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Chan Lowe: The truth behind the campaigns

The job of a campaign is to market the candidate in such a way that he gets elected. This may or may not have anything to do with presenting real answers for solving the country’s problems. Usually, it doesn’t.


To attract votes, you go with your strengths—which is why the Obama re-election campaign is stressing the disparate American special interest groups that would not be ignored during a second Obama term, rather than focusing on the economy.


By the same token, Mitt Romney—who doesn’t have much to show for himself except that he was able to become very wealthy as a businessman—is trying to parlay his financial status into a form of proof that he would know what to do about the economy if installed in the Oval Office.


The other job of a campaign is to attack your opponent’s strengths. Fully aware that Romney can’t run on his scintillating character, a right-wing super-PAC is thinking of launching a scorched-earth campaign to revive the Obama-Jeremiah Wright connection in voters’ minds, an effort the New York Times characterizes as “swift-boating on steroids.” From the Obama camp come ads showcasing bewildered American mill hands thrown out of work—and whole towns devastated—by a stroke of some remote, inhuman pen at Bain Capital, Romney’s former hedge fund.


The solutions to America’s problems rest with people of good will working together to advance an agenda that favors no party or candidate, and that puts the country first. Evidently, we as a people have not yet reached a point of such desperation that our leaders would rather concentrate on such an agenda than tear each other apart in hopes of a temporary advantage. Sadly, when we do reach that point, we’ll look back and wish we hadn’t been so easily manipulated by clever marketing.

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