Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, August 4, 2012

MVNews this week:  Page 18



 Mountain Views News Saturday August 4, 2012 

MAKING SENSE by Michael Reagan 


Dirty political campaigns are as old as the Founding Fathers.

Thomas Jefferson and John Adams are said to have thrown the 
first mud at each other in the presidential election of 1800.

Jefferson accused his old pal -- who was then president -- of being 
a fool, a hypocrite, a criminal and a tyrant.

Adams returned fire, calling his vice president and challenger 
Jefferson "a mean-spirited, low-lived fellow, the son of a half-
breed Indian squaw, sired by a Virginia mulatto father."

I don't know what the average citizen of 1800 thought about 
those lies and name-calling, which have been an ugly fixture of 
our politics ever since.

But I do remember how California voters and the media reacted to a dirty TV ad that Pat Brown ran 
against my father in 1966, when Brown was running for an unprecedented third term as governor.

I don't recall the exact words, but the ad featured Gov. Brown talking to a black child in his early teens. 
Brown tells the kid he's running for governor and the kid asks whom he's running against.

"I'm glad you asked," Gov. Jerry Brown's father replied, "I'm running against an actor. And did you 
know it was an actor that shot Abraham Lincoln?"

Few people actually saw the ad, because it only ran for a brief time on a small station in Northern 
California. But the news media got hold of it and, though it's hard to believe today, they were appalled 
that Gov. Brown would stoop so low in a campaign ad.

The voting public was equally appalled, which is equally hard to believe today. Within 72 hours Ronald 
Reagan went from being behind in the polls to being ahead. He won 57 percent of the vote and 
the rest is world history.

The scary thing is, President Obama or Mitt Romney or one of their political action committees could 
run a sleazy ad like Pat Brown's today and the media wouldn't criticize it, they would defend it.

"Well, it's true he was an actor," the media would rationalize. "John Wilkes Booth was an actor, too. 
What are you bitching about?" Voters would accept the ad, too.

That's how much we've changed in less than 50 years. The slime-ball politics that used to appall everyone 
in the 1960s is the norm today.

We accept the negative ads, name-calling and lies as part of the way the political game is played, then 
we sit back and gripe about how our politics have gone into the dumpster.

But we can't have it both ways. It's like going to the Indianapolis 500 hoping to see the accidents -- 
and then complaining about the accidents. It's like going to a cage fight -- and complaining about the 

Today we no longer have political ads that tell the truth about a candidate or the issues. We have negative 
ads that spin, distort and take words out of context.

We can complain about the news media. But Fox News, MSNBC, what's left of CNN and the others 
feast on dirty politics. They don't want their banquet to end.

It's up to us the public to clean things up. But first we have to change. The politicians are giving us 
exactly what we want.

If we really want more truth in politics, if we really want less negativity and fewer lies, we have to make 
it clear to the politicians that we no longer want to watch their grubby cage fight.

Until we do, we'll be fed the same old dirt.

Copyright ©2012 Michael Reagan. Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan, a political 
consultant, and the author of "The New Reagan Revolution" (St. Martin's Press). He is the founder and 
chairman of The Reagan Group and president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Visit his website at 

HOWARD Hays As I See It

“People of Berlin -- and people of the world -- the scale of our challenge is great. The 
road ahead will be long. But I come before you to say that we are heirs to a struggle 
for freedom. We are a people of improbable hope. With an eye toward the future, 
with resolve in our hearts, let us remember this history, and answer our destiny, and 
remake the world once again.” - Presidential candidate Barack Obama, 

to a crowd of 240,000 in Germany – July, 2008

“Kiss my ass.” - Rick Gorka, spokesman for Mitt Romney, to a reporter trying to ask 
a question in Poland

– July, 2012

 You probably already know where I’m going with this column. First, though, I’d like to report I 
searched in vain for the “mountain of studies” referred to by Greg Welborn in his column last week 
which have “proven conclusively” that gun control laws “increase the rate of violent crimes”. 

 A 2007 study from the Violence Policy Center shows the opposite: the more permissive the gun 
laws of a state, the more likely you’ll be killed by a gun. The five states with the most permissive laws 
(Nevada, Alabama, Alaska, Louisiana and Mississippi) have the highest annual per capita rates of 
gun deaths – between 16.21 and 19.87 per 100,000 residents. The five states with the most restrictive 
laws (New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Hawaii) have the lowest rates of gun 
deaths, between 2.82 and 5.07 per 100,000 (the national average is 10.34).

 In California we hear daily reports of gun violence, while our laws are among the more restrictive 
in the nation – much tighter than those in neighboring Arizona. But in Arizona, there’s a 67% better 
chance of being killed by gunfire than in California.

 Molly Ivins suggested that for those out on the street insisting on concealed carry, there should be 
a requirement for some sort of visible identification to let us know they’re coming – like maybe a little 
beanie with a propeller on top.

 Mitt Romney’s European trip got off to an inauspicious start, with spokesmen denying a report in 
The London Daily Telegraph that an unnamed adviser suggested Romney, unlike President Obama, 
was able to appreciate a shared “Anglo-Saxon heritage”.

 It went down from there. He seemed under the impression Londoners would care about his 
concerns over the upcoming Olympics. Responding to the overseer of the Salt Lake City games, 
British Prime Minister David Cameron pointed out, “We are holding an Olympic Games in one of 
the busiest, most active, bustling cities anywhere in the world. I mean, of course it’s easier if you hold 
the Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere.” London Mayor Boris Johnson roused his audience 
with, “There’s a guy called Mitt Romney who wants to know whether we’re ready. Are we ready?” As 
the crowd of 100,000 shouted “Yes!” it was more like an arena rock concert than an Olympic torch-
lighting ceremony. (Both Cameron and Johnson are members of the Conservative Party.)

 James Bond was there to bring the Queen to the games. He should have taken a moment to 
explain to Romney that one doesn’t disclose to the press and public that one has met with the head 
of Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service, M16. A staffer might have explained that with Britain roiled 
by the LIBOR interest-rigging scandal, it might not have been the best time to attend a fundraiser 
($50,000 - $75,000 a head) thrown by one of its major players, Barclay’s Bank. (Eleven Members of 
Parliament moved to recommend Barclay’s spend its time restoring confidence, rather than raising 
funds for an American presidential candidate.)

 In the Middle East, we had a Palestinian official speak favorably of Israelis – at least relative to Mitt 
Romney. At a $25,000-a-head fundraiser in Jerusalem, Romney opined that the vast disparity in per-
capita income between residents of the Jewish state and its Palestinian neighbors was due to “culture” 
(“and a few other things”, he allowed).

 “It is a racist statement”, said senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat. “It seems to me this man 
lacks information, knowledge, vision and understanding of this region and its people. He also lacks 
knowledge about the Israelis themselves. I have not heard any Israeli official speak about cultural 

 There was no reference to a 2009 World Bank report that “The largest impediment to private sector 
investment in the West Bank and Gaza remains the restrictions on movement and access to resources 
and markets imposed by the Government of Israel”. Rather, explained Romney, it was “the hand of 
providence”. Erekat warned that such statements “will serve extremists, unfortunately”.

 Romney lavished praise on Israel’s universal healthcare system, which has demonstrated better 
outcomes than ours in the U.S. and, he noted, at a much lower cost relative to the nation’s GDP. It’s 
based on the “individual mandate” similar to the one Romney successfully put in place as Governor 
of Massachusetts, and similar to the one in the Affordable Care Act he’s promised to trash once he 
becomes president.

 If Romney hoped to score points with Lech Walesa in Poland, the 700,000-member Solidarity 
union made its position clear by decrying “Mitt Romney’s support for the attacks against trade unions 
and labor rights”, and declaring “our solidarity with American workers and trade unions.” 

 AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka added, “I wish Romney would pause and learn the lessons 
of the Polish labor movement’s courageous resistance to communism rather than just treat Poland as 
yet another photo-op.”

 It was the press corps being offered little more than “another photo-op” that led to the testy words 
cited atop this column. Fox News host Greta Van Susteren complained, “There has been no press 
access to Governor Romney since we landed in Poland”, and likened the experience to being in “a 
modified petting zoo”.

 On his European trip four years ago, candidate Barack Obama gave us an idea what his presidency 
would be like. As I see it, Mitt Romney (especially through spokesman Gorka) has done the same.