Tuesday, November 07, 2006

An attack ad we can all enjoy!

American voters are going to the polls today to elect a new Congress (all of the House, and a third of the Senate), and I'm sure they are all sick of the attack ads deployed by candidates in elections at all levels -- local, state and federal. But, here's one attack ad that we can all enjoy; this news comes via the good folks at Inside HigherEd:

The University of Chicago Press this spring published In Defense of Negativity: Attack Ads in Presidential Campaigns. John G. Geer, the author, is a political scientist at Vanderbilt University, and he argues that “positive ads” tend to focus on personality, while “negative ads” serve a purpose because they are more likely to focus on policy questions.

When Jeremy D. Mayer, an associate professor of public policy at George Mason University, was asked to appear on a panel about Geer’s book, Mayer couldn’t help himself: He prepared an attack ad about Geer. The ad — now featured on the blog of the Chicago press — criticized Geer as a “flip flopper,” questioned whether his CV omits secret details, and cited RateMyProfessors.com ratings as questioning his teaching ability. The charges — all false — allegedly come from “Academic Veterans for the Truth.”

Geer said in an e-mail Monday that he found Mayer’s ad funny: “If one defends negativity, one must be willing to be ‘attacked.’ “