Sunday, November 06, 2005

The Politics of Mindless Hate

The Politics of Mindless Hate
This Schwarzenegger/Sesame Street mashup has been making the rounds.

While at first I was pleased to see a mainstream politician (in this case, California Treasurer Phil Angelides) making use of new technologies and viral marketing, I was dismayed that the actual Web site was an exercise in the kind of mindless hate that now seems to characterize both major political parties.

Schwarzenegger Street could have attacked the Gubernator on substantive lines, such as his willingness to accept donations from big corporate donors despite his supposed stance as an outsider, his failure to fix California's fiscal issues, or even questioning whether he's taken the job seriously enough (given his other job as editor-in-chief of a bodybuilding magazine).

Instead, it simply paints Schwarzenegger as being in cahoots with the other Evil Republicans (TM), including George Bush, Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, and Bill O'Reilly.

This may very well be a winning strategy--California is heavily Democratic, and energizing the base a la Karl Rove may be enough to secure victory.

Yet I can't help but feel that stooping to smear campaigns and character assassination will simply increase the distaste that most voters feel towards all politicians.

Just because Rove's evil genius has been successful in previous campaigns doesn't mean that the Democrats should adopt the same tactics.

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