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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

When Personal Attacks Are Personal Attacks

Today’s Beloit Daily News editorial with the sub-title Enough with mean-spirited ideological attacks about the verbal skirmish between John McCain and hack radio talk show host, Bill Cunningham, seemed to use the incident as an example of a wrongful ideological attack. This is the incident where Cunningham referred to Obama as Barack Hussein Obama with the emphasis on Hussein several times. McCain repudiated the host’s juvenile attacks on Obama.

BDN Excerpt:
In this odd political year of 2008, Cunningham joins others in talk radio who have embarrassed themselves by choosing ideological rigidity and harsh mean-spiritedness over reason and civility. Name-calling is the last refuge of small intellects.
Ideological rigidity? Ideological attacks? I beg to differ. What Cunningham proceeded to do was strictly personal.

Candidates must highlight the corrupted principles and ideology of their political opponents because most likely they will not win support by any other means, particularly launching personal attacks. The difference between McCain and Clinton or McCain and Obama is not the color of their skin or their gender or their middle names…or their ages. Their differences are strictly ideological. If you fail to convince the voters that your opponent’s principles and political values are based on flawed ideology, ….chances are….you lose. In fact, why bother running against someone if there are no ideological differences? The only differences that remain then, are discriminatory.

The problem is when presentations demonstrating those ideological differences become so convincing and vividly clear as to sway voters that the targeted opponent has no recourse but to skew their opponent’s legitimate presentations as a “personal attack.” That too is a "foul."

Cunningham’s “HUSSEIN” or his references to Obama as a Chicago Daley-style political hack were not ideological attacks, they were personal attacks, and it's misleading to confuse the two.

Lately, the MSM seems to be on a deliberate mission to soften or disparage legitimate partisan differences between candidates by mislabeling these differences as harmful or politics as usual. The same can be said for ideology. It also is being unfairly defined.


nailgunner said...

I read the BDN editorial, I thought it was one of the finer editorials I have ever read. Personal attacks in politics are the norm. That's why most "folks" ignore politics and don't bother to vote. Thanks for bringing this editorial to my attention. It inspired me.

Lou Kaye said...

When they break away from defending their own "centrist" ideology, BDN editorials tend to be a bit more honest, intellectual and questioning without the heavy-handed partisan lecture - I think.

But we keep hearing how bad American politics has gotten, when it seems, it really hasn't changed much in over 200 years.

nailgunner said...

Politics is a human invention. The human condition has not changed much in 200 years either. What has changed is the availability of information. We are now better informed than at any time in history. The media is also a human invention.

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