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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Candidates go hog-wild with political attacks

    Politics is a dirty business. That’s no secret. In Arizona’s race between incumbent Republican Sen. Jon Kyl and Democratic challenger Jim Pederson, the two are in a race to see just how dirty they can get, like two pigs rolling and reveling in a shallow pool of oil and money.ÿ

    The race will go down as the most expensive in Arizona history. Though Kyl was up by as many as 17 points just a few weeks ago, the wide gap has narrowed to just 10 points in the most recent polls. This increasingly heated contest is quickly becoming a mud-slinging event of disgusting proportions.

    According to the Annenberg Political Fact Check, a nonpartisan, nonprofit advocacy group based out of the University of Pennsylvania, Kyl and Pederson have both put out ads that distort the other’s record and position on key issues.ÿ

    Pederson’s ad, “”Changed,”” falsely charges Kyl with “”vot(ing) oil corporations billions in special tax breaks,”” citing eight votes, of which the study claims only two can actually be claimed as “”tax breaks.”” Kyl voted for a tax credit for very specific oil producers (those who used marginal wells) in 2004 and another royalty relief provision, presided over by the Clinton administration, that will profit the oil industry as much as $10 billion over 25 years.

    This ignores Kyl’s vote as one of only 12 against the 2005 Energy Bill. He said it was “”full of provisions that will distort competitive markets for energy through subsidies (and) tax breaks,”” joining the likes of Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Harry Reed (D-R.I.) in his opposition.ÿ

    Of course, in the tit for tat world of politics, Kyl is not holding back any of his own sucker punches, claiming Pederson is “”pushing a trillion dollar tax hike”” in an ad titled “”Piggy,”” misconstruing Pederson’s opposition to removal of the estate tax as a desire to raise taxes. The ad also flashes images of Pederson, a pig and John Kerry in an attempt to draw parallels between the three.ÿ

    Yeah, so big deal. There’s nothing new about politicians skewing the lens that’s on their opponent for their own gain. Right?

    While that may be true, the level of falsification is more troubling than usual. Both candidates seem completely willing to simply make things up, passing up the more pedestrian tricks of skewing facts for complete replacement of facts with their own fake figures.

    The race has garnered national attention for a seat that undoubtedly has major implications in the make-up of the Senate. As such, the intense scrutiny placed over both camps should have made them more careful as to what they claim about the other. However, this has not been the case, and one can only assume that with the gap between the two closing, the fiction each candidate plays off as fact will only increase.ÿ

    Negative advertising as a mode of transferring false images and opinions has been an important political tool, most recently in the 2004 presidential election when John Kerry was “”swift-boated”” through smear campaigns directed by independent groups not directly affiliated with any political campaign. However, in this case, the campaigns themselves are involved in foisting dishonest information upon the public.ÿ

    Whatever their personal political persuasion, voters should be sickened by the disregard for fact that both campaigns have shown. It’s not an issue of Democrat and Republican, left versus right, when wealthy political aspirants put winning their election over honesty to constituents.ÿ

    With a race that means so much to the national political landscape, and when each seat means so much in a highly polarized, narrowly contested Congress, it will be important for voters of all shades and preferences to make sure what they hear and what they believe are truly one and the same. Voters must make sure what they believe in is represented in their choice. It is readily apparent that the candidates themselves will not be supplying them with such information. They are too busy playing in the dirt.

    Shurid Sen is a political science senior. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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