The Boston Globe
has a good article on this.
The whole premise of a smear is that if you can cripple a voter's basic trust in a candidate, you can probably turn his vote
As the Boston Globe says, this fact makes crooked politicians look for dirt
The idea is to find some piece of personal information that is tawdry enough to raise doubts, repelling a candidate's natural supporters. It's not hard to turn up something a candidate would rather not see on the front page of The Boston Globe.
Voters desensitized to normal sins
But this smear game has been played so often that is getting increasingly hard to get voters to switch based on relatively "normal" sins.
Bush's focusing on Iraq before 9/11, Reagan's Iran/Contra and Kerry's anti war speeches are examples of true "sins" that failed to move many voters.
But truth is not necessarily part of a smear
If a lie is repeated often enough, it may make undecided voters believe there is something to the rumor
Smearing McCain in 2000
In the 2000 primaries, "with few substantive differences between Bush and McCain, the campaign was bound to turn personal. The situation was ripe for a smear."
Rove then created the Push poll
specifically to smear McCain
A push poll is where, using the guise of opinion polling, disinformation about a candidate or issue is planted in the minds of those being 'surveyed'. Push-polls are designed to shape, rather than measure, public opinion.
Would you vote for someone who fathered an illegitimate black child ?
Bush's campaign strategists, including Karl Rove, devised a push poll against John McCain. South Carolina voters were asked "Would you be more likely or less likely to vote for John McCain for president if you knew he had fathered an illegitimate black child?". They had no interest in the actual percentages in the poll, the goal was to suggest that [McCain had a black child]. This was particularly vicious since McCain was campaining with his adopted [dark skinned] Bangladeshi daughter
Bush Sr. had previously dismissed Karl Rove from his campaign due to similar gutter politics, but Jr loves his, in his own words,"turd blossom"
Rove kept on smearing McCain, and used Ted Sampley to do it. Ted is a known vet with a chip on his shoulder for other vets who got famous. Sampley had even smeared Bush Sr. in his 1997 tale: George Bush Parachutes Again to Exorcise Demons of Past Betrayal
Doing business with a guy who smeared your own father ?
That is so LOW!
As Republicans like to remind us, we need character and integrity in the White House. Rove, and Bush who keeps him as his top advisor, obviously don't have any of those.
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