H.L. Mencken, one of our most caustic cultural critics, has been dead for more than 60 years. But he would not have been surprised by the tactics deployed in Tennessee's most recent state legislative election. "Under democracy," Mencken once wrote, "one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule — and both commonly succeed, and are right." If early returns are any indication, that seems to be the political game plan again this election year. Last week, voters in five red counties around Murfreesboro elected Republican Shane Reeves to represent them in the state Senate. Democrat Gayle Jordan collected about 28 percent of the vote, which isn't too bad considering she is a "dangerous and kooky radical atheist who spits in the face of our Tennessee values." Those are some of the ways our state Republican leaders chose to describe Jordan, who also happens to be the wife of a military pilot, a mother of four and a grandmother. One … [Read more...] about Waters: Hold candidates accountable for attack ads
Political attack ads
Opinion: The attacks in Indiana's U.S. Senate race are focused on jobs and trade, while ours in Arizona are all about treason and mushroom clouds. Why is that? Lots of people are complaining about how nasty the campaign is for U.S. Senate in Arizona. And after a few days of being inundated with attack ads in Indiana, another state with a razor-thin Senate race that also is on a lot of national watch lists, I’ve realized we’re totally right to complain. The rhetoric here really is much worse. There is Republican Martha McSally’s now-famous accusation of “treason” against Democrat Kyrsten Sinema. On top of a slew of ads from both candidates, their political parties and assorted independent expenditure committees that have painted Sinema as a radical leftist and McSally as a heartless right-winger. The name-calling is over the top, and both candidates are being painted as the devil incarnate (one ad even used a mushroom cloud to suggest Sinema would … [Read more...] about What I learned from a trip to Indiana: Arizona’s Senate attack ads really are worse
Opinion: Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick should have strongly advocated for a cease-fire on her behalf. I get that Democrats are desperate to snap Arizona’s 2nd Congressional District from Republicans in their quest to control the U.S. House of Representatives. But running an attack ad against the Republican nominee Lea Marquez Peterson while she was attending Sen. John McCain’s funeral is not only tacky. It’s shameful. No one is taking responsibility for running the ad backed by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. A DCCC spokesman told The Arizona Republic’s Ronald J. Hansen that his group has no control over the timing of independent expenditures. That may be right, which means a lot of the blame is squarely on Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick, who’s facing Marquez Peterson in the November general election. While it's true she can't control or be involved with independent expenditures, she should have strongly advocated for a cease-fire on her … [Read more...] about Why won’t Ann Kirkpatrick denounce the attack ad that ran during McCain’s funeral?
Opinion: If you're tired of the vitriol on Congress (and all those attack ads on TV), there's something you can do about it. Kyrsten Sinema and Martha McSally have been in campaign mask. Both U.S. Senate candidates have been wearing false fronts since the primary, and everyone knows it. But Sinema and McSally continue with the fiction, somehow thinking their masks are going to make them look better. They don’t. That’s the pity of this race. All either candidate had to do was be herself –– or, at least, the self both displayed as U.S. House members – and the race would be just as competitive, particularly among independents and moderates. Because the real Sinema and McSally are centrists, accomplished women with moxie and class and the ability to work with people who aren’t like them to get stuff done in Congress. Is Kyrsten Sinema really a radical? McSally and other groups have painted Sinema as a tutu-wearing leftist who – repeat it … [Read more...] about Don’t believe the attack ads. Here’s who Kyrsten Sinema and Martha McSally really are
Lansing — Republican gubernatorial hopeful Bill Schuette is dismissing a new Democratic attack ad alleging he ignored Flint water contamination complaints until it became politically advantageous for him to file criminal charges. It’s “just nonsense,” said Schuette, the attorney general whose office is prosecuting several state and local officials for alleged crimes related to the Flint crisis. “People won’t buy that.” The television ad, paid for by the Democratic Governors Association and authorized by candidate Gretchen Whitmer, cites a Detroit News article detailing 15 separate complaints over water quality in Flint sent to Schuette’s office between April 2014 and February 2015, some sent a full year before Schuette announced his investigation. The commercial also suggests Schuette “OK’d the disastrous Flint water plan” when his office signed a March 2014 administrative consent “as to form.” The … [Read more...] about Schuette: Democrats’ Flint attack ad ‘nonsense’