Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Campaign Ads, Rent is Too Damn High

Down and Dirty: Two weeks left. For better or worse, two weeks left until the election. One race has drawn my attention recently. It is also featured in this morning's Des Moines Register. It is Senate District 37, which covers parts of Madison, Dallas and Warren Counties. And this one isn't for the weak-stomached. One candidate bought a website with the domain of the other candidate. And that candidate is running ads alleging that her opponent is dangerous to children.

Democrat Staci Appel, the wife of Iowa Supreme Court Justice Brent Appel, is running for her second term. She is running an ad. I guess you would have to call it a "scare" ad. I'm not sure what else to call it. In the ad, the announcer says her opponent voted to let abusers buy guns that can be used to kill people while the video shows a child sitting on the floor. I would like to attach the ad, so you can see it. But I can't find it anywhere on-line. It isn't on Appel's website. I also noticed her site doesn't list any events at all for the month of October. Surely, she is holding events, right? Anyone seen the ad anywhere, so I can post it here?

Republican Kent Sorenson is giving up his house seat to run against Appel. He bought www.StaciAppel.com and then let a friend take it over. The Register reports he actually bought about a dozen sites with variations of Appel's name i them. The one anti-Appel site doesn't say anywhere on the site that he bought the domain name for it. The site give its take on Appel's positions on the issues.

What do you think of the race? I'm not really concerned which candidate you like. Here's what I want to know: Does Appel's ad go too far with its scare tactics? And does Sorenson go too far in its deception buying a website with his opponent's name? Do you think one is fine, but not the other? Or are both appropriate in love and politics? O.K, just politics. Probably not much love here:)

Rent is Too Damn High!: Who says politics is boring? Have you seen any of the highlights from the New York governor's debate last night? Democrat Chet Culver and Republican Terry Branstad will REALLY have to work in their final televised debate in Iowa to top New York!

In New York, a candidate (and karate master) named Jimmy McMillan is running as a candidate of the Rent is Too Damn High Party. No, I'm not making this up. And he stole the show during the debate last night. Not only did he keep coming back to his theme that, of course, the rent is too damn high. But when asked if he supports same-sex marriage, he said "If you want to marry a shoe, I'll marry you." I assume that means, yes? Here are some highlights for your viewing pleasure...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I don't have a problem with Appel's ad. It tells me her opponent believes in an absolute view of the 2nd amendment, even in circumstances where possession of a gun is a likely danger to others. That probably tells me a lot about the rest of his politics, too.
What about Sorenson's ad, though? He chides her for spending on a heated sidewalk without telling people that it was part of an ADA-accessibility project. And the plants & trolley were part of downtown's economic development, of which the Capitol complex is a part. I know he wants us to draw the conclusion that she's a reckless spender, but I just don't get that from that ad.
What's permissible? Anything that calls into question someone's politics or values. And that includes showing inconsistencies between what someone says and what they do. (So the ads against Zaun are in bounds, in my opinion, given that he only paid off a 4 1/2 year old judgement 2 weeks before he announced his candidacy). Purely personal attacks are out of bound, but those are rare. That still leaves a lot of room for a campaign to get nasty.
Candidates are not the only ones to get hit by cyber-squatting on domain names. Corporations have had to pay big bucks to get domain names they should have bought in the first place. The fact is, campaigns need to think about that right away. And course, that doesn't begin to get into the issues raised by buying search terms on search engines.
What we need is an Iowa version of Politifact or Fact Check. It's the misleading ads that cause the most problems, and few people have the ability to track down the facts behind the claims made in the ads of state candidates. That could address cases where an opponent has a misleading domain name, too.
It will be interesting to see what happens in these races, at the very least.