When the Olympic Games began almost 30 centuries ago in ancient Greece, rulers of city-states proclaimed an “Olympic truce,” a ban on warfare to allow athletes, poets and spectators to attend without getting speared.
It would be nice to think that this year’s Olympics might turn into the occasion for a domestic political truce, a summer vacation from the ferocious character attacks each side has been leveling at the other’s candidate.
But it’s not going to happen. Why? Because negative advertising works.
Republicans have hammered President Obama for his statement that entrepreneurs who achieved success in business “didn’t build that” by themselves, charging that it was evidence that he doesn’t respect hard work. Democrats have pounded Romney for his career at Bain Capital (and his not-ready-for-”American Idol” singing voice), accusing him of sending American jobs to China and Mexico.
The result? Both Obama and Romney now enjoy — if that’s the right word — the lowest public esteem of any two presidential candidates since pollsters began measuring this stuff.