The consequences of political attack ads came to a climax yesterday after the state Judicial Commission filed a formal complaint against state Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman for a false"" ad he paid for during the last election cycle. Justice Gableman won a heavily contested election against former Justice Louis Butler, a race fueled by both candidates pummeling each other's reputations with low blows and attack ads.
The race drew significant state attention for its attack ads, which featured numerous allegations of each candidate's past actions as immoral and unacceptable. While attack ads are a typical strategy in elections at every level, the state Judicial Commission claims one such ad perpetuated an outright lie.
Whether or not the state Judicial Commission's allegations are accurate, both Justice Gableman and former Justice Butler should take notice. Their respective campaigns sold their collective souls in order to find a seat on the state Supreme Court through demeaning and misrepresenting attack ads. Whether or not attack ads are true, they sensationalize and exaggerate the flaws and past mistakes of the candidates.
All politicians - not just those at the state level - should take note. Attack ads only serve to trivialize the democratic process and belittle both the loser and the winner of the election. Justice Gableman may or may not be guilty of paying for a false television ad, but he is still guilty of excessive derogatory comments toward his opponent. In the world of politics, however, Gableman has plenty of company in that arena.