That headline comes from a communications professional, Kimberly Krautter, publisher of The Body Politic.
“When the chips are down for a candidate, he often cries foul when his opponent airs an ad that challenges his record and turns the candidate’s words or votes against him. Frankly, in the world of advertising and marketing, that’s considered fair play. Think about the famous “Pepsi Taste Challenge” from the 1980s.
While the tone of such an ad might be “contrary”, it’s not truly “negative.” A negative ad/attack ad is one that gets nasty and personal and takes the discourse away from the issues and fails to promote the platform – the advertiser candidate’s vision for the future should he be elected.
Over the last three days, the McCain camp turned truly negative. Down in the polls and with his Veep choice exposed for the cynical political ploy that it is, the man who pledge to keep the focus on the issues launched an ad calling his opponent, “Dangerous.”<end quote>
I find her analysis of the difference between fair play and negative truly interesting. She defines ‘negative’ as “nasty and personal and takes the discourse away from the issues and fails to promote the platform.” The platform, as well as personal presidential qualities is, after all, what the voters are supposed to be using as a yardstick to make their choice. The Pepsi Challenge she uses as an example is simply one product/person making a direct comparison with their competition. That has evaporated in this campaign.
I’ve said many times that the book “The Power and The Story: How the Crafted Presidential Narrative Has Determined Political Success From George Washington to George W. Bush” was one of the most eye opening political books I’ve ever read. Rick Davis, the McCain campaign manager and protege of Karl Rove, bluntly said this election was going to be about personality, not issues.
Since that statement right after the convention we’ve seen an increasing severity of attacks on Barack Obama. It has reached the point now that Chris Matthews and others have voiced concern that we are building towards a violent act by someone or some group. With the crowd outbursts in the last 4 days[with video] and the fact that the candidates did not calm the crowd or disavow the outbursts I believe that Matthews concern is valid.
Krautter continues at The Body Politic: It is a far more legitimate question of McCain’s character for him to use his chief surrogate Sarah Palin to challenge the character of Barack Obama based on a brief and fleeting association with a 60s radical in the face of his own complicity and corruption with a convicted felon as a means of simply scoring political points. Frankly, it is an indictment against McCain’s character.
Once again, I am personally sickened by McCain’s naked cynicism and what is becoming an ever more desperate grab for the Oval Office simply because he stridently believes that it’s his turn.
Obama himself has seen the danger of the erratic campaign movements and has started to talk about it. Now’s the time to talk about the qualities of his opponent. Those of us that wanted an ‘attack’ campaign were wrong. Barack Obama waited until the public could easily see the true, unfortunate character of his opponent.
Kimberly Krautter’s The Body Politic is worth a daily read. She is detailed, factual and comes from background in communications that allows her to ‘decode’ the everyday news.