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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

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Election highlights partisan theatrics

That's right folks, you just missed election time! OK, so it wasn't in Wisconsin, and it was actually November 8th, but when the Hitler barbs start flying, we media types dash to the scene.

In Virginia, Republican gubernatorial candidate Jerry Kilgore took a quick look at his sinking poll numbers, combined with what he must have seen on South Park, and devised a series of brilliant campaign commercials that surely earned him the public's love and admiration. Kilgore suggested his devoutly Catholic opponent, who is opposed to capital punishment, wouldn't even execute Hitler. That's a pretty offensive charge that just might belittle the Holocaust. How would you like to turn on the TV and see an unknown death-penalty proponent saying this against one of those ominous black backdrops?

"Tim Kaine says Adolf Hitler doesn't qualify for the death penalty. This was one of the worst mass murderers in modern times."

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While I applaud Kilgore for clearing up the ambiguity surrounding Hitler's rank on Forbes' all-time worst mass murderers list, I'd say the reason for his loss is pretty clear. Two weeks later Kilgore's campaign manager refused to talk about the accuracy of the ad, only saying it was "tasteful." By this I can only assume he meant "full of flavor." Partisan flavor. The kind you can't get at Babcock on Tuesdays.

In New Jersey, the ads for the gubernatorial race there had even more flavor. The two multi-millionaire candidates spent more than $17 million in just the last three weeks — much of it from their personal fortunes. If you think that's an obscene amount of money to spend in a smaller state, rest assured, they put it to good use.

In one of the most puzzling backfires of all time, Republican candidate Doug Forrester's decision to use his opponents ex-wife fell through with voters. What's wrong with Americans today? Are you telling me that if you were applying for a job, you wouldn't bring your opponent's ex-wife to the interview? Shame on you! She has so many valid opinions about the contest.

"All I could think was that Jon did let his family down, and he'll probably let New Jersey down, too."

To be fair, Democratic candidate Jon Corzine gave this race some flavor of his own. One of his ads featured a 19-year-old who lost most of his limbs during a wrestling match.

"Doug Forrester doesn't support embryonic stem cell research, therefore, I don't think he supports people like me."

You heard it here folks. Doug Forrester hates disabled teens. Thankfully, New Jersey voters appreciate the tangy aftertaste of a flavorful ad, as Corzine won in a landslide.

Locally, we are getting our own political flavor as an effort to recall Madison mayor Dave Cieslewicz kicked off Wednesday. The group behind the recall effort, Madison CRG, cites his support for a local minimum wage and the smoking ban as its justification.

"I really don't believe politicians should be given a four-year, not-cut contract," CRG spokeswoman Heather Mees said.

Good for you, CRG. I would take this a step further and propose we hold daily referendums on the mayor. That would give him a much-needed wake-up call. And when he does wake up, we'll finally be able to bust him for not drinking fair-trade coffee.

It's called an election. If you don't like his politics, don't create a controlled environment rehash of the first race — find his ex-wife or some disabled kids he's pissed off over the years. Those are the issues the voters really care about.

The politics of our state's debate over medical malpractice caps are quickly approaching this level of flavor. The Republican-dominated state Legislature has passed a bill capping the maximum malpractice suit award at $450,000 for adults and $550,000 for children. Opposition groups claim it's an insult to victims and an assault on the constitution. Yes, that is coming from a trial lawyer. How could you tell? What right does the government have to keep us from our winnings in the malpractice lottery?

Most liberals have been silent on this issue, but what happened to keeping health premiums down? Yes, we all hate the health care industry and hospitals, but doctors are only human. If you make one mistake every 15 years at your job, does it cost you 10 million dollars?

Watch where you file that TPS report, buddy.

I know that we all dream of the day we have the wrong finger amputated and can live a life of luxury, but $450,000 is a lot of money if you're not a doctor or politician.

I sincerely congratulate all the millionaire politicians who came out victorious this week, and all of the special-interest groups who did what they do best: draft press releases for me to make fun of. Someday the advertising guild will finally achieve their goal of making voter turnout so low, extended family size will determine the outcome. That is exactly how the founders envisioned our electoral process.

Bassey Etim ([email protected]) is a sophomore majoring in journalism and political science.

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