Thursday, February 28, 2008

What Obama Must Do: Fess Up To False Ads

O.k., the very first rule of civil campaigning has to be: be scrupulously truthful. Obama's Hillary/NAFTA ads, though defensible in spirit, do contain inaccuracies (e.g. the "boon" "quote"). Obama's got to get on his people to be scrupulously truthful. I've long thought that, were I a candidate, first thing I'd do is get everybody in the campaign together and say: you lie or propagate lies, you're out; you get nasty in any way other than responding to nastiness in the heat of the moment, you're out; you spin to trick people to vote for us, you're out; we run a scrupulous, squeaky-clean, absolutely unimpeachably fair and reasonable campaign and win or lose on that turf.

Obama clearly sees that viciousness and anger poison and distort our political discourse, and that this is helping to destroy the system. But he needs to make it explicit that the first and worst element in all this is outright falsehood. People are going to get mad and irrational even when only truths are on the table--but false charges set off even the most rational and truth-loving among us.

Truthfulness, it seems to me, is the first virtue here.


Blogger lovable liberal said...

Yes, it's true that Obama's not perfect. I'd prefer scrupulous honesty, too, though I haven't looked into the ad you're writing about in order to judge for myself in this instance.

There are even times when a Republican is more accurate or truthful than the competing Democrat. Not often, mind you, but it happens occasionally.

2:29 PM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

This stuff gets me angry, too. Moderate and reasonable fellow that I am, I like McCain a lot.

But I was ashamed of him for an obvious sophistry he put on Romney about supporting timetables in Iraq.

I guess some of this stuff works, so that's why they do it, even if it's an insult to the intelligence of those of us who are paying attention.

And since virtually all of 'em do it, there's little danger of actually losing a supporter's vote, as his opponent is probably just as bad.


3:18 PM  

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