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Mercifully, the Whining Will Be Over Wednesday

10:45 AM, Nov 3, 2008 • By MARY KATHARINE HAM
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Well, here's hoping. I swear, if I hear one more media wimp complain about the "negativity" (unprecedented, of course) of this campaign...

The whinging is more unseemly than the worst advertisements I've seen. This is a contest, people. A hard-fought contest. Hundreds of hard-fought contests, in fact, that end on one day, and that sustain about three weeks of negative TV advertising foisted upon audiences between "Family Guy" reruns and NFL football. Emote me an estuary.

Media types and liberals can't simultaneously fetishize "each vote counting," the expanded electoral map, and the importance of "just one voice" while shielding all those votes and voices from candidates' pitches. If you're telling people to "vote or die," you should support their access to some information to work with.

And, in this media age, where a courtroom drama is waged in public over every allegation of every ad, and all of it's is available at the touch of the Google search button, people can figure it out. Are some ads misleading? Of course, but there are many that are not, and simply get a bum rap for being "negative." Negative is not always bad. Negative offers insights into a candidate who has, say, radical associations, wildly liberal positions, and a thin resume, when said candidate would never admit to such things.

In such a case, negative ads render a positive service to the voters. The ritual hand-wringing and crying over free speech (generally directed at Republicans exercising it) is a vain undertaking, all in service of one's reputation as a civilized, intellectual voter/commentator who just wants to hear about "the issues," while indulging in self-righteous, substanceless conversations about "negativity" without ever touching on the "issues" on which the ads give insight.

So, to the Washington Post, which runs a story today under the doleful headline, "A Positively Negative Home Stretch," I say, why not go all out and just start writing with emoticons instead of words? Politics is a grown-up's game, and if they insist on infantilizing both voters and their commentary, they might as well be honest about it, placing very clear smiley, winky faces under Barack Obama's picture and frowny, disgusted faces under John McCain's.

And, I close with Arnold Schwarzenegger's "positively negative" take on Obama, whom he invites to get "pumped up" with the Governator to do something about those scrawny arms and legs. I'm sure I could do some searching and find that Arnold's attack is simultaneously racist and homophobic in some way, according to a liberal blog. For normal people, it's a humorous line from a beloved cultural icon that leads to the all-important substantive punchline: "Now, if we could just do something about putting some meat on his ideas."

Enjoy. Or, for the Post's writers: :(