A favourite accusation among politicians is the one about being too “party political.” Voters, they say, are sick of the “negative campaigning” of the other party. What the voter wants is a constructive, cross-party assessment of the problems facing society, they say. But they are wrong, or lying. As this advert shows.
It is, in case you care, part of Carly Fiorina’s campaign for the Californian Republican party senate nomination. She won, obviously. And why? Because she called her opponent a demon sheep, and then dressed someone up as a demon sheep to illustrate exactly what she meant by demon sheep.
This kind of thing just doesn’t happen in Germany, or in fact Europe. Here is a typical European party political broadcast. If you get through it without stabbing yourself in the eye you win a coconut.
Why is positive campaigning like pressing your brain through a sieve? Because it can never, by its very DNA, be honest. In the US, negative campaigning never gets the same stigmatization. It is a country where negative advertizing – “drink Coke, because Pepsi is piss” – is embraced as expressing the soul of competition. What is the collective American psychosis that explains this? I daren’t speculate, but I reckon it has something to do with the existence of the A-Team.
The point is, we the people like to see a dirty fight. It was with a sense of lost opportunity that Britons realized that the “Step Outside Posh Boy” ad campaign – in which Gordon Brown challenged David Cameron to a physical fight – was just an April Fool invented by the Guardian. Like a floozy in an old Western, it would have made the British people feel so special to see Gordon and David just have it out. And you can’t help feeling that Brown would have won.
Why do you think election campaign TV debates have been so enthusiastically imported in Britain and Germany? Because it makes democracy what it really should have been all along – an episode of Blind Date.
Thanks to Amok Mama for that last joke.