Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Our campaign platform: desperation!

I've caught a few political ads on television. Most of them, fair or not, are at least vaguely issue-oriented. An example: one of the popular local issues this year is a proposal to put a property tax cap into the state constitution. There are reasons why this is a bad idea, and reasons why it's a good idea. But the pro-cap side of the issue is easier to sound-bite, so we've seen a lot of attack ads that condense to, "my opponent is opposed to the property tax cap. Do you want to pay more taxes? If not, then vote for me!" These may not be fair; the reasons to oppose the tax cap are difficult to sound-bite. But it's at least a real issue on which reasonable people disagree.

Contrast this to an ad I've seen a few times for Linda Pence (in fact, the only Pence ad I've seen), a candidate for state attorney general. The entire ad is about how the candidate is opposed to child sexual predators. I haven't done any research, but I doubt her opponent is running on a pro-molester platform; I suspect these ads mean that the candidate's got no issues to run on and no actual platform to discuss, and she's a little desperate to get her name heard, and this is the best she could come up with.

I like the idea of picking a sure-fire issue for an ad. There's psychological value to tying your name to an issue people support. And it might be all it takes, in a race nobody's paying any attention to. If somebody standing in front of a voting machine is trying to remember things about the candidates, "I'm Linda Pence, and I want to put child molesters behind bars" isn't a bad mental tag to stick people with.

In this spirit, I've got a few other universal positions for Linda Pence to build ads around:
  • I'm Linda Pence, and I think corruption is bad!
  • Vote for Linda Pence, and she'll reduce your taxes!
  • Linda Pence for Attorney General. Because convicted murderers shouldn't be school guidance counselors.
  • Vote Linda Pence. Because everyone deserves good jobs at good wages.
  • Linda Pence. Integrity, service, honor.
Any time you see a candidate making any of the above claims in an ad, or any other claim that doesn't really have an opposing side, you should be aware that they're trying to manipulate you into voting for them in the absence of facts or plans....

No comments: