Campaign 2012 is insulting to every one of us. With 88 days to go the Obama and Romney campaigns, having gone negative early, have set a new, all-time low for campaign integrity, transparency, clarity, divisiveness and policy articulation. What makes this so damaging is that there has never been a more urgent need for the opposite: positive campaigning that offers real solutions to America’s many serious problems.
As the national debt increases at the rate of $5 billion per day, poverty reaches levels not seen since the 1950s, foreign policy issues multiply, the country becomes even more polarized and unemployment plateaus at 18%, we can’t help but be reminded when we listen to Governor Romney and President Obama of the cover boy of Mad Magazine, Alfred E. Neuman. Alfred was usually shown with the caption “What, Me Worry?”, indicating a total lack of intellectual interest in what was happening.
We’re not alone in commenting on the offensive and sleazy nature of this campaign. David Rothkopf of the FP group, publishers of Foreign Policy magazine, writes in an CNN.com column on August 8, 2012:
“Apparently, the candidates and their advisers think that is what will work with us. They think we don’t see the big problems, care about them or understand them. They think that throwing mud and unsubstantiated claims and getting bogged down in distractions will tip the scales in their favor. So the sad punch line to all this pettiness is that in a campaign laden with name calling, the biggest insult of all is the one that is being directed at the American people. Amid all the dirt and the shallowness, this is the one that should produce the greatest outrage. But of all of them, it’s also the only one that could produce any good at all. It could get us to act and demand more and to reject negative campaigns. Take it personally. Every time you hear a politician sling mud at an opponent rather than addressing a real issue, recognize that you’re the one being dissed. Then do us all a favor and vote your anger.”
One problem, Mr. Rothkopf. The Republican and Democratic parties are the only two choices on the supermarket shelf. There won’t be real change until the emergence of the American Party.