It's hardly news that thought is generally a stranger to political advertising, no matter which party is responsible for it. However, one talking point which, for whatever reason, is starting to particularly grate upon my nerves is: "The economy is in crisis -- banks failing, plants closing, jobs lost. We can't afford four more years of Bush's tax cuts and policies that protect Wall Street while hurting Main Street."
What exactly is the logical relation between the first and second parts of this argument? If low taxes and pro-business policies are bad for the country, wouldn't it be equally wrong to support them whether the economy is doing well or doing poorly? If high taxes and more regulation is good for the country, then one's support for them should be independent of current economic conditions. And if one things, as I do, that high taxes and heavy regulation are generally bad for the economy, than telling me that the economy is already weak will do nothing to change my mind. (That turns the argument into: The economy is weak right now, lets kick it while it's down so we all feel better.)
I suppose it's wishful thinking to imagine that political advertising could rise above the level of "Four legs good, two legs bad!" but one still can't help being annoyed.
Particularly amusing in this case is that Senator Obama has said that he will hold off on raising taxes on "the rich" if the economy is in recession when he comes into office. This would seem to imply that he's aware that raising taxes has a slowing effect on the economy. (After all, one could hardly hold that "the rich" desperately need that the Bush tax cuts in order to buy food and make their mortgage payments -- because if that were the case they wouldn't be "rich".)
But then, I suppose even the increasingly cynical American public wouldn't go for an ad that said, "My opponent has the misfortune to be a member of the incumbent party at a time when our economic cycle is facing a downturn. Though this has little to do with his policies, and my policies would do nothing to alleviate it, I'd like you to vote against him just to show that bad luck will not be tolerated in our country."