Welcome to the United States. Where we advocate for fair fights and democracy but do we actually hold our own political groups to those same standards?
Muckraking is an old school sport. Every election season, the citizens of America and the world can be guaranteed to hear some of the dirtiest fighting words allowed to be broadcast on a public media outlet.
The 2012 American Presidential election was an especially dirty fight. People all over the world were tired of hearing advertisements put out by Super PACs. These ads were all notorious for cutting down opponents and using every backwards form of defamation possible. By the end of it all though, did they really have any effect on the election as a whole?
According to http://www.csmonitor.com/ the top seven PACs involved in the political ad fights were Restore Our Future (R), American Crossroads (R) , Priorities USA Action (D), Winning Our Future (R) , Majority PAC (D), Club For Growth Action, and House Majority PAC (D). Each of these Political Action Committees spent millions of dollars to try to influence the American people to either vote for or against specific candidates. Was this money well spent? Or was it just used to attack the other side with false accusations?
We’ll begin this journey looking at the American Crossroads ad titled “Not Optimal” The main argument against Barack Obama in this ad is that he was quoted saying that the September 11, 2001 attacks and the loss of any more American lives is simply “Not optimal.”
After watching the interview in which this statement was found, the scandalous quote was actually in response to a question about current campaign points compared to past campaign points. The first point was “We don’t have to trade our values and ideals for our security.” In response, Obama said, “No, we don’t have to…” The full quote that was referenced in the American Crossroads Ad was, “There are times where there are bad folks on the other side of the world and you’ve got to make a call, and it’s not optimal…”
Now, American Crossroads and the Super PACs that support the Republican party candidates are not the only ones at fault in this race. Priorities USA Action made this ad claiming that Mitt Romney was at fault for the death of a woman. While the Republican side of things has been caught using quotes out of context, the Democratic side has been just as guilty of taking situations out of context and using them against the other side.
With the 2012 election season finally over, it is still hard to say who the real winners were. Was the money from these Super PACs spent well and did the ads do their jobs?
Take into consideration, for example, Karl Rove.
Rove donated more than $1 billion to Political ad campaigns and saw almost no return. Nearly every candidate Rove and his investors donated to lost their race this year.
Will investors learn from things like this? Maybe we will see a little bit less of the Super PAC phenomenon next election season. Or, maybe investors like Rove will only feel the need to try harder.