In Bucks county, PA, where I live, we see attack ads, framing and distortion and lies that come from the same mold that spawned the ugly campaign strategies of Karl Rove and Grover "starve-government-to-make-it-small -enough-to-drown-in-a-bathtub" Norquist.
The next few weeks should be spent on local politics, building the base, doing GOTV, and reminding voters which candidates and parties got them in the mess they are now in.
When right wingers oppose big government spending, they're anti tax, anti-socialism, anti-big government. When Democrats oppose gazillion dollar boondoggle projects that will raise taxes, the right wing spin machine accuses them of partisan politics. They did it in congress with the SCHIP program and now they're doing it in Bucks county PA with a courthouse boondoggle.
Already, estimates for the cost of the courthouse have gone up massively, and local Democrat supervisor candidates Marseglia and Santarsiero project that ultimately it will cost over $200 million. With a population of about 600,000, that works out to more than $1300 for a family of four.
Since Bucks county has a huge reputation for only hiring partisan contractors who register and contribute Republican, you have to wonder, well, really, there's no need to wonder at all, if the Republicans win, who will be awarded the contracts for the Courthouse boondoggle.
We see this same pattern nation and world-wide, under the Bush administration-- partisan, contracts put out without bidding, abuses and overcharges and failure to monitor and regulate.
The right wing spin machine that attacks Democrats and independents running against Republican incumbents has a well practiced, well honed attack method that can be highly effective. But it is almost always based on half truths or outright lies.
For example, in Bucks County, right wing attack ads claim that as township supervisor, county supervisor candidate Steve Santarsiero approved the biggest development in his township's history. The background is that a very large tract of land was on track to be developed as a multi-box store mall and industrial park (matrix.) Santarsiero says that he played a major roll in changing the development steamroller so a senior community was put in, with zero increase in school requirements, adding over a $million in revenues, drastically decreasing the impact of the development upon the community, compared to the mall and industrial park that had been planned.
Santarsiero should be applauded as an anti-sprawl hero, but not in the spin twisted world of the Bush/Rove inspired Bucks County Right wingers sponsoring the attack ads which support the Republican candidates.
Then, we have Polly Beere, who is trained and who has experience as a cardiologist and pathologist-- running for county coroner against a podiatrist who is not even licensed to diagnose or treat any parts of the body above the knee. This is more than a matter of competence. Ability to recognize the differences between accidental death, suicide and murder can leave murderers running free. Ability to recognize dangerous disease can leave dangerous megaviruses unchecked. So... why is it necessary for her to send in a letter to the editor correcting failure on the part of the local daily paper to even mention that the "doctor" she is running against is a foot doctor?
We see this over and over again in Bucks county-- that right wing incumbents are dreadfully underqualified, while their opponents on the left are far more educated and competent to do the job, and the right wingers make up for it with desceptive, or dishonest, ugly attack ads.
Bucks county is a microcosm that represents what has been happening, what has been perpetrated upon the US on the macro level-- where, throughout the federal government, former heads of industrial or partisan advocacy groups have been appointed, like wolves in the henhouse, to enforce, or more accurately, distort or ignore regulations.
The latest federal example is the temporary appointee Susan Orr, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Population Affairs (DASPA). She would oversee Title X, the nation's family planning program. Considering that she has made unbelievably anti contraception statements, this appointment is an insult to Americans. Here's what CBS news reported:
In 2000, while working as a policy director at the Family Research Council, she objected to a Washington, D.C., city council bill requiring health insurers to pay for contraceptives. By not including a “conscience clause” allowing employers to withhold contraceptive coverage, Orr said the council would force employers "to make a choice between serving God and serving the D.C. government.
"It's not about choice. It's not about health care. It's about making everyone collaborators with the culture of death," she said.
In April 2001, when President Bush proposed ending contraceptive coverage for federal employees, Orr said, "We're quite pleased because fertility is not a disease. It's not a medical necessity that you have it."
If the Democratic national party is smart (and I'm not saying they are. I am saying that so far, they have been spineless and too corporation and globalism friendly) they will spend a lot of money in the next few weeks fighting the stupid ads the right wingers are running. Here in Bucks county, the ads are misleading, dishonest or half true, deceptive ads about dem candidates raising taxes and failing to protect suburban sprawl. The national dems, who now have loads of money, compared to a flat busted RNC, should be doling about big budgets in close races, with general ads that say something along the lines :