Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Your Mud and My Mud Are Not the Same

Let's talk about mud slinging. This was a topic that came up in the final Presidential debate. Both candidates accused each other's campaign of mud slinging. Given that this is politics, and that we are playing for the biggest prize in American politics, I have no doubt that mud has been slung. But let's take a close look at the kind of mud being thrown from each side.

On the Obama Side (according to John McCain in the debate): Obama's campaign is mischaracterizing McCain's tax plan and McCain's health plan. Whether this is true or not, I couldn't say. I'm sure that the Obama camp is trying to highlight the most unappealing aspects of McCain's views on these topics and may, in fact, be painting an incomplete or inaccurate picture. Yes, this probably qualifies as mud slinging.

On the McCain Side: Palin is basically calling Obama a terrorist despite the fact that the guy he hung out with (Mr. Weatherman) is a respected academic professor who has hung out with all the political muckety mucks in Chicago including republicans and democrats. McCain and Palin are implying that we "don't know who that guy is" whatever that means and that we don't know "what he will do." Well we don't know what McCain or Palin will do either since neither of them have been President or Vice President before. There have also been e-mails sent around by someone (McCain supporters, perhaps McCain operatives) saying that Barack Obama is a muslim (totally irrelevant but also totally untrue). Not to mention that chanting things about killing people goes unremarked upon at Palin rallies.

These two kinds of mud are NOT equal to each other. One is focused on the issues and the other is flinging about unsubstantiated and untrue rumors and attacks on character that are untrue and totally unrelated to any policy stances. One sucks and is dirty politics and the other is totally legitimate political warfare. They aren't even in the same league. Oh John, how far you have strayed from the high road...

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