If one thought the push polls and rumor campaigns in South Carolina during the South Carolina Presidential Primary were bad, you ain't seen nothing yet.
Look at how Romney and Gingrich go at each other in Florida. Fact checkers catch both their campaigns in flat out lies about each other. Yet millions of dollars continue to be spent in promoting those allegations.
Frankly, such political nonsense, from all types of campaigns is allowed to go on because both mainstream and blog media types sternly tell us it is not about the facts, it is about the seriousness of the charge. Let that sink in. Some politico either paid to do so or with some personal agenda concocts some charge, leaks it to a few bloggers in the know, and then the media, out of both laziness and the desire to be in the center of things, run with the "allegation" story.
Those allegation stories are created by political consultants to define the opponent. It does not matter to them if the matter is true or not. What matters is creating an image of the opponent to run against. Campaigns are no longer about ideas or running against who an opposing candidate really is. They have become about saying anything to create an image that can be defeated. It is at all levels of politics and robs people of a real choice in politics and it is part of the reason this country is in the mess it is in. Political operatives of all stripes are guilty. And, it happens at all levels.
A case in point is the State Senate race in Lexington County. Blogger Will Folks, known for his on again off again support of Nikki Haley and her cohorts and her agenda and for a sense of the sensational, ran a recent blog post about State Senator Jakie Knotts. The allegations in the post had all the elements of a tailored made allegation to attempt to create an image of Knotts to run against for Katrina Shealy, a Haley cohort running against Knotts.
Folks reported that Knotts was alleged to have “roughed up” a prostitute years ago in a motor home at a flea market. The elements make it seem consultant made. First, Shealy wants to define Knotts as a hothead, out of control. Thus he roughed up a woman. Shealy also wants to define Knotts as sleazy, so it’s a prostitute he roughs up. Third, Shealy wants to define Knotts as a redneck, so the alleged encounter is in a motor home parked at a flea market. Further, Folks tips his hand in the matter by quoting an anonymous source supporting Knotts who refers to the Governor and her husband and “titty bars,” again reemphasizing the point about Knotts and his supporters as redneck and sleazy. There is an offhand remark in the post about being able to prove the charge, but the damage is done, and the message is out there.
This post is not to pick on Mr. Folks or the Shealy campaign. They are just doing what they do. However, as such things continue to happen at all levels of politics, true debates on issues are lost. Good people with sense avoid public service. And, that pleases those in it just fine. It has happened in America before. America suffered through some sorry Presidents and politicians during the era of the muckracker and yellow journalism when the newspaper became a new modern media. The internet media is now going through that phase and political operatives are taking advantage of it.
The problem now is that the state and nation are in real trouble. In other such trying times, politicos and media types were jolted to sift through the manure and give people real choices. But, this year that is not likely to happen. There is too much money to be made and too many egos for those types to put the state and country first. The election of 2012 is going to be nasty, false and people are going to make choices based on whatever some well paid consultant or blogger comes up with next. VUI hopes to be proved wrong by political leaders and media types, but realistically, it’s not likely. Hogs love the mud too much.