We're now a week away from the long-awaited mid-term elections. Conventional wisdom runs deep that the GOP will post big losses and the Dems will gain. Meanwhile, the remaing days of the campaign countdown will find millions of television -watching voters exposed every 10 or 15 minutes to a barrage of campaign spots.

The New York Times has assembled some political campaign ads it considers the “best” at what they do … which in all but one case means … trash your opponent. We're supposed to revile the target; but we can't help wonder about the character of the sponsors too.

Call us hopeless romantics at The Agitator, but we would like learn of any candidates who would actually be proud to say to their children or grandchildren, “Let me show you the campaign ad that told the people what I stood for … it got me elected.”

People bad mouth regular TV commercials, but when was the last time you saw a TV spot from Coke saying:

“Watch out for that Pepsi, we hear it's made with toxic chemicals by a company that employs slave labor from China and whose wife-beating CEO secretly channels its profits to Osama bin Laden.” That's the product equivalent of today's typical political ad. And we don't allow it in commerce, so why do we where our democracy is concerned.

In fact, there is more than ample evidence that public revulsion over these tactics may be reaching new heights (or depths) both outside and inside the Beltway. Michael Abramowitz in a piece on Karl Rove in yesterday's Washington Post notes that the GOP's loss of either the House or Senate could embolden some of the GOP establishment to seek an end to these polarizing tactics.

The Center for Responsive Politics estimates that $2.6 billion will be spent on campaigning in the 2006 cycle, easily topping the 2002 mid-term cycle's $2.2 billion. As usual, incumbents soak up the money, with Senate incumbents enjoying a 4:1 funding advantage over their rivals and House incumbents holding a 7:2 advantage.

If only the Republicans hadn't gone so over-the-top in making themselves disliked, we just might have had the opportunity to throw out ALL the incumbents on a totally evenhanded bipartisan basis!

By the way, if you haven't already overdosed on 2006 election info, you might want to check out the new 2006 US Election Guide that's been added to Google Earth. Just load Google Earth, activate this new “Layer” in the Layer menu box, and stars will appear on the map representing each congressional race. Clicking on a star opens you to a plethora of info on the candidates in that race, as well as pertinent voter registration and campaign finance info.

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