Don’t let negative campaigns influence

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 31, 2002

Every political season voters hope that politicians won’t resort to negative campaigning. And every year candidates in high-profile races water the dirt, grab a handful of mud and start throwing.

They hope that some of that mud sticks on the voter’s minds come election day.

The race for Alabama governor is especially dirty.

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Riley and Siegelman are wearing mud and both are slinging it with oversized shovels.

Both are hoping to damage the other’s character. Riley paints Siegelman as someone who cannot be trusted and someone with questionable character.

Siegelman is spending lots of money on telling us that Riley is uncaring and will do little to strengthen Alabama’s educational system.

Early in the campaign both candidates made pitches for what they stood for. We heard their platforms and how they could make Alabama a better place. If you were not tuned into the race early, you missed it.

What you hear and see now is one candidate telling us how bad the other is in a 30-second TV commercial. Your phone rings and its Siegelman or Riley telling you how bad the other is. It’s not a personal call but rather a recording that randomly dials homes.

Most big campaigns operate this way. Candidates get their message out early and say they don’t want any negative campaigning in the race.

As the campaign progresses, one of the candidates releases a &uot;negative&uot; ad. It is always debated who was the first to release a &uot;negative&uot; message.

And then it all goes downhill. In the final days of the campaign the candidates seem to broadcast little of what they believe in. They just run their negative ads.

As a society we say we don’t like this. We say talk to us about the issues. But if the negative ads didn’t work, they wouldn’t be used.

Voters should look at the issues and what candidate will best serve them. The best way to do that at this point is to view the candidates’ websites and see how they stand on the issues.

It’s not too late to make an informed decision if one blocks out the negative ads.