Patterico's Pontifications


Turns Out Both Sides Go Negative! Go Figure!

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General,Politics — Patterico @ 8:53 pm

The New York Times‘s Adam Nagourney — no right-wing troglodyte he — reports tomorrow that:

Republicans and Democrats began showing at least 30 new campaign advertisements in contested House and Senate districts across the country on Tuesday. Of those, three were positive.

What’s that? Even Democrats go negative? But the Los Angeles Times assured us just this morning that going negative is a purely GOP strategy — and that when Dems do it, it’s merely fighting back!

But Adam Nagourney seems to say something different. Rub your eyes and shake your head vigorously — the story doesn’t change:

For Democrats, it was part of a barrage intended to tie Republican incumbents to an unpopular Congress, criticize their voting records, portray them as captives to special interests and highlight embarrassing moments from their business histories.

Nagourney tries to paint the GOP as being more personal, saying that Republicans “have zeroed in more on candidates’ personal backgrounds” — but that’s hard to reconcile with this passage:

Democrats are equally aggressive in their advertisements, going after Republicans on votes, ties to campaign contributors and, in the case of challengers, their own personal foibles.

Sounds like Democrats are plenty capable of zeroing in on personal backgrounds too.

In Tennessee, Democrats attacked Bob Corker, a Republican candidate for Senate, saying his construction company had hired illegal immigrants “while he looked the other way.”

Yup. They are.

I’m shocked — shocked! — to learn that both sides actually play this game. And to think that I trusted the Los Angeles Times!

7 Responses to “Turns Out Both Sides Go Negative! Go Figure!”

  1. […] UPDATE: From the unlikely source of the New York Times comes evidence that both sides play the negative ads game. Shocking news, that. […]

    Patterico’s Pontifications » L.A. Times: Attack Ads Almost Entirely a GOP Phenomenon — Except for When Dems Must Fight Back (421107)

  2. you’re making way too much of this, and it’s making you look naive. knowledgeable observers have long since determined that republicans and democrats are just about equal in negativity. the scandals themselves do take on partisan differences over a long period; since republicans tend to have more money, that’s what they get in trouble with, while democrats tend to have more sex, or at least more partners. there are of course notable exceptions on both sides which only help prove the rule.

    assistant devil's advocate (a639d0)

  3. ada, I don’t know about the money and sex angle, but you’re clearly on target suggesting that this is a tactic that is not avoided by either side. The problem with negative political advertising is that, protestations of the populace to the contrary, it works. As long as the political benefits outweight the costs, expect it to continue.

    Furthermore, if your guy is the recipient of the negative ads, then it’s terrible, but if your guy is the one producing the ads then it tends to be just his or her means of getting the “truth”, at least as you see it, told. This is really nothing new. Unfortunately, it is as old as our republic to attack your political opponents.

    Harry Arthur (b318a5)

  4. ADA, I think you are missing Patterico’s point, which is the way MSM (specifically the LAT) spun the story: that Republicans use negative ads offensively while Democrats only use them defensively.

    sharon (dfeb10)

  5. We throw these rascals out and yet we get the usial broken promises

    krazy kagu (f674df)

  6. The Times article seems to suggest that, while both are going negative, the Republican ads are more on the personal attack side, whereas the Democrats are going negative on issue-oriented ads. Now, this is the NY Times, and there may be contrary examples they’re leaving out, but based on what the article says, I’m a bit disappointed with the Republicans. I expected more out of the party I identify with, and I’m not getting it.

    I have a blog post where I go into it further. Yes, Democrats do it too, but that’s not an excuse. I’m all for negative ads, but there are lines.

    Doug Payton (e218f4)

  7. “The Times article seems to suggest that, while both are going negative, the Republican ads are more on the personal attack side, whereas the Democrats are going negative on issue-oriented ads.”

    If I run a negative ad about you running a negative issue-oriented ad does that count as a “personal attack”?

    sharon (dfeb10)

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