It still amazes me how SHOCKED people are when they see negative ads on TV or in their mailbox. It\’s as if two years ago never even existed. I actually chuckle when people mention how negative this presidential campaign has been – actually, I\’d argue to the death that the Bush/Kerry election of \’04 was infinitely more toxic than this one. That may have been simply because each candidate was far more polarizing than McCain or Obama.
In any event, my little exercise of a couple days ago was intended to show how little these negative ads actually adhere to facts. Jim Doyle proposes increasing a drug copay from $1 to $3, a Republican goes along with it in a budget of 1,000 other items, and it turns into \”so-and-so voted to triple health care costs for working families.\” The lesson here for candidates is simple – they\’re going to go negative on you for something. It\’s just a matter of what they pick.
This got me thinking – maybe it\’s time to re-evaluate my life based on what someone could say about me in a negative political ad. This might be a good time to take stock of your relative strengths and weaknesses. Let\’s say, for the purpose of argument only, that I decided to run against Russ Feingold in 2010. (This would never happen, as I would be assassinated on the campaign trail – by my wife.) What skeletons do I have that he could pull out of my closet? So, as an exercise, I tried to come up with some sample ads that Feingold could run against me – despite my never having cast a vote for anything in my life.
So, here are some negative ads that I think would be pretty effective against me:
\”Christian Schneider sided with George Bush over 90% of the time.\”
I actually get a lot of mileage out of telling my friends that I voted against Bush in 2000. I was one of maybe 4 people in Madison Ward 60 who voted for Alan Keyes, which might actually be more embarrassing than voting for Bush, in retrospect. Actually, I doubt Bush will be much of a factor in the elections of 2010, as we\’ll all be busy fighting the machines then, anyway.
Also, I admit that I voted for Feingold in 1992 – mostly because I was high a lot then. Somehow, I don\’t think this fact would be an effective counter-argument against Feingold on either count.
\”Christian Schneider is anti-environment\”
Not true – I have led the way in reforming how long receipts should be – there\’s absolutely no reason I need a three foot receipt when I go to Best Buy. This could be the environmental issue of our lifetimes. Furthermore, as my wife will gladly point out, I generally wait waaaaaaaay too long to mow the lawn. But I\’m merely thinking globally and acting lazily. Don\’t say I\’m not willing to go green – I recycle jokes all the time. Wah-wah.
I suppose out there somewhere is a picture of me drinking water out of a water bottle, something the environmentalists in Madison are trying to ban. But rest assured – it was most likely a gin and tonic. The earth is still safe.
\”Christian Schneider is against equal pay for equal work for women.\”
At a bachelor party once (a very, very long time ago, honey,) I paid $30 for a lap dance. Think I\’d be able to get that kind of money for dancing on a table nude? I rest my case.
\”Christian Schneider thinks big oil should get big tax breaks.\”
Is it somehow still debateable that the more you tax something, the more expensive it gets? People still actually have to defend this in public? Yes – I would like cheaper gas, so I think we shouldn\’t tax it as much. I also support big tax breaks for waffle houses because, boy, do I enjoy a good pancake.
Christian Schneider once had so many parking tickets in college, he had to sign the title to his car over to the parking police, since the value of his tickets was more than the value of his car:
True. Although the car had a bumper sticker that said \”A Grouchy German is a Sour Kraut,\” which raised its humor value by at least 30 cents.
\”Christian Schneider once had credit so poor, no bank would even give him a checking account.\”
Also true. As a freshman in college, I pretty much set fire to my credit rating by writing bad checks. But this turned out to be a blessing because it: A) Allowed me to eat, and B) Guaranteed I wouldn\’t be able to get a credit card during college. Which was great, because I graduated credit card debt-free, by necessity.
I would recommend this strategy to anyone entering college. And by the way, writing bad checks would make me an ideal member of Congress. Get my seat ready now.
\”Christian Schneider Once Flunked a Political Science Course in College.\”
Okay, this one hurts – but like Obama\’s cocaine use, I have to get this one out now, so nobody cares in two years. (By the way, given Obama\’s popularity, I should probably manufacture some evidence that I actually snorted coke with him – it can only help.) First of all, that class was way too early in the morning. Secondly, there was a rule that you can have it stricken from your GPA, so I just stopped going after a few classes. Thirdly, at that point, I had yet to sample the wonders of womanhood – so do you really think I was concentrating on stupid government stuff? I rest my case, your honor.
\”Christian Schneider once broke up with a girl because she kept grabbing his remote control and changing the TV to \”Party of Five.\”
\”Christian Schneider\’s acquaintances are lowlifes and scumbags.\”
This is mostly true. But at least they\’re entertainingly so. And as bad as they are, they\’ve likely got a higher public favorability rating than Feingold\’s associates – in the U.S. Senate. OH SNAP!
\”Christian Schneider once walked right past a blind date, pretended he didn\’t see her, and ran for his car.\”
The fact that she mentioned on the phone that she was her high school\’s shot put record holder should have been a clue, in retrospect.
\”Christian Schneider once went on statewide TV looking like this:\”
AHA! It\’s trap! Sorry, Russ – you are now facing a furious backlash. I just picked up every vote north of Beaver Dam. Also, the mere sight of my virile mustache impregnated a good portion of the female electorate. I\’ll have to raise Obama-type money just to pay off my child support.
\”What is Christian Schneider hiding?\”
Fat. That\’s why I wear sweater vests.
Finally, I think it goes without saying that all my past blogging would be a gold mine in negative info about me. Trust me, it makes me cringe to go back and read a lot of it, too. Although buried in that blog is a lot of breaking news about Senator Feingold, too. So he better watch his back.
In any event, this goes to show that literally any ad can be run against any candidate – whether it\’s true or not. Just be ready to go on offense yourself. But this was cathartic. Now I think I can take on anything coming my way. I will just be prepared to answer any charge with a promise of free pancakes.
October 31, 2008 at 10:55 am
Officially my favorite blog post of yours! I have GOT to read this more often, although I had to muffle my laughter as I’m reading this at work… That’s not bad, is it??