Saturday, July 14, 2012

Politics of Personal Attack

Paul Krugman displays today the degree to which he a partisan political hack by writing a lengthy screed in which he advocates for the ad hominem attack politics that the Obama campaign is presently engaged in with respect to Romney’s purported record at Bain Capital. He even finishes by saying that, “the Obama campaign would be doing the American people a disservice if it didn’t make the most of Bain.”

I’m not going to get into whether or not Romney left Bain as he claimed or when the Democrats claimed, or what the implications are in either case, because I don’t care. I’m not an advocate for Romney. My point is the issue of attacking the person himself rather than that person's policies.

Krugman says that we can’t limit the debate to policy because, in part, that we can’t “rely on the news media to get the essentials of the policy debate across to the public.” Well, certainly not when politicians are providing such colorful and salacious personal attacks for them to quote, no, we can’t. A politician feels that the press is not giving him enough attention when he talks about policy, so he says that John McCain fathered a black baby, and we’re supposed to be okay with that merely because we can’t “rely on the news media to get the essentials of the policy debate across to the public.”

Liberals were highly upset when the media misquoted Al Gore, saying that he claimed to have invented the Internet and to have discovered Love Canal, correctly asserting that these misquotes were a personal attack and had nothing to do with policy. Democrats were furious at Republican claims that John Kerry did not actually serve as claimed in Vietnam and had not actually earned the medals which he displayed.

Now Democrats find an apparent discrepancy between a report filed with a federal agency and Romney’s statements about his tenure at Bain and they are not only calling him a liar, but a felon. This is perfectly okay, because it is Democrats doing it. It’s only slimy to make personal attacks on your opponent when it is a Republican making such attacks on a Democratic opponent.

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