Monday, October 06, 2008

Scandals v Negative Campaigning

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at

I've been out doing voter registration just about every weekend since June, after the break taken following the primary-related voter registration. And I'm not saying I'm committed to the idea of voting, but I've been registering voters in the same place since 1992. Thankfully, I'm not out there alone -- this weekend, for example, I had 17 people helping me. We man a table, and send teams to the far ends of the shopping center to make sure we catch people who might not shop in the center of the strip mall.

Voter registrations must be non-partisan. That is, when "enthusiastic" new volunteers ask me if they can rip up non-Democratic registrations, I explain that would be immoral, unethical and illegal, and if they have any such intentions they should leave. NOW.

Yesterday, a woman who recently moved to Pennsylvania from Virginia completed her registration, and then asked me if I she could get a lawn sign. I explained that I didn't know where she could get a McCain sign. She explained that she wanted an Obama sign, and I told her that I was confused as she had just registered as a Republican. She further explained that she WAS a Republican, but that she was voting for Obama. She said she couldn't imagine doing anything else. Lucky for her, my trunk is well-stocked.

Because I've been there for so long, and am a "known quantity", people show up every weekend to ask questions. And the big questions this weekend were about whether or not Obama would hit back. As Oreo wrote, that's in the works related to the Keating scandal.

Which brings up an interesting set of questions. While pointing out that McCain is tied to Keating, Gramm, Symington, and others who directly relate to economic problems, should the Obama campain IN ADDITION, go negative? If you say something true that is very ugly, is that okay? Is that negative?

It's easy to understand that telling lies about someone is wrong -- so when Spunky Palin says that Senator Obama "associates with known domestic terrorists" she's just out and out lying, and that's wrong. If instead she said that "Senator Obama was a commmunity organizer", that's true, but to some people, "organizing" has a negative connotation, so while it may be considered negative, a lot of people are proud, and the decision is left up to the voter as to whether the action undertaken (organizing) is good or bad.

On the Keating 5 scandal, there is no doubt that McCain had ties to Keating, that Keating funded parts of John's early campaigns, that they were friends, and that John had to give back monies paid by Keating for things like vacations. All true, all bad. But not over the line.

But the Obama campaign COULD take that extra step to pointing out the REALLY BAD things: McCain divorcing his first wife because she got fat, lying on his divorce application (using lawyer Bud Day, of Swift Boat fame), his gambling, Cindy's drug problem and the cover-up, and the rumour (that I've seen but can't find a legit source for) of his relationship with Joe Bonano.

There is no doubt that the GOP is going negative. They have to, they have nothing else. But should the Obama campaign? Vote, and then please use the comments to justify your position.