I know Bradley Byrne. He is a good man and an even better congressman. He is my congressman. I think he would make a great senator from the state of Alabama in Washington and would do great things for this state. This critique is not about the man, or his job performance.
He was the first candidate in the Republican primary for the US Senate seat to go negative. Now granted, the negative ad that he ran wasn’t very hard hitting and more of a warning shot across the bow more than anything else. Yet he was the first candidate to go that way.
Congressman Byrne is probably going to disagree with a lot of the critiques I have in this column, but that’s okay. Like I tell my brother all the time, this is America and he has the right to be wrong.
Even though he says all the time He’s not a part of the swamp in Washington DC, this negative ad that he is launched is a play right out of the swamp creature’s playbook. Anybody that has followed politics for any length of time will tell you that launching a negative ad against your opponents and a race where all of the polls, both internal and independent poles, consistently put you in third place or neck and neck in second place two weeks before the election date is a Washington political insider move. Doing it two weeks before the election gives your opponents campaigns very little time to organize a cohesion response or launch their own negative ads against you. Doing it two weeks before the election really only gives your opponents the opportunity to go out into the media and complain about how unfair and dirty the ad is, therefore making Your opponents look childish and petty and look like they are whining to the media. We in the media eat that kind of content up as well, just feeding the swamp machine.
Listen I get it. I majored in political science. If I was running a campaign that was at best in a dead heat for second place, and it worse running a distant third and sitting on a two and a half million dollar war chest, I would do the same thing. Because it works. Negative advertising and mudslinging is a highly effective strategy for candidates that want to win that are not winning in the polls.
We have let the desire to win at all costs and the reputation of campaign consultants, pollsters, and other campaign staff guide us as a conservative party away from Reagan’s 11th commandment to ‘Not speak I’ll of other Republicans’ and the party of ideas to the party of ‘Who can hurl the most insults’. Only Democrats, demagogues, and insecure politicians win by insulting everybody. Do we really want the only major party of ideas becoming the Democrats-lite? I certainly don’t.
That’s where we as the voters come in. We need to demand better from the people that want to represent us then negative advertising and mud slinging.
I am always more critical of the people in my life that I respect and expect more from than the people that I do not expect anything from. And I expect better from Congressman Byrne. He has a long successful track record of serving the residents of Southwest Alabama and the state as a whole. He’s done great things to cut through the bureaucracy and red tape of Washington to return local control of things of extreme importance to Southwest Alabama like red snapper fishing management. He has been a tireless advocate for companies that bring jobs to Southwest Alabama like Airbus and Austal.
So if you’re a voter in Alabama that’s going to vote in the Republican primary in two weeks vote for the candidate that you believe has the best experience, and the best ideas to make Alabama and the United States better. If you personally believe that they will all do a good job and you don’t think that there’s that much difference between them, also remember which candidate was the one to go negative first. Because if we start holding our candidates and the people that want to represent us accountable for their actions, including being the first to go negative and start slinging mud, maybe just maybe we as the voters can affect positive change in our elections in the future.