SACRAMENTO, Calif., USA - As political campaigns heat up, so do the television advertisements that would seem to be even more wildly misleading than in the past.
Hard to believe? Probably not.
This TV ad - in the race for California State Treasurer, for Godsakes - is a good example of ugly, deliberately misleading campaigning:
What's wrong with that ad?
Well, to start, it's beyond a stretch to blame Bill Lockyer personally for problems with pension systems, issues with government accountability, that some businesses have left the state, that unemployment is up - and state spending might be 15 times higher than it was 37 years ago. (That number is very suspect, by the way.)
But if that number is arguably true, well, could it be that the 37 million people who live in California today, (compared to 20.8 million 37 years ago) live in a world that is more complex - and expensive?
Regardless, Bill Lockyer didn't pass all the state bond issues, impose expensive federal mandates or push the state to pay for more and more services (and solve problems). Check his record. Oh, that would uncover how he has really performed as a public servant. Oops, silly thought. Sorry.
The ad, of course, is simply part of an equally simple (or is it simpleton?) nationwide strategy that says throw out anyone who has any experience in government and replace them with anyone who doesn't. (Check the results in the U.S. Senate GOP primary in Delaware for confirmation.)
And if the person running has no experience but is really wealthy (think Meg Whitman, Carly Fiorina), well, that's even better.
As a journalist/witness to what has happened to the collective effectiveness of the California State Legislature since term limits have been imposed (by voters), I would suggest that this strategy of throw out the bums is simply nuts.
Just plain old nuts. No need to embellish.
Perhaps after the elections some people will be able to fling their Tea Bags in the air and feel good about this. But will it be good for the public? Good for the state? Good for democracy?
Of course not.
But then we can blame the next batch of elected officials for all our troubles.
And that is just plain old nuts again.