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As I get older, I get more and more annoyed by people who try to scare me...
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jducoeur
... today's example being the amorphous collection of entities that make up the Ed Markey campaign.

Look, I was planning on voting for the guy anyway. Gomez appears better than the average Republican nowadays, but that's damning with faint praise: the areas in which I agree with him are greatly outweighed by the ones in which I don't. Sadly, it appears impossible to be a Republican centrist in these times, and I've stopped seeing people who are trying, so I mostly want the party to die a well-deserved death. (At which point, we might be able to get a functional center-right party again, to restore some proper balance.)

But damn, I am getting irritated by the Markey junk mail. I believe we've gotten at least five flyers so far this week (two today), all of them Big and Glossy and Oh-So-Terrifying about all the ways in which Gomez will sell everyone out. They don't even mostly admit to being from the Markey campaign per se: instead, they're from a variety of groups, especially the MA Democratic Party and the "League of Conservation Voters", which sounds like nothing so much as a cynical attempt to make it sound like even the conservatives are against Gomez.

Heck, they're not even as effective as they would like to believe: telling me that Markey wants to keep Medicare unchanged and reduce taxes for seniors mostly reminds me of the irresponsibility of the modern Democratic Party. (Which is better than the sheer visceral evil of the right-wing Republicans, but it sure doesn't make me enthusiastic.)

The only saving grace is that it'll be over soon, and isn't as mind-numbingly horrible as the 2012 elections. But I have to say, the overall effect is mostly to make me dislike Markey, simply because I am increasingly revolted by the people behind him...
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The League of Conservation Voters is a national organization with state branches, founded in the late 1960s to get more pro-environmental candidates elected. They also do lobbying, and publish the voting records of individual representatives and senators. I would never have associated them with "conservatives" (as opposed to "conservationists"). What is galling to me about Markey's campaign is that it has interfered with his job as my representative in Congress - he has not showed up for a number of important "conservation" votes (such as the one on the Keystone XL pipeline) because he's been touring around trying to become senator.

OTOH, given the makeup of the House these days I doubt his presence would have changed anything. (I'm not in his district, so my opinion isn't as relevant as yours; I still wish Capuano had gone for the Senate seat, though....)

I totally agree. We need a genuine Liberal party, center-right but recognizing the need for a social safety net, civil rights and liberties. All the RINOs would join, and more would come out of the woodwork. I would support on many if not most issues.

Re: Center right party.

Yaas. I would really like to have some *choice* in my elections, instead of having a party I disrespect battling against one I loathe...

OTOH, one of the mailings we got last week had a big glossy photo of Gomez on the front that described him as a pro-life, anti-gun control, pro-any-size-magazine-on-your-gun conservative Republican...and it wasn't until I turned it over that I could tell if that was supposed to convince me to vote for him or against him.

Yaas. Part of the problem, I suspect, is that both campaigns have been somewhat hijacked by outside forces, which are generally more extreme than the candidates themselves. Regardless of whether Gomez is himself a crazy extremist, his base is kind of demanding him to be one...

Actually, I think we have a functional center-right party. It’s the Democratic Party, which recently passed healthcare reform similar to a plan Nixon proposed, and which would be thrilled with a tax rate structure as progressive as Reagan’s.

What we need is a functional center-left party. But even without that, I’d say letting the far-right nationalist party wither on the vine would still be an improvement.

PS — I’m more or less with you on being tired of the fearmongering, by the way.

Edited at 2013-06-15 07:02 am (UTC)

The joy of soft money. Most if not all of this is from outside the official campaign, and not supposed to be coordinated with he official campaign. Much of what I see is anti-Gomez, not pro-Markey, and since the goal is obvious in any case there's little need for coordination. What I'd like to see are disavowals, denunciations, and demands from the campaigns that these things stop, but that won't happen.

In fact, I doubt that the actual campaigns are involved in the negative crap at all, because it totally fails to tie in with their message lines, and they're quite consistent otherwise.

This. I spoke with a couple of candidates last year, and I told them that such ads were HURTING their case with me. Any claims by them that it wasn't their fault, were meet with "You are seeking a position of leadership, if you can't get your allies to do what you want, why should I believe you have the leadership abilities to affect your opponents?

Do remember - campaign tactics are used because they *WORK*.

And don't confuse "effective on you" for "effective" - mass mailings are looking for statistical returns on the investment, not individual ones. You already declared that you're not in the target audience, as you were going to vote for the guy anyway. They (reasonably) expect you to toss out the mailing and not pay any attention to it.

That campaigns play on fear is, alas, a result of the fact that humans respond to fear - our primary decision process is designed for the, "Oh, sh*t! Jaguar!" case. What you see is really a result of human nature, not some oddity of modern campaigns. To change it, you must change the thought processes of the electorate.

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