Can’t We Just Agree that No One’s Perfect?

New York Times has a new article up about the spate of attack ads in this political campaign. It’s worth quoting from at length.

“Republicans and Democrats began showing at least 30 new campaign advertisements in contested House and Senate districts across the country on Tuesday. Of those, three were positive.

“Congressional races play out on local airwaves, and the flood of commercials amounts to a parallel campaign, one that is often about the characters of individual challengers and obscure votes cast by incumbents. Frequently lost in the back-and-forth are the protests of candidates who say the negative advertisements are full of deliberate distortions and exaggerations.

“While Democrats have largely concentrated their efforts on the political records of Republicans, the Republicans have zeroed in more on candidates’ personal backgrounds.

“Democrats are learning just how deeply the Republicans have been digging. John Yarmuth, a Kentucky Democrat who is running for a House seat, has spent much of the past few days trying to explain editorials unearthed by Republican researchers and spotlighted in new advertisements. Mr. Yarmuth wrote the editorials for his student newspapers, and in them he advocated the legalization of marijuana, among other things.”

This is crazy. Clearly here, we’re learning that we cannot have perfect candidates for government, at least if we want Congress run by humans. Even if the perfect human did run for office, the opposition would most likely attack him for not having flaws, and therefore being unable to relate to his voters. Imagine elections twenty years from now – candidates will be punished for photos and blogs they wrote on Myspace when they were sixteen (“Recognize that young guy with the red cup in his hand, looking like he’s having a good time? Forget the fact that a majority of college-age kids drink alcohol, this guy’s running against me for office”). I’ll probably never be able to run for office, as a result of having this blog and bothering to share my opinions on things. Something needs to be done, but I don’t know if regulating the information candidates disseminate about other candidates is a good idea.

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