A Curse on Both Houses

An interesting perspective from veteran reporter Michael Scherer on Time’s Swampland blog about the ugly political ads on both sides. It’s not an entirely satisfying observation, and it raises additional ethical questions and stuff that would be interesting to discuss. But still, it’s a thought-provoking observation which rings true to me, though simultaneously distasteful. Scherer, whose writing I’ve liked for some years now, also offers the beginnings of a solution.

“Let us just assume the following: Both politicians in the current race employ political professionals who are paid to use the most effective tactics in their business, often with little regard to ethical abstractions like fairness and honesty. This does not mean that neither candidate has a moral core. It only means that the behavior of his campaign is a poor gauge of his core and that both men, as presidential aspirants, have made peace with the idea that stretching the truth is a basic requirement of the game at this level.

“Now, this does not mean that the fibbing is acceptable. But if we remove the outrage, or at least minimize it, then maybe we can focus not just on the deceptions of the guy we don’t like but also on the deceptions of the guy we like. For in the end, there is only one thing that will force these candidates, their campaigns and supporters to hue a straighter line: Their own constituencies must object.”

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