Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Voter intimidation

OK, so it's not that intimidating.

I was sent the above by a friend in the US on Election Day 2004. As few will have failed to notice, that turned out to be a very bad day for the kittens. If we want to be all serious and mature about this though, these kind of political threats (please note: I don't really believe that God kills kittens) are ugly politics. In the US mid-term elections where voters are going to the polls today, there have really been a lot of nasty attack ads. The Washington Post calls it 'kitchen-sink time': what the hell! You've chucked everything else at your opposition, why not lob the kitchen-sink as well? Slate.com have collected up the worst ones and you can see who wins the 2006 Political Slime Awards here. British local politics gets really rather dirty - oddly the Lib Dems seems to have a reputation amongst both Tory and Labour local activist for being the worse: utterly unscrupulous in saying exactly what they think people want to hear regardless of how unpleasant that is - but on the national scale the Blair-devil eye's ad:

was enough to cause shock and consternation in 1997 when it was used. But what all of these ads have in common is the negativity tends to be aimed at "what my opponent might/will do to you if you vote for him", not "what I will do to you if you vote for the other guy". The former is just normal scare tactics, the latter is truly intimidation.

So have the representatives of the US Government in Nicaragua stepped over this line in threatening that if the country voted for Daniel Ortega, as it now appears to have done, there would be consequences? The L.A. Times reports:
"[U.S. Ambassador] Trivelli warned that $220 million in U.S. aid to Nicaragua could be imperiled in the event of an Ortega victory, and U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez said U.S. aid to the country would be endangered if "anti-democratic forces" prevailed in Nicaragua. Three Republican congressmen called on the Bush administration to stop people in the U.S. from sending money to Nicaragua should Ortega win."
The pro-Ortega campaign has been heavily bankrolled by Venezuela, so it's not like they are innocent of accepting foreign help, but as much as it pains me to say, Hugo Chavez is playing the smarter game in helping one candidate to campaign better, not threatening the country with sanctions if they vote for the man he dislikes.

All is not fair in love and politics.

1 comment:

Akinoluna said...

Ah, that kitten photo just never gets old!