don’t support this practice but it is now grain in America. It will happen no matter what. I found in an article that dirty politics has been happening sense the days of our founding fathers. Thomas Jefferson called John Adams out in the 1800 election. Jefferson said “hideous hermaphroditical character, which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman.” So this dirty game has been going on for a long time. This makes a negitve focus on the canidate on who is being called out because it is negitive. Its hard to tell if this will make me less active in voting, depends on how dirty it gets and how much is true. Thomas Jefferson had said dirty things, no reason why Obama cant do it to .

    foundingfatherdirty

  7. Christina Asik
    February 9, 2012

    I think it is simply a new spin in our modern times on politics as usual. This practice is just showing the true Romney which is making Obama look way better than him. If Romney shows no concern for the poor, then he will lose more than 50% of his votes. Campaigns have always been steeped in negativity. For example, most presidents are criticized for playing golf during America’s crisis. Golfing Presidents These kinds of issues effect people about what they think about their president believing that the president does not care about the citizens at all. Stories such as the golfing issue does make me less likely to engage in the political process because I say to myself, “why should I vote for someone who is just going to play golf all the time.”
    Romney’s behavior is going to to impact his campaign greatly because it will decrease the votes he had from people who care for the poor. To increase Obama’s votes in the next campaign, he should show the people of how he is going to change America for the good.

  8. Annette Santiago (@ASanti23)
    February 10, 2012

    I think that this practice has become a custom of the presidential campaign. It will continue to occur with new spins every election. Campaigns have always been negitive, take a look at this video for Kennedy’s campaign. He is diliberately throwing shots at his fellow canidates, but slicky he pushes his point to show that he is what America needs, and that the people can trust in him. Stories like this keep me wanting to read more about the political campaign. I cannot stand Romney and I think he has a horrible campaign. Personally, I do not think that this is a political responsiblity for Obama’s campaign and I hope that they do not focus completely on Romney and his stupidity. These findings do make sense to me, and I plan on staying in the know and following up on both parties.

  9. John Posso
    February 10, 2012

    Mud-slinging is an everyday practice in the dirtiest game of them all, politics. It is not new; it has been around since the beginning. One of the earliest examples happened in the 1828 elections between John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson. Jackson’s marriage was attacked because of an unfinished divorce. Adams was then charged for buying gambling equipment for the White House, which later turned out to be a chess set and a pool table according to this article. Always focusing on the negatives can distract us from the positive. I think that stories like this make politics more interesting. Romney has made some mistakes during his campaign, it would be illogical for the Obama administration to not use it against him. This Nation has a study about the effects of negative campaigning. It states that voters are turned off by it, but are still interested if it is about taxes, indecisiveness, and drug abuse.

  10. Yemisi Johnson
    February 10, 2012

    Dirty Politics or Necessary Evil? I’m not extremely fond of such practices but I wouldn’t call them dirty or evil. I would simply call it politics. I feel someone running for office should be honest and chose his or her words wisely. You never want to say anything out of context that could be taken the wrong way. Because if and once you do your opponent can take it and use it against you in any way he/she find necessary. I feel this is a new spin on our modern times in politics because it is constantly being used to decide who benefits and who doesn’t. Again it all goes back to making sure when you first make the decision that you want to run for any office, their are no skeletons in your closets. And if there is you are willing and ready to face, and answer all questions. This has been going on for a while and I don’t think it is going to stop anytime soon. Dirty vs. Evil

  11. Erika Candelaria
    February 10, 2012

    I don’t think that trash talking during primaries is the way to go. I feel like campaigns have always been negative, to bring things up from peoples past and such to make controversy.I feel when stories that have a negative outlook on a someone’s personal life doesn’t really have much effect on me personally just because that should not be anyone’s business since its nothing that really affects our country. Romney’s comments have made me feel like is that truly what he thinks of this country. By him feeling good in firing people I think that’s wrong, no one should ever feel that way. “Well, Mr. President, Nevada has had enough of your kind of help!” says Romney in the article I found. I think these candidates should be more focused on their own campaigns and stop trashing other people. Maybe they do this because of the competition they have, who knows. We must see if this trend continues.

    LATimes

  12. Patrick Nolan
    February 10, 2012

    David Mark, author of “Going Dirty: The Art of Negative Politics,” states that, “Negative campaigning goes back to the earliest days of our republic to the political campigns of the late 18th and early 19th centuries.” It is a practice generally accepted as business as usual, however, this practice seems to be one of the quickest to evolve with changing technology. When our political figures first began utilizing this practice newspapers, who were very biased, were their primary vessel. Our country has seen an evolution from this to radio in the 20’s, television in the 50’s, internet outlets in the 90’s, and today we get much of our dirt from social media such as facebook and twitter.

    While the practice of dirty politics and negative campaigning date back to our country’s origins, they seem to have (amazingly) lessened in their severity over time. Back in the days of Thomas Jefferson or John McAdams, it was not uncommon for a candidates personal life to be the forefront of negativity. Wives, children, personal habits were commonly lied about and scrutinized before political policy was even mentioned. Much of the negative campaigning of the past would not be tolerated the same way in today’s society.

    While this practice does seem to be a “necessary evil,” to keep the politicians somewhat honest, it can also backfire and cost a contender the election when not used properly. In the 2004 Iowa caucuses, front runners Dean and Gephardt ran such a slew of negativity to a group that traditionally rejects negative campaigning, they all but handed the lead to a trailing Kerry, who maintained a positive campaign throughout. Kerry later returned the favor to Bush by questioning the Bush/Chaney stance on same sex marriage policy by way of bringing up Chaney’s daughter’s sexual orientation. Public outrage over drawing in a family member turned his mudslinging on himself.

    Negative campaigning seems necessary in the fact that either side may hear or see something shocking about a candidate. Hopefully, this would inspire them to do their own research to determine the validation on claims and learn a little bit more about a candidate they are backing, good or bad. It is not the negative campaigning that should bother us, rather the voters that blindly follow, without research, the random negative postings that appear on social media sites.
    INTERVIEW WITH DAVID MARK

  13. Ena Kadric
    February 10, 2012

    I don’t think it’s really ‘negative’, I think Romney is just not fit for the job and his ‘slip ups’are making it obvious. Fact that Obama campaign is using it to their advantage isn’t a surprise; them pointing it out is the same as us pointing it out. I think it’s a way of Obama to agree and connect with the average Americans, unlike Romney.
    Yeah, npr says negative ads are bigger than ever but I think it is just a new spin on our modern times.

  14. Adelle Charles
    February 10, 2012

    As we get deeper into the 2012 political season, it’s looking like it is going to be a hotly contested and potentially divisive presidential campaign.Recent events in the U.S. presidential race have brought concerns about negative attacks to the forefront. For example, there was the sparring between Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry about Perry’s executive order requiring that school-aged girls get the HPV vaccine. Then Herman Cain came under attack. And Barack Obama’s campaign has begun to attack Mitt Romney in earnest.In this context, I know that people wonder about negative political attacks, why candidates engage in negative politics, and whether it matters. The answer is pretty simple. Candidates engage in negative attacks because they work.
    Romney’s Negativity Hmm

  15. Jasmine (@badgerja)
    February 10, 2012

    I feel as though this practice is a tad bit on the immature side and does more harm than good. I do not think that this is simply a new spin on politics in our modern times because I can recall as a child reading these ads in the newspapers. So to answer the question yes campaigns have had a sense of negativity. This focus on error and gaffe makes others and even myself have negative opinions of all candidates involved. Stories like these surprising make me more likely to engage in the political process because although the candidates actions may be at times stupid they are also insightful because they are true. I feel as though the Romney campaign will be affected negatively, but it is helping to put Obama in a better light and Mr. Gingrich has helped too

  16. Tonya Haynes
    February 13, 2012

    I always hear people in the media talk about how nasty politics is getting but apparently this type of thing has been going on for a long time. Nowadays we just find different topics to discuss. According to an interview with Historian and author Joseph Cummings who wrote “Anything for a Vote: Dirty Tricks, Cheap Shots, and October Surprises”, this is typical of campaigns ever since the first election in 1789. Only the tactics and the way we get our information have changed. Cummings said that as a rule, the incumbent parties tend to play the dirtiest but both parties are guilty of playing the campaign smearing game. History of Dirty Politics Article
    I feel so bombarded by the news media with the negative campaigns ads and news reports that I’m almost immune to it. I think that if people have their minds made up about a candidate it doesn’t matter what the news reports about that candidate, they are going to support him/her anyway. These types of campaigns do not have an effect on whether or not I engage in the political process. I actually find some of it amusing and entertaining. As far as Romney’s campaign is concerned, I think the only people that this information impacts are the people who had doubts about him anyway. His true followers will most likely stay loyal to him. The politically responsible thing to do for any campaign including Obama of course is to not engage in the negative campaigning but the reality is it has been going on for a long time and I know it will continue for a long time.
    Even though most of the studies on the effects of negative campaigning are contradictory ( some say it works, others say it has no effect) as long as people think the negative campaigning works, it will continue.

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