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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Representative Kate Knuth and the DFL Engage in Shameless Negative Campaigning

In the past two weeks the Minnesota DFL has mailed four political hit pieces against Lori Grivna in the race for the Minnesota House District 50B seat. The content of these pieces is largely inaccurate or misleading at best, and downright false in many of their assertions. They are also amateurishly tacky in their ham-handed attempts at portraying the target of their feces-slinging as a detestable person through the use of poorly rendered photo clip-art that exhibits the intellect and creativity of a middle-school bathroom stall "artist".

Although these shameless political hit pieces were produced by the Minnesota DFL (i.e. not the official Knuth campaign) the latest bravo sierra from the DFL that hit the mail boxes was followed up a couple of days later by a mail piece from the Knuth campaign that picked up on the themes of the DFL hit-pieces but stressed the positive virtues of the legislatorette-in-orange who is graphically portrayed as an oh-so-clean-and-pure Rebecca of Sunnybrooke Farm figure. The one-two punch comes off as a lame attempt at a "good-cop, bad-cop" ploy that takes some cheap-shots at Lori Grivna yet provides plausible deniability for Knuth.

I'm sure the timing of the piece from the Knuth campaign relative to the DFL hit pieces was purely coincidental and that it was purely coincidental that these specimens of DFL and Knuth campaign material came out past the deadline for "Letter to the Editor" submissions to appear before the election. I'm also sure I spotted Elvis working as a greeter at the local Wal Mart.

Keep in mind that this is the same Knuth campaign that loudly decried "negative campaigning" by Lori Grivna the last time around, citing mail pieces that were sent out by the Minnesota GOP (and promptly publicly denounced by Grivna). At least the GOP pieces were, for the most part, factually accurate and at least attempted (though admittedly not always successfully) to show a modicum of cleverness and/or creativity.

For the record, Lori Grivna runs a campaign that is positive almost to a fault. Several times during this and the last campaign some of us in the Conservative community have urged her to be more aggressive ("take the gloves off and put the brass knuckles on") in countering some of the tacky actions and bogus claims of the Knuth campaign, but Lori is just not that kind of person. Perhaps something like this would be an "appropriate" response to the Knuth/DFL propaganda mill:

It's a damn shame what the Knuth campaign and her supporters have gotten away with, and are apparently continuing to get away with, without a response in kind from the Grivna campaign.

It would be nice to advocate a vote for a candidate based solely on their positive character traits and the validity of their positions on issues. Unfortunately, due to many factors (political correctness, the mainstream media, conflicting interests within the parties, the apathy and lack of interest by much of the electorate, the perceived need of campaigns to "dumb things down" to the public school educational level of many voters, etc.) the endorsed candidates often hold compromise positions of the various factions within their parties.

A political campaign is a combination of information dissemination and advertising - the candidate and their positions is the product that is being sold to the voters (hopefully figuratively). The product being advocated, by definition, is better than the alternative; therefore the other product is inferior. Just like people learn in different ways, people make up their minds on which candidate to vote for based on different criteria. Some are convinced by how much good a candidate promises to do in office while others are swayed by how harmful the other candidate is to their interests. All too often the potential "badness" of the opposing candidate is potentially more damaging to the interests of a voter than the good the positive things the preferred candidate brings to the table.

I have no problem with what a lot of political campaigns on both sides term "negative campaigning". The dirty little non-secret is that it is extremely effective if done properly and is often reasonably effective even if done improperly. This is why it is so commonly done, though most politicians and their campaign managers don't possess the anatomical attributes to officially endorse or condone it. I fully advocate campaigns to aggressively go after the opposition with serious analysis, harsh legitimate criticism of their record, biting sarcasm, parody, or ridicule that goes right up to "the line" (or even crossing it if the other side does so first) based on intellectual honesty and logic. If the targeted candidate or their supporters feel that the opponent's portrayal is based on flawed logic or an incorrect interpretation of the facts they can respond to it with their own analysis/spin and let the arguments that are the most convincing to the voters win the day.

Although this blog is not a campaign organization, I (as well as others on this blog) have been very hard on Kate Knuth as she, almost without exception, advocates policies and views that are in diametric opposition to ours. The criticisms have been based on her stated and demonstrated beliefs, her qualifications (or lack thereof) for the position, and her legislative record. Although I believe that the legislation she supports is harmful to the best interests of the citizens of the state and the country I (and I feel safe to say the other contributors to this blog) do not feel she is evil or is intentionally out to destroy all that is good.

Kate Knuth is a cordial, well schooled (which is not the same thing as well educated), young woman who I believe is genuinely doing what she feels is the right thing. She is, however, very misguided politically, naive with respect to the real world, sorely lacking in knowledge of economics and science, and does not fully grasp the concepts of the role of government in a free society on which our country was founded. This does not make her a "bad" person, but rather one who should not be anywhere near where laws are enacted other than as a spectator. Her qualifications, positions, and legislative record provide a target rich environment for serious critique, satire, and ridicule as a vehicle to get the word out on why she should not be re-elected (she should not have been elected in the first place, but there's nothing we can do about that).

I'll have more on the specifics of the latest slimy campaign tactics of the DFL and the Knuth campaign in a later post (Thrifty Scot has already done a fine job de-bunking, for the second time no less, one of the earlier cheap-shot efforts by the DFL for the benefit of Kate Knuth). In fairness to Representative Knuth, some of the actions taken by her campaign are likely driven by her campaign management more than her personally, though she as the candidate is ultimately responsible for them.

Dump Kate in '08!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nothing new here. What I find interesting is that the DFL is so strong in this area and they wine about negative campaigning, but THEY are the best at it. And their timing is this way each season for their hit pieces.
I value your attempts at reason, but people don't vote reasonably in this area, haven't for years.

10/26/2008 7:47 PM  

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