The beauty of dirty campaigning

Now look, I’ll be honest and admit that I don’t give a hoot about ASPSU. It’s meaningless and has little to no impact. Maybe the winner gets to put it on their application to grad school, but it doesn’t mean jack outside that. What I do care about though is campaigning.

I like the idea of these candidates squaring off, seeing them scramble for votes. Tear each other’s throats out, and name-call and back stab all day and night. I like the posters and ads that attack the other candidates, call them horrible unconscionable names. That’s fun! That’s politics, baby! Without that you just have two assholes arguing about different accounting tactics.

I was sorely disappointed in the people running for student government this year. No attacks, no issues, hell – no nothing. This election wasn’t held on issues or debate, it was held on who had the prettiest fliers. Nothing but poster after poster with their mugs slapped over the school covering every conceivable square inch of campus.

I weep for the trees that died so that they could say, "vote for me." Where were the attacks? Where were the posters accusing people of being in the pocket of the text book companies, or of not hating Bush enough? Where was the poster calling Devaney/Woon hippies?

One little display came close to the spirit of politics, although it was yanked down so damn fast I hardly got to see it. The hubbub was over a poster in a student union display case that portrayed members of the Devaney/Woon slate as Communists.

It was something put up in the true spirit of campaigning; it was an honest-to-god attack ad. I loved it. Not only was it funny, but it had a message. I don’t really know what the message was but it wasn’t subtle, and that’s what I like. The only problem was the people who put it up didn’t want to claim it, so it had to get removed. Actually it was altered, which was even more spineless really.

If the College Republicans made the poster and stand behind the message, why not claim it? Instead of taking down Stalin, put up a picture of Hitler and say that the lunatic advising SALP and Devaney/Woon are trying to silence you, and then spell out College Republicans in three-foot tall letters. Problem solved. We all know who is sending the message and the point gets across. Instead, the College Republicans wussed out, and took down Stalin and his little buddy Lenin, negating the joke. Don’t hide behind obscurity. If you think and believe something then shout it from the rooftops, don’t hide behind anything.

Be brave. Put your name on the byline and go with it. You wouldn’t believe some of the letters I get when I say some of the things I say. If you want to make what may be perceived as politically inflammatory remarks you need to be brave enough to put your balls out on the chopping block for all to take a whack at. However, if you want to run for office – even city dogcatcher – then you need to be able to take whatever gets dished out to you. And there is the real problem.

Let’s be honest – politics is all about mudslinging. It’s what makes it fun, but it also serves a purpose. It shows the quality of the person being attacked. You watch how they react to the attack and you can pretty much figure out how they will act in office. Kerry got attacked like mad in this last election cycle and he handled it poorly. If he had stood up and attacked back you all might be talking about how President Kerry was screwing up in Iraq instead of George W.

How a candidate reacts to mudslinging is how we see their true character. All this PC campaigning is crap. Take off the gloves, tell people that your opponent eats babies, and watch them squirm. Then you get to see the real person. Not the fabricated, Hollywoodized, slick willy candidate.

Jason Germany can be reached at [email protected]