Monday, June 30, 2008

Lies, Rumors, and Dirty Politics

As I was poking around my favorite blogs today, I saw an interesting post from AsFoxSeesit, which pointed me to an article in the Washington Post about Jim Peterman in Finlay, Ohio. Mr. Peterman has heard enough wild rumors about Barrak Obama that he isn't sure whether he can vote for him or not. After all, some of his friends and neighbors, whom he trusts, are saying that Obama was " born in Africa, (and) is a possibly gay Muslim racist who refuses to recite the Pledge of Allegiance." On the other hand he hears that Obama is a Christian, family man, born in Hawaii. He doesn't know who to believe.

Also, going around the news broadcasts and the internet today is a quote from Gen. Wesley Clark, in which Clark says that John McCain's flying an airplane and dropping bombs doesn't necessarily qualify him to be president. The media has jumped on the clip from a Sunday news show and made a big deal out of it. While it may not have been the thing for someone of Clark's prominence to say, I agree with him, and I have written about it before. A war record or military service record doesn't make a president or a county commissioner, but most candidates roll out their military records when they start to run. In reality no one has presidential experience for obvious reasons.

I think Clark's statement is a molehill, which has been made a mountain. On the other hand others have begun to make comments about McCain's being a traitor, because he appeared in films for the North Vietnamese. They are dragging up the old worn out Vietnam anti-war issues about bombing civilians and saying anyone who served in such a capacity is guilty of war crimes and shouldn't be president. Such comments are reminiscent of the "Swift Boat Veterans" ads during the last election and serve no purpose other than to feed those who are too ignorant or too biased to ignore them. Obama has rejected these comments, including Clark's, and I hope he continues to distance himself from such.

McCain, as well, has to disavow his "surrogates" as these speakers are being called. He can shut them up, if he will. Unfortunately, these kinds of lies and rumors are too effective and too tempting for candidates, who want so badly to win. They just can't bring themselves to take any action that might quell the tide, so they often give only lip service to condemning the nasty ads and statements and seize upon them to make political hay. McCain, today, criticized Obama for saying negative things about him and, therefore, indirectly accused him of being behind the statements.

This is just the beginning, unfortunately, and it will worsen as time goes on. Such drivel does nothing to clarify either candidate's stand on the issues. Instead the focus is shifted away from the issues to the unimportant, emotional, sidebar of dirty politics and innuendo. The candidates can control it to a degree, if they will not yield to the temptation to win at all costs.

1 comment:

Doug Robertson said...

I just want to address the Wesley Clark thing, I've done it elsewhere, too, but I totally agreed with him. I understand the politics, and that Obama had to then come back with a disassociation to the comment, but WC was right, in fact, and something that has always annoyed me. Why is POW a qualifier for POTUS? In my book, not so much.