American people deserve clean presidential campaigns

Published 7:15 am Wednesday, August 15, 2012

As the final flames flickered to signal the end of the Olympics, another race with likely many more subplots and of far more importance to this country was just heating up.

This past weekend the Republican presidential ticket crystallized when GOP presumptive nominee Mitt Romney selected Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate.

Ryan’s selection will likely be regarded as a concession to the more conservative wing of the GOP, especially the tea party, which continues to flex its burgeoning political muscle. Many Republicans had expressed concern that Romney was too moderate, especially on health care, to satiate their conservative palates, and appeared skeptical about an enthusiastic embrace of the candidate.

This dawdling concerned Republican leaders, who likely had a powwow with Romney, recognizing the need for a conservative VP candidate.

Gov. Bobby Jindal was frequently mentioned as a possible running mate for Romney but his national aspirations, which are transparent as he continues to traverse the country on fundraising missives, will have to wait four more years for either a run at the presidency or as a potential sidekick to Ryan should the GOP go down in flames in November.

Propaganda machines from both sides were in full throttle almost immediately after Romney’s announcement, including the Obama administration comparing the pick with that of four years ago when Republican nominee John McCain stunned observers with the selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate. Some say the selection of Palin doomed McCain’s presidential aspirations, and predict the same for Romney.

Unfortunately, the smear campaigns are just beginning, and that is what is most unfortunate for the American people, who deserve a political season when candidates boast of their own credentials rather than trashing those of their opponents. The people deserve a campaign where each candidate brings his credentials, his agenda, his ideas, to the electorate and lets them decide.

Any election, especially at the highest level, should be decided on the merits of a candidate and not one who is most effective at promulgating the most smut.

A clean campaign is especially essential at this crossroads in our nation’s history, when national security is threatened, the economy shows only small signs of recovery, oil prices are yo-yoing at the whims of Arab princes, who should be able to marry whom is drawing controversy and random mass shootings continue to stain our national fabric.

Unfortunately, if early returns are any indication, we can expect more of the same.

Much like the Olympics, the candidates are just now stepping into the starters blocks.

Let the 84-day sprint of brainwashing and character assassination begin.