Here’s a stunt Clive Palmer could copy every time he is attacked by Hedley Thomas in The Australian: take a shower while fully clothed and declare of such negative stories ““every time I see one, I feel like I need to take a shower.” That’s the approach Colorado’s Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper took in his winning gubernatorial campaign four years ago as he attempted to combat the pervasive use of negative ads attacking him.
Like our man Clive, Gov. Hickenlooper does not have a conventional politician’s background. He was a geologist then a brewpub owner before running for office.
A new draft-only beer commemorates Wynkoop founder John Hickenlooper being sworn in as Governor of Colorado
But now that he has taken the chair of the National Governors Association, the showers will be out of his campaign repertoire as he seeks a second term but the dislike of negative campaigning will continue as he made clear in an interview with the Washington Post:
As he runs for reelection, Hickenlooper’s first priority is to win a second term. … Hickenlooper has another mission about which he sounds equally passionate. He wants to rid the country of negative ads. The country, he believes, is in a deep trough politically. “I think that the system has created an intensity of conflict,” he said. “I don’t think it’s sustainable over a long period. People will become so jaded and disillusioned they won’t support anything and we will begin to slip behind.”
He believes that the voter anger that he and virtually every politician can see in their states is a result of the conduct of political campaigns. “The attack ad,” he said, ‘ has become the kind of utility kit for almost every statewide campaign in the country now.” …
The businessman in him knows that negative ads are effective, but companies avoid them. If McDonald’s and Burger King went at each other in a TV ad war, he said, both would suffer and probably see their sales drop. “What we’re doing now is depressing the product category of democracy,” he said. “People turn off the news, stop reading in-depth magazine articles — especially young people. Look at the increasing reluctance of young people to vote. I think a lot of that is directly, you can lay it at the feet of these negative campaigns and relentless attack ads.”
Hickenlooper wants the media to join him in calling out those who air negative ads. “If I can convince people that good people don’t do attack ads, and that we want good people to represent us, then the attack ads work against themselves.”
Although he vows that his campaign will not air any negative ads, he knows there will be negative ads aired in Colorado between now and November, lots of them, and some perhaps aimed at helping him get reelected. He says he is powerless to prevent his allies from running them. “Trust me, I’ve talked to the lawyers on this,” he said. “I can say that every ad that I control, that I’m going to make sure my ads are positive.”