Just a week before one of the most consequential mid-term elections in modern times a new CNN/ORC International poll is anything but “Happy Days are here again” news for Democrats desperately trying to retain Harry Reid’s stranglehold on the U.S. Senate.
Almost 70 percent of us are either “very” or “somewhat” angry over the current status of the country the Real Clear Politics “Direction of Country” average shows 65.8 percent us feeling our nation is heading full throttle down a wrong track to disaster.
With so many Americans so against President Obama’s policies why then are so many Senate races still toss-ups with just days left to go? Two words: Negative ads.
Those straight from the gutter, sprinkle with just enough truth to avoid a libel lawsuit 60 second bursts that can take one line from a thousand word speech on world peace and turn the target into Hitler 2.0 just itching to start World War III.
It’s not to say there isn’t Republican mud being thrown, but the Democrat’s assault this election shows a level of desperation I’ve not seen in 40 years of observing the American body politic.
In state after state, Democrat candidates are either flat out lying as to where their loyalties lie or they’re producing ads predicting a national apocalypse if voters choose their opponent.
In Georgia, Democrat Michelle Nunn holds so little respect for former President George Herbert Walker Bush that she ignores his publicly stated wishes and uses misleading photos with him to paint herself as non-partisan on one hand while on the other she embraces far left partisans like Elizabeth Warren.
In Kansas, “independent” candidate Greg Orman claims no allegiance once in Washington but is silent as a church mouse on his New York City fundraiser co-hosted by George Soros’ son, or the role Missouri Democrat Claire McCaskill played in getting the actual Democrat, Chad Taylor, to drop out of the race at the last minute.
In Kentucky, Alison Lundergan Grimes, the democrat who wouldn’t even admit she voted for President Obama used Mitch McConnell’s wife’s board positions with Bloomberg Philanthropies and Wells Fargo to claim he took “anti-coal” money (Both Politifact and the Washington Post rate the attack blatantly false.)
In New Hampshire, Jeanne Shaheen blasts her opponent Scott Brown as a carpetbagger unconcerned with Granite state citizens hoping those same voters won’t connect with the fact that she has been in line with Obama’s policies 99 percent of the time.
In its endorsement for Republican Cory Gardner, the Denver Post called out Democrat Mark Udall for “trying to frighten voters” and noting that “his obnoxious one-issue campaign is an insult to those he seeks to convince.”
Mark Pryor in Arkansas claims Iraq War Vet Tom Cotton feels “entitled” to a Senate seat because of his military service. (The only service record Pryor can point to is political.)
Why such an acerbic atmosphere this year?
The left’s stock answer is the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, but that ignores the hundreds of millions of dollars Democrats receive from unions, trial lawyers and activists like Tom Steyer and George Soros.
But the sad truth is that the real answer has nothing to do with money.
Because as long as enough voters in enough races keep voting based upon sound bites playing in their heads candidates will keep using them.
Only when the ads stop working will the ads be no more.
To paraphrase that sage of the possums Pogo, “the enemy is not the money, the enemy is us”.
So yes, by all means vote, but please, for the country’s sake, think first.
Publisher’s Note: An edited version of this column first appeared in the October 29th, 2014 print edition of the Joplin Globe.