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Campaigns continue to become more negative

By Allen Lottinger -   Nov 09, 2006

Except for one runoff, the mid-term election races are over in Louisiana and itís safe to say that not many people regret it.

It seems that election campaigns get dirtier and dirtier as candidates get more and more desperate to attract votes. Or rather, to get voters to vote against their opponents.

Yes, negativity is the name of the game in modern-day politics. What a candidate plans to do for his constituents, it seems, is not nearly as important as what his opponent did that was bad. Do people really vote more against a person than for a person? We doubt it.

There is nothing wrong with bringing out the shortcomings of an opponent if it would affect his ability to serve well. But it should not be the centerpiece of a candidateís campaign.

In the future, we are tempted to favor candidates who take the high road in their campaigns. That is those who concentrate on telling the people what they will do if they win. They should spend no more than one-fourth of their time criticizing opponents and then only if the criticism pertains to something that will detract from holding office.

If they canít spend three-fourths of their time talking about the good things they plan to do, then they should not be elected. Obviously they donít have enough good points to make them a good public official.

There are many good candidates out there who conduct negative campaigns. That is because they do not always take control of their campaigns. They hire people to conduct them and let them take charge.

If a candidate cannot control the nature of his campaign, it is not likely that he will control the way he represents his constituents if he wins. So that in itself is a good reason for voting against him.

We should all consider how a candidate campaigns in the future when we are trying to decide how to vote. It tells a lot about how that person would conduct his office if elected.

Election had its good points

On the good side, this election, in many ways, showed the world how a democracy works. Within that framework, we can make changes in who runs our government peacefully, even though we may say bad things about the other guys.

The Republicans had control of the administrative branch and both houses of Congress before the election. Now the Democrats will participate more fully with control of the House, which gives us a lame-duck House until the Dems take official charge of it in January.

Hopefully, that lame-duck session will give Louisiana a greater stake in offshore oil royalties which we sorely need to repair our coast. The House had passed a generous bill that would have provided some $6 billion during the next 10 years for that purpose and a significant amount thereafter.

The Senate was not so generous. It would have provided us with offshore royalties only on new production which would have taken until 2017 to produce any revenue to help. Meanwhile, our coast could well disappear.

But a compromise was in the offing. We all hope that compromise will still take place in December, the last month in the current session of Congress and the last month in which the Republicans control the House.

Just what effect the election results have on it remains to be seen. Hopefully, the Democrats and Republicans will unite to give us what we are due and what we need. After all, our coast provides most of the offshore oil and commercial fisheries produced in the U. S. A. It is a vital part of our country.

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