In Ohio, it hasn’t been too bad. Most of the state offices will likely cruise to reelection. Even Josh Mandel, whose past political ads would get him sued into bankruptcy used for anything other than trying to get elected, is sticking with the Ohio GOP’s line of “Endorsed by my kids” messages. A few years ago, our Congresswoman, Jean Schmidt (R – Her own massive ego), tried this and barely kept her job. She’s since had her ass handed to her by a former mayoral candidate from Cincinnati, who paid lip service to the Tea Party, then promptly acted sane during the primaries. Tea Partiers and their opponents in my district were very pleased. After all, how’d you like to be represented by someone who called a wounded Vietnam vet a coward on the floor of the House? I didn’t. What saved me from straight ticket hell was the Democratic challenger to an incumbent judge. Desperate for some attention, he ran an ad saying the sitting judge was pro rape (based on a witness misbehaving in the courtroom). It was a silly and rather offensive ad. I said, “Bless you!” and voted for the incumbent. The judge became my token Republican that year. Haven’t heard a peep out of the challenger since, and I think the ad was a campaign manager’s idea. This guy was a law professor who ran because most incumbent judges usually get to keep their jobs in Cincinnati anyway.
Kentucky’s ads have been particularly egregious. Mitch McConnell and Allison Grimes have been trading some particularly nasty jabs at each other since day 1. Not surprising. There are two people Kentuckians hate more than Hitler these days: Mitch McConnell and Barack Obama. And McConnell has been busting his tail to make Grimes look like Obama’s puppet. When I see an ad for either one, it’s usually my cue to hit the john, get a soda, or even zone out.
We’re lucky in Ohio this year. In 2006, the GOP’s slate of candidates were so spectacularly bad that I fretted I would have to do something I find akin to treason: Vote straight ticket. See, I don’t live Democratic States of America or the Republican States of America. I live in the United States of America. And in 2006, I was going to be forced to vote straight Democrat because the only candidate I liked was a two-term senator. I also have a strict rule on term limits. If you’re in for two terms (I give representatives eight years because the two-year term is quite possibly the dumbest surviving part of the Constitution the framers came up with. Thank God that 2/3 rule on slaves got stomped on.), I don’t vote for you. Period.
Political ads give me a headache and have since Reagan ran for his second term. Sure, “Morning in America” got the nation off its collective ass by making us feel good about ourselves. But Walter Mondale’s ad running CSN&Y’s “Teach Your Children” ruined that song for my mother, who used to sing it to me when I was a toddler. Willie Horton in 1988 was a low for the elder George Bush.
The Kentucky ads are particularly bad this year. Mitch McConnell is not running against Grimes. He’s running against Obama. You know. The elected leader of the nation? The best this has accomplished is tying with Grimes in the polls. Then again, when your strategy is to run with “I’m not the other guy,” and the other guy is not even your opponent, you are very likely going to lose. See Kerry, John; Romney, Mitt; McGovern, George. And let’s be honest here. McGovern should have been able to not only hand Nixon his lunch, but shove it so far down Tricky Dick’s throat that it’d leave food stains in his boxers. But it was a different world back then, and these days, even Nixon would look at the campaigns and go, “Um… Not going there, dude.” (That image is particularly effective if you picture the jowly former president growling it.)
But then it’s over next week. And we can move on to what’s really important: Racking up massive debt to buy crap no one needs for people we don’t get along with so everyone’s happy at the end of the year.
Er… I mean Christmas shopping.