During Friday’s Rotary Club meeting, Lt. Gov. Jari Askins was asked if there could be anything done about the amount of negative advertising and campaigning politicians sometimes stoop to.

Askins, who fell victim to some heavy duty unfavorable ads on television during last year’s elections, said she is also frustrated at the amount of negative campaigning by politicians.

“I understand when there is a certain amount of spin put on a candidates voting record, but what I despise is when a total untruth is told,” she said.

She said today’s political campaigns aren’t anything close to what they were like several years ago.

“It’s unfortunate we can’t go from town to town, letting people get to know us personally,” she said.

The biggest problem with negative campaigns, she added, was the fact that voters tend to stay away from the polls due to their disgust with the adverse ads they see.

Remember the days when politicians actually valued your vote? They would kiss babies, have their picture taken with the local dignitaries and sometimes they would be caught on camera actually listening to voters’ concerns.

Askins said she believes the amount of negative campaigning in the state is a direct result of the battle lines drawn by both parties on a national level.

According to the Wikipedia website, “mudslinging” — as negative campaigning is often referred to — has been called "as American as Mississippi mud."

However, negative campaigning isn’t anything new to American politics. There are documented cases dating as far back as the presidential race in 1884.

Negative campaigning is nothing more than an insult to the voter’s intelligence. When a candidate or political group comes out with outlandish claims against a candidate or issue, they’re saying, “We believe you are so dumb you’re going to believe this and vote the way we want you to.”

So, what can be done? I say hit them where it hurts the most — the pocketbook.

Many campaigns garnish millions of dollars for a political war chest and most of that money is spent on campaign advertising, which is negative in nature.

Every advertisement, whether it’s on television, radio or in the newspaper, must bear a disclaimer stating who or what group has paid for that ad.

So, I say if any group or candidate presents a claim against a candidate or issue that can’t be proven true, the ethics commission has the right to fine them a huge amount of money for the lie they have propagated.

The money raised from those fines could go toward upgrades and improvements to our election boards.

After getting hit with a couple of $25,000 fines for negative advertising politicians will get back to kissing babies and gaining our votes and trust the old fashioned way.

—72—

Remember to bring in your historic photos for the Democrat’s Pictorial History Book we are publishing to commemorate Pauls Valley’s Sesquicentennial.

On Friday, Doris Brenner brought in some real nice photos showing some dance studio’s dance recitals. She also had some old photos of the PVHS Glee Club and Choir.

The deadline to submit photos is May 17. So get up in that attic and dig through those trunks of photos.

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