Archived Story

Party system, dirty ads only hurt our state

Published 12:06am Sunday, November 6, 2011

Over the last couple of weeks, normally mundane trips to the mailbox became something of a daily adventure.

Probably 95 percent or more of what arrives in the mail is quickly tossed in the trash or shredded.

Credit card applications, magazine subscription offers and loose sales circulars for discount furniture are the usual players in the daily mailbox match.

Within seconds of identifying the unwelcome invaders, most are soon discarded. Only the occasional bill or card is saved.

Lately, however, newcomers have made appearances in the pile of predictability and have garnered a little attention, though perhaps not the kind the senders hoped.

The newbies started out simply enough.

“Vote for me!” they cried.

In blazing color, they showed their political parents wearing their finest duds and spouting their best traits.

“I’ll work hard for you!”

“I’ll do things different than the other guy.”

With almost each passing day, the claims diminished and the attacks ramped up, the images more dark and smarmy.

With the first attack spotted — on incumbent Democrat state Sen. Bob M. Dearing — the words on the paper backfired. Rather than feeling anger, my brain almost immediately started picking apart the message.

Now don’t mistake that for blind following on my part.

Clearly, Dearing seems like a nice man. He’s managed to get elected over and over throughout the years.

But that doesn’t necessarily make me just follow him to the polls like the Pied Piper.

As a conservative, political common ground with the state’s Republican party has always seemed to be a natural. But the Mississippi Republican Party — the source of the Dearing character assassination — has embarrassed itself with its crass attacks.

Our dominant two-party system doesn’t work well for two reasons.

First, like most human beings, voters are inherently lazy, so rather than taking the time to learn about candidates, it’s much easier just to classify them all by party — red or blue. And we’re susceptible to being swayed by misleading attack ads.

Second, so-called third party candidates — ones who might like to think independently and may not feel like associating with the political crypts and bloods — find it really tough to get elected.

We’ve all heard of battleground states in presidential politics. Apparently, based on the massive “war” costs, Southwest Mississippi’s state senate district 37 is political high ground.

In the latest comical mail out, the party attempts to tie together Attorney General Jim Hood — who has certainly been no friend of our area — former Gov. Ronnie Musgrove, President Obama and Dearing.

An obviously faked image shows all four men playing poker together. The image looks like something a fifth-grader did as a joke — cutting heads off images and pasting them on the body of another.

In some ways, it’s laughable.

But that’s where we are with two-party politics. We constantly draw lines of division rather than talking about issues.

Clearly the hit pieces on Dearing are costly — extremely costly, even at non-profit postal rates — which means the GOP expects to gain something significant from a victory.

Hopefully, voters will vote for the candidates they feel will work best for the people of Southwest Mississippi.

The answer is much more complicated that just reading a postcard covered with silly images and allegations.

Kevin Cooper is publisher of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3539 or kevin.cooper@natchezdemocrat.com.

  • Anonymous

    My mailbox has been full of these Republican attack ads on Sen. Dearing, which have made me even more determined to vote FOR him. At this point, I know absolutely nothing about Ms. Sojourner except that she runs a dirty campaign and I hope she never runs again.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks Keven, I’ve begged voters to do this for years. Cross party lines if you have to. But study and know fully well who you are voting for. The biased news media we have today is causing all this mud slinging and I, for one, am so sick of it. They refuse to give print or air time to the best qualified for fear the public will come to know them and understand that they ARE the best. Only one news media is bringing these two best qualified candidates to the fore front and I am so proud of their endeavor. Crossing party lines to vote for the best candidate is no sin, no crime, it’s your Constitutional right as an American. I’m registered Republican and my vote goes to Mr. Dearing, the best Democrat in Ms.

  • Anonymous

    CHILL OUT; DON’T LET IT GET YOU DOWN. WHEN IT COME TO LEADERSHIP; HERMAN CAIN CAN TEACH YOU A THING OR TOO. IF THE GODFATHER OF PIZZA CAN’T GET THREW TO YOU; TRY ANN COULTER; YOU KNOW, THAT WOMAN WITH THAT GIRAFFE NECK; NOW, I GUARANTEE SHE CAN BRING YOU UP TO PAR.       

  • Anonymous

    Huh?

  • http://www.natchezdemocrat.com khakirat

    My experience since Nixon and Watergate the republicans are a  party of greed, and power so if a person tells you not to vote down one party line here in Ms. you better pull a flag up of warning!!! Vote for the working mans party the Democratic to get things done in Ms.and if you vote the other way I bet you wished you had so, vote for all Democrat races and you will sleep a lot better!!! 

  • Anonymous

    Booze + MSNBC = dave07deuce07

  • Anonymous

    “But that’s where we are with two-party politics. We constantly draw lines of division rather than talking about issues.”

    So true.  It also doesn’t help that these parties have been successful is politicizing almost every aspect of life and we, the ever-gullible public, lap it right up.  Even the weather has been politicized.  Marriage, education, science, health, you name it.  All political now.

    “And we’re susceptible to being swayed by misleading attack ads.”

    Some folks are but the zealots on either side aren’t swayable with hurricane force winds.  You can’t sway a the devout from their religions.  No matter the proof, the empirical evidence, no matter the facts, they will remain devout to their chosen beliefs.  Those people are the impediments to progress, to problem solving and to knowledge.  It is a Dark Age of politics where dogma has overtaken reason.

  • Anonymous

    Dave and Khaki have just about convinced me to vote Republican down the line!

  • Anonymous

    I will say the Democrats do seem to have the drunk crazy old uncle vote wrapped up pretty tight.

  • Anonymous

    Cain can too threw you. And I s’pect Herman would like some match play wit dat Coulter firecracker. Offerin’ her a job, as it was.    

  • Anonymous

    Deleted, I know, but well worth the strokes – key wise, you unnerstan. 

  • http://www.natchezdemocrat.com khakirat

    It wasn’t convinceing you for I know you and you have always been republican and man if you voted Democrat you could sleep like a kittey cat and know things will get better all around!!!  Democrats do the unpopulur things to help all people where the whigs only help theirselves and their friends get more tax cuts to get richer on the backs of the poor and the middle class!! Now tell the truth!!!