Sunday, August 17, 2008

We Need to Demand Better

Abortion seems to be finally showing up in the Presidential race. With the seminar at Rick Warren's Saddleback Church on Saturday night, the question has been most directly asked of each candidate. As reported by the AP:
Obama said he would limit abortions in the late stages of pregnancy if there are exceptions for the mother's health. He said he knew that people who consider themselves pro-life will find his stance "inadequate."

He said the government should do more to prevent unwanted pregnancies and to help struggling new mothers, such as providing needed resources to the poor, and better adoption services.

McCain expressed his anti-abortion stand simply and quickly, saying human rights begin the instant a human egg is fertilized. McCain, who adopted a daughter from Bangladesh, also called for making adoption easier.

Fair enough, and clear. People can take from that what they may and people on each side can actively support or oppose a candidate's position honestly.

However, there is a group out of Virginia that wants to be anything but honest in their discussing the campaign. A group called The Real Truth About Obama is planning on running ads against Sen. Obama that are flat out fake:
The ad features an "Obama-like voice" saying he would make taxpayers pay for all abortions, ensure minors' abortions are concealed from their parents, appoint more liberal Supreme Court justices and legalize the late-term procedure that abortion opponents call "partial-birth" abortion.

Other than the liberal Supreme Court justices (a given), this is complete garbage, and the group knows it. It's a classic case of taking one truth, combining it with a bunch of misrepresentations or exaggerations, and packaging it as one statement. Because the piece of truth is there, people give more credence to the rest of it.

The reason this is even hitting the news now is because the group is trying to be exempted from donation limits. Therefore, it's another moneymaking proposition Barry Goldwater used to warn us all about.

I would love to see a truth in advertising requirement for groups and candidates running political ads. If you want an exemption to limits, you have to submit your ads in advance to a non-partisan, confidential committee to establish whether or not what you're saying is true. Otherwise, limits it is.

Sure, there are those that might say it infringes on free speech, but to be telling such patently false assertions in order to pad your own wallets has nothing to do with strengthening the Republic as intended by the First Amendment. How many Representatives or Senators who would stand on the Floor of their respective Houses and say we must defend the right to lie to voters or constituents?

However, such a piece of legislation is unlikely to ever get to the floor, let along through Congress. Unfortunately, both parties have groups at the fringe who benefit financially from false attacks, and voters still get suckered into this stuff.

It then falls on us as voters to stop responding to it. Whether that will happen any time soon is obviously up in the air, but we have to take our responsibility as citizens seriously and not put up with this garbage.

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