Political Mud Wrestling

Or, in other words, from the sublime to the ridiculous.

As I mentioned late last year, the relative lull we had in political campaigning after the 2008 presidential election/marathon has ended.

And in the past two weeks, the strategy has become: "Lets throw mud (or something else) at the wall, and see what sticks".

No more has this been true than in the First District Congressional race in West Virginia, where seven challengers-one Democrat and five Republican-are trying to unseat long-time congressman Alan Mollohan.

It began a couple of weeks ago with the Democrats, with challenger Mike Oliverio addressing the recent ethics investigation of Mollohan, which has now been closed with no charges levied.  Mollohan, in Parkersburg recently, accused Oliverio of using "Karl Rove tactics", a reference to the consultant to former president George W. Bush.

The Republican candidates have recently entered the fray, attacking not Mollohan but each other. The main candidate running the so-called "attack ads" is Sarah Minear, who has made charges against fellow Republican candidate David McKinley on his record on voting relating to tax increases.  McKinley has recently responded with his own ads claiming Minear supported tax hikes, in contrast to Minear's "no tax hikes" pledge that's been the cornerstone of her campaign.

McKinley's campaign on Wednesday issued a statement which included cartoons of Minear as a political Pinocchio, with an outstretched nose and a cartoon caricature of Jiminy Cricket sitting on the end. Another cartoon, in a separate news release, characterized her nose as that of the cartoon bird shown on boxes of Kellogg's Froot Loops cereal. These comical references were released on the same day McKinley told me the ads Minear was running "attacked his credibility" and hurt members of his family.

I guess the way to counter allegedly hurtful attacks is to return the hurt.  But what it means to the voter, and the casual television viewer/radio listener/newspaper or internet reader is: we have to deal with more of these ads for several more days until the voting is finished.

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