With the conventions looming upon us in the next few weeks, the vice president nominee being announced any day, and the ad campaigns starting to heat up a bit you know it's that time again. Like the Olympics (which also comes the same every 4 years), you can't avoid the hype of the presidential race.
Unlike the Olympics, which at least offers up some positive storylines (ie. MICHAEL PHELPS IS THE GREATEST OLYMPIAN EVER....EVER.....EVER...EVER!!!), the presidential race tends to get a bit nasty. Political messages and advertisements tend to be why you shouldn't vote for the other guy and never too often about why you should vote for that candidate. The American public is ultimately left to vote for the lesser of two evils or for whomever they dislike less.
Having watched most of the John Adams miniseries on dvd (yeah, I'm a bit late on that..), I found it funny (funny strange, not funny haha) that the candidates did not campaign for themselves in the early years of our country under the new constitution. Perhaps it's because the eligible voters back then were just the land owners and campaigning was done more behind closed doors and by proxy. Strangely enough our system today has become eerily similar is some vein as the candidates often have "others" do the dirty work for them.
If you notice at the end of most positive ads (ie. "boring ads"), there is a message that sounds something like this- "I'm Mike Hunt and I approve this message." Not too often is there a really negative ad (like the outright lies of the swiftboat ads that helped bring down Kerry) that comes directly from the candidate himself. Those are the ads that stem from 527's. In a nutshell, the 527's are political non-profit groups that can avoid all of that fun legal mumbo jumbo on campaign financing when it comes to a what a candidate can and cannot do to get money or do with that money. What ends up happening are groups that support certain candidates and make all sorts of nasty ads about how their opponent would be horrible for their cause.
So, essentially, a candidate can turn a blind eye to these ads and have his hands be clean. The public meanwhile gets to see the smearing, slandering, and mud throwing that any WWE fan could ever want and more.
After all this name calling and negative campaigning the public is left the choice between a giant douche bag and a turd sandwich. (as South Park so brilliantly put it 4 years ago)