Sunday, October 21, 2012

Diversionary Tactics In US Politics

The Economist looks at the way Romney and Ryan have dealt with some of the questions that have been raised during their campaign.  They point to their personal behavior to deflect attention from what they might do in office.  For example, Romney claims that he tried to recruit women to government when he was the Governor of Massachusetts.  On the other hand, he has not answered questions about legislation that he would support that would level the playing field for women.  Paul Ryan did a photo op in soup kitchen for the homeless in Ohio.  His budget proposal, however, would substantially cut government programs for those with extreme financial needs.  People who seek government office ought to tell the public how they will govern instead of pointing to their personal life.  What they do in office affects millions of people.  Their personal lives may not be a good guide to how they would use government to affect the lives of the millions who look to government for leadership.

As a personal aside, Scott Brown is running against a woman in Massachusetts for the Senate.  He has not been an advocate for women in the short time that he has held his Senate seat.  His campaign has diverted attention from his political actions by running TV ads that feature his wife and two daughters. They tell the public that Scott Brown must be good for women since he lives in household full of women.  A senator is not good for women because he has a wife and two daughters.  A senator is good for women when he supports, or proposes, legislation that benefits women.

Every nation is dependent upon the way that they select their leaders.  To the extent that election campaigns are similar to how we sell soap, the best advertising campaign will determine the outcome.  Advertising does not help us to purchase the best soap, and it is a terrible way to select leaders. 

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