2012-10-18 / Front Page

Campaigns turn ugly; both sides say too much money’s a problem

By Patti Brandt of the Enterprise staff

Mary Eggenberger, of Cleveland Township, recently had a letter published in the Enterprise Letters to the Editor section in which she took a stance on women’s reproductive rights. Soon after the letter ran she and her husband Aubrey got a hate letter in the mail.

“It was horrible,” Eggenberger said. “We were going to burn in hell.”

Dorothy Sandner, of Lake Leelanau, thinks this year’s election is one of the most important ever.

“I think we need to get a pro-life president and Congress in office,” Sandner said.

It is issues like reproductive rights, as well as Medicare, the federal deficit and tax breaks for the wealthy that have people lining up on both sides of the election ticket. Granted, that happens at least every four years, but this year may be worse than ever, many say.

“They are really polarized,” Eggenberger said. “I think more than they were the last time (Obama) ran, too. I think it’s because he’s a black man.”

Sandner thinks much of what her candidate says is being distorted.

“I think it has been a little overboard,” Sandner said. “I think

Romney is really being picked on. It started out very negative and I think people are tired of the blame game.”

But while the two women disagree about who they think should run the country, they may agree on how a campaign should be run.

“I wish they would just tell us about the issues and how they plan to solve them,” Sandner said. “It doesn’t matter what happened in the last presidency. What are we going to do in this one?”

Sandner would also like to see less government, like in the days of George Washington.

Eggenberger said she would really like to see less money being spent. There is too much money coming into each man’s war chest and nobody really knows where it’s coming from, she said. Each candidate should get a limited amount of money to spend, she said. She suggests $5,000, though she readily admits that amount wouldn’t go far at all in today’s world, in which estimates by the Center for Responsive Politics say that presidential and congressional election campaign spending for this year is on target to reach nearly $6 billion.

“They could be a little more inventive and not spend so much money,” Eggenberger said.

Locally, political signs have been a problem. One person called 911 recently to report signs on the shoulder of M-22 with large logs between them, apparently to keep the signs from being run over.

Jay Johnson, of Empire, said several signs paid for by local Democrats have been destroyed, stolen or moved.

“I’ve been quite disturbed at seeing all the defaced Obama signs over near Little Traverse Lake,” Johnson said of signs with red circles and lines through them in the universal sign for ‘no.’

“That’s kind of a childish prank, certainly not befitting one of our major political parties.”

Johnson also thinks the “Take Back America” signs are the most offensive he’s ever seen and likely based in racism.

Looking forward, Johnson would like to see less partisanship at all levels of government.

“Local politics are infused with a high degree of partisanship, and I think that filters down from the polarization at the national level,” Johnson said.

And as Nov. 6 nears, political ads have been ramping up — and with them, the mud-slinging.

Richard Mayor, of Suttons Bay, says there has been much more negative advertising this year than in the past.

“I think that many of the ads on both sides of the fence are more fictitious, too,” Mayor said. And many candidates slide around when asked a direct question, he said.

“Nobody really answers the questions,” he said. “A lot of people are being mislead. The solution? I don’t know.”

Sandner, who votes in every single election, has already cast her vote for this one via absentee ballot.

“I think it’s important to vote,” she said. “I also write to my Congressman and I write to the president. That’s what people should do instead of complaining. Tell ’em how you feel.”

As for the unsigned hate letter, it has made Aubrey Eggenberger a little nervous.

“I would not want to meet them on a dark night creeping into my home,” he said.

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