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Sunday, November 14, 2004

Attack ads

Lori Sturdevant is kvetching today about attack ads in local House races, specifically in district 45A, the seat formerly held by Lynne Osterman. She decries the fact that in races all over the state, outside groups and party organizations are filling mailboxes with negative ads. She echoes an argument made by many observers that such negative advertising is keeping people from running for office.

My first reaction to this is boo hoo. Although everybody supposedly hates negative advertising, it is a necessary and vital part of politics. To me, there are two kinds of negative advertising: ads that point out the bad things that a person does or belives in, and ad hominem attacks. There is no place for ad hominem attacks in politics, but the other kind are perfectly valid. The fact is, Lynne Osterman is a Republican, and she voted for the Republican leadership that refused to compromise during the past legislative session. If she wanted to distance herself from their actions, she should leave the Republican party or refuse to vote for that leadership. Otherwise, she can't complain when she is tarred with the same brush.

An ad that just calls a person "unpatriotic" or similar nonsense like that is worthless, but a records is fair game.

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