Welcome back to IVA’s Silly Season feature - an ongoing series covering and exposing a few or the many instances of the “Silly Season” phenomenon, examples of which certainly aren’t hard to find throughout the mainstream American political media.
Today, Michael D. Shear of the New York Times speculated that ‘The Silly Season’ may be over. In the wake of a week where congresswoman Michele Bachmann made “indefensable” allegations, the Obama campaign dissed Bank of America, and the Romney campaign bought Twitter followers but said they didn’t, it’s clear that Silly Season won’t be slowing down any time this summer. By the end of his excellent post The End Of Campaign Silly Season, Maybe Not, even Shear agrees:
”Historians may look back on the first half of an unusually hot summer as the time when the campaigns descended fully into negativity…The tone of the 2012 campaign is likely to remain as it’s been all summer long.”
Since we last posted, there have been daily Silly Season gaffes, campaign controversies, and missteps by politicians and political media members alike — here are the recent highlights:
BACHMANN: By now, you’ve probably heard about Representative Michele Bachmann’s unsubstantiated attacks on Hilary Clinton Aide (and wife of Anthony Weiner) Huma Abedin, and later fellow Minnesota Representative Keith Ellison, for alleged ties to the Muslim Brotherhood organization. All we’ll say on the subject is that when one’s allegations have been roundly denounced by the House Speaker, 2008 party presidential nominee, and even the Muslim Brotherhood itself, that’s a winning formula to headline Independent Voters of America’s Silly Season feature.
BRIAN ROSS: ABC News did not have the best weekend covering the tragic shooting in Aurora, Colorado. First, lead investigative reporter Brian Ross found a political angle to the story that didn’t exist, reporting that the shooter may have a connection to the Tea Party, based on a single web page. Whoops! Ross has been rightfully lampooned by late night hosts, and there were also reports that ABC had taken a critical quote out of context from interviewing the shooter’s mother over the phone. Taking quotes out of context? Leave that to the political campaigns!
MORE REACTIONS TO AURORA: After an event like Aurora inextricably tied to political issues including 2nd Amendment rights, gun control and public safety laws, and the mental health system, there was boundless opportunity for politicians to politicize the tragedy and react… regrettably. Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce made some unfortunate Facebook posts, while Rep Louie Gohmert blamed prohibiting prayer in civic places.
THIN MINTS: Nailing down a crucial group of swing voters last week, President Obama “pandered” to Girl Scout Cookie supporters everywhere when he announced that the “mint ones” were his favorite. Politico provided hard hitting analysis on the subject, providing evidence that this was a calculated campaign decision and not just an improvised response: “According to sales data, Thin Mints are the most popular Girl Scout cookie, accounting for 25 percent of total sales.”
SHERIFF JOE ARPAIO: Sheriff Joe is at it again, and this time he can prove Barack Obama’s birth certificate is a fake! In the wake of this new “evidence,” IVA believes it’s our duty to inform you there’s a credible independent candidate, Mike Stauffer, running against Arpaio this November in Maricopa County, Arizona.
WEB STRATEGY: Are attention getting red, white, and blue campaign websites a thing of the past? Mindy Meyer, a twenty two year old candidate for State Senate in New York, recently launched this hot pink campaign website (make sure to view with your speakers turned on). Maybe for her next attention grabbing headline, she can compete in a Miss Conservative pageant?