McCrory v. Dalton: ‘Dirty campaigning’ is in the eye of the beholder

While the state’s economy continues to crash and burn, the Democrat and Republican campaigns for North Carolina governor are busy talking about who is the dirtiest campaigner.   What exactly is dirty campaigning?

Well, breaking into your opponent’s HQ to plant listening devices is dirty campaigning.  Running an ad suggesting your opponent got busted for drugs — when he didn’t — is dirty campaigning.  People call certain tactics ‘dirty campaigning’ because they raise subject matter no one really wants to talk about.

Raising questions about your opponent taking money from lobbyists in a restaurant bathroom is NOT dirty campaigning.  THAT is discussion of an issue one side in a campaign finds incredibly uncomfortable to discuss.  

If your opponent comes out in opposition to a marriage protection amendment to the state constitution, and you point out that he co-sponsored similar legislation in the state legislature, that is not dirty campaigning.  You are pointing out dishonesty and hypocrisy. 

 If your opponent bashes you for being too close to lobbyists, and you question the fact his own daughter is a lobbyist working the same legislative body he serves in, that is not dirty campaigning.   It’s pointing out hypocrisy. 

Pointing out differences between you and your competition — as well as the flaws you see in your competition — is an old, old marketing trick used in the sale and marketing of all kinds of products every day.  As long as you tell the truth, and don’t break the law, it’s fine.  You sell candidates like you sell cars: make people believe that what you have is a whole lot better for them than what the guy down the street has.

The McCrory campaign’s constant whining about ‘dirty campaigning’ allows the mainstream media and the Dalton camp to avoid talking about other more important issues.  Pat was the top vote getter in North Carolina in May. He has immense popularity at the grassroots, and an incredible bully-pulpit.  McCrory should be rallying the grassroots to pressure their legislators to support voter ID and all of those other things Bev vetoed.   He should be talking to the people to pressure their legislators to roll back taxes and regulation and get the economy moving.

Instead of playing defense and getting bogged down in this nonsensical slap-fight, McCrory needs to leverage the power of the bully-pulpit and start putting some things back in the Democrats’ faces.