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Mark Joseph Headshot

Get Ready To Rumble

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1988 was the last time I recall one major candidate running for president calling another a liar. It was during the GOP primary and Bob Dole was annoyed at George HW Bush. Asked by Tom Brokaw if he had a message for Bush, in a way that only Bob Dole could, he snarled "Yeah, stop lying about my record."

Ah, the good old days.

Most people complain about campaigns being too dirty, but I'm annoyed that at least since 1988 they've been too sanitized.

John McCain didn't exactly call Barack Obama a liar yesterday, but he came pretty close when he said: "I guess he believes if a lie is big enough and repeated often enough it will be believed."

Now we're talking. And now it's time for Obama to return fire.

Let's take a moment and remember why we have elections: We put two candidates on the national stage and ask them to fight each other with words so that a) the two candidates won't have to fight each other with their fists and b) the rest of us won't have to fight each other with guns and knives.

Elections are surrogate wars, and ironically enough, when they're fought tough, hard and fair, with a clear outcome and both sides feeling like all of their issues were aired fairly, they tend to produce four years of peace.

Depending on who wins or loses this election, soldiers will die or live, abortion will continue to be legal on a national level or sent back to each state to be decided, same-sex marriage may be outlawed or allowed, taxes will be raised or not raised, health-care provided for all or not etc. etc.

These are very important issues-the types of issues that people fought wars over and they deserve to be treated seriously.

Which is why I have a problem with these sissy campaigns we've been having recently. So to the candidates I say: lady and gentlemen, put on the gloves, step into the ring and get tough. Fight like your life and your country's life depends on it, and don't leave one issue that can be used against your opponent fairly and squarely, off the table.

Take a lesson from the Bob Dole Charm School: If your opponent lies, enough with words like "prevaricator" or "misrepresenting the truth," call him or her a liar. Quit making the 527 groups do you dirty work, do it yourself, attack each other and have the guts to conclude the ads with "...and I approved of this message."

The country needs a good political fight so that we won't have to have real ones. Politics ain't beanbag. Get with it.