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Political Campaigns Can Drive Us Nuts!

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Can it be that I’m just getting tired of the same old stuff? Or is it that my growing dislike for political campaigns reflects what others are thinking and I just happen to have a blog in which to air it out?

For sure I’m expecting a very ugly two months of campaigns ahead with Congressional races and the White House up for grabs. I’m particularly thrilled that all of them are helping me understand that America’s problem is Washington so they’re all running against Washington! 

Now I’m confused -- I thought McCain and Obama and Congressmen and Senators were Washington. Guess not. So why, then, my building revulsion for campaigns? Seems the usual assumptions that it stems from Washington scandals and a weaker economy just don’t fit. After all, we’ve had much juicier scandals in the past and far worse economic downturns. Remember the 1981-82 recession, for example, that had unemployment at 10.8% and interest rates at 22%! We’re far better off today.

When I try to figure it all out, I keep concluding it’s the advertising blitzkrieg we’re being pounded with. Good grief -- I think I may believe all politicians are as bad as their opponents have been telling me they are. Seems like they use thousands of TV spots every night to convince me. And they do it so well. Ever since 1964 when Lyndon Johnson ran the spot that, in effect, said his opponent, Senator Barry Goldwater, would rain atomic bombs down on school yards, negative campaign advertising has been a mainstay of elections. It has left us all cynical about politics and politicians.

Is it any wonder that, nowadays, we’re all feeling somewhat unsettled about the future. We’re constantly being told that regardless of which candidate we elect, he or she will be bad for us. Such negativity will put us all on edge and people who are edgy about the future tend to put off major decisions and purchases, like buying a boat. It’s why we must work harder right now to overcome the generally negative climate we’re in right now by consistently painting a picture for out prospects that boating is a positive family lifestyle and an escape from the negative messages around us.

Over 15 years ago, Charles Krauthammer wrote in Time Magazine that “no industry has been so stupid as to devalue its product in pursuit of market share. Except politics.” Imagine if Delta Air Lines ran a TV spot showing grieving families and scenes from Pan Am Flight 104 saying: “Don’t ever fly Pan Am.” That would certainly create a negative feeling in us, not to mention that it would turn people negative toward air travel.

Unfortunately, during the next 2 months there will be wave after wave of negativity coming at us and our prospects. To sell our products in such an atmosphere will take extra effort and, in particular, a strong focus and emphasis on our message that boating brings to families a truly genuinely positive life style.

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