Political Attacks and "Negative Campaigning"

Speech in Response to Opponent's Political Attacks

In this printout of a statement Tower may or may not have ever publically released (as with many Tower documents, the statement is undated and bears few contextualizing markers), Tower argues that his unnamed "opponent" is avoiding addressing political issues by instead "running a strictly negative campaign," sniping at Tower's opinions rather than offering his own (Tower 1). Most particularly, Tower defends himself against declarations that he is "unsympathetic to the poor" because of his efforts to shut down a committee on public nutrition, which he argues was always intended to be temporary and has failed in its original purpose (Tower 3). Tower goes into great detail here, laying out the costs of the program, its agenda, points out that one of the creators of the committee now believes that it should be shut down, and so on. Tower appears to be trying to appeal to a fairly politically educated audience, as evidenced in logos-driven appeals that focus on the history of the committees in question as well as other, similar government projects, and include numeric breakdowns of the costs of the aforementioned projects. Tower concludes with the remark that he "shall continue to emphasize the postive by speaking directly to the major issues in this campaign" (Tower 4).

Negative campaign tactics have become almost overwhelmingly prevalent in the current presidential race, even in the primary elections. Jeb Bush has been frequently quoted as saying that a Republican candidate in 2015 has to be willing to "lose the primary to win the general election," and recently has made statements that the New York Times summed up thusly: "At every stop Monday, Mr. Bush had a barely-veiled message for voters about his foil: I am not Trump, or some other resentment-driven politician. Or, as Mr. Bush put it: 'I’m not a grievance candidate'" (Martin). John McCain has also commented on the tenor of Republican discourse in recent years, pointing to Ronald Reagan as an example of civility in campaigning for other Republicans to follow. Politico quotes McCain as saying that “I think we are hurting ourselves and our chances in general election if we disparage each other and impugn character," and going on to state that “[t]here’s a lot of people in the party who are not happy with the tenor of some of the remarks and the allegations about each other” (Schneider).

Political Attacks and "Negative Campaigning"