Mitt Romney’s vocal performance of “America the Beautiful” at a campaign event in recent months was not his finest moment. Few would argue that it was.
But seeing the soon-to-be Republican nominee for president’s actions mocked in an ad by the Obama campaign strikes us a personal slam that attempts to belittle an opponent while doing little to contribute to a greater understanding of the issues facing voters in 2012.
On the other hand, Obama and his team are not the only ones who deserve rebuke. Romney and his campaign are equally guilty of veering off onto the advertising low road. Romney has produced a series of head-scratching commercials that, in kindest terms, distort the president’s record and words on a variety of issues.
The election is still more than two months away. It could be a long and nasty road to November.
The true believers on each side of the political divide will mostly be inclined to embrace whatever their candidate tells them about their opponents. But reasonable folks in the middle — those who will actually decide this election — need to steel themselves for the bumpy ride and work hard to keep their bearings during the barrage of negative campaigning.
So we offer this message. Be skeptical. Do your homework. Take campaign ads with a grain of salt. Seek independent sources of information and analysis. They’re out there, and doing a good job filtering the campaign garbage.
This isn’t going to be fun for discerning voters. But America needs them.
Cheers, jeers and tears
• Cheers to the Terre Haute Rex’s Brian Dorsett for being awarded a share of the Manager of the Year Award in the Prospect League, and to Rex relief pitcher Nick Blount for being named the league’s Fireman of the Year. The Rex had another great year, and its members deserve their accolades.
• Cheers to Nancy Dowell, longtime executive director of the Vigo County Public Library. While she has decided to retire, her years of excellent service will not soon be forgotten.
• Jeers to Indiana for lagging behind on implementation of its sex offender registry.
• Tears for William Windom, renowned character actor, who died this week at age 88. In addition to his more famous TV and Hollywood roles, he played Ernie Pyle in a one-man stage show and is the voice of Pyle in the multimedia presentations at the Ernie Pyle World War II Museum in Dana.