The dirty business of campaigning for US President

I’m watching with fascination as the presidential campaign trail unfolds around the New Hampshire Primary. First of all, the ads. The ads are incredible. Sophisticated, expensive, like movie trailers with action music, each showing the candidate as a Bond-like figure ready to make things right again. Hair is flowing, teeth are white, faces are set in a kindly but determined mask, there are strong graphics and sound effects. That is the shiny side of campaigning. There is also a dark underbelly.

Take Jon Huntsman. He’s a candidate that is seen to have made a surprising come-back in the last few days, swiping 2 votes, neck and neck with Romney, in the tiny Dixville Notch midnight poll. Huntsman is seen as the Republican that Democrats can adhere to. He was US ambassador to China under Obama.

When Romney attacked him about serving under Obama, Huntsman responded by slamming Romney’s attitude as symptomatic of what is truly wrong in the US and how Republican vs Democrat war was taking precedence over the bigger picture. And then out popped rumours that an ad – which accused Huntsman of being anti-American and commented on the adoption of his daughters and which he countered in an emotional address during his campaign – could actually be linked to his own campaign trail, who could have disseminated the ad against him to make him look good…

Romney also put his foot in it when he declared that he “likes to be able to fire people that provide services to me”. His opponents quickly ran with this, using it to tear at his time at Bain Capital, where he was said to have made a lot of money and made a lot of people redundant and was branded a “predatory corporate raider” by a pro-Gingrich group. Another film is said to be about to target Romney for the next round of votes in Carolina about “corporate raiding”, again linked to a group or PAC, not Newt Gingrich directly, the trailer of which looks like it belongs to “Wall Street” or “The International”.

Who knows at this point who did what, but that is how dirty political fighting is done! In comparison, Dana-gate and Gallagher’s Brown-envelope-gate during our own presidential campaign make it look like the debate was just heating up!

This morning a financial expert on CNN made a comment which I thought was relevant in highlighting why this year’s campaign is perhaps a little different due to the current world wide recession: “The Republicans are arguing about the DNA of profit making”. It’s true, in the case of Romney, the Republicans sound like they actually oppose capitalism…

Romney is still in the lead as I type. Meanwhile, the Doomsday clock is ticking on CNN, bringing us closer to the end of the world which is planned on 21 12 2012.


About monicaheck
Monica Heck is a bilingual freelance writer and journalist based in Dublin, Ireland.

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