You can't watch any program on television right now without election ads being aired – except for public television.

What's disturbing about them is most of them are so negative.

Why can't incumbents boast of their accomplishments instead of harping about the inadequacies of their opponent? Don't some of them have anything worth mentioning? After all, the deficit in the federal government is soaring, the state is looking at major fiscal problems, and the economy is gloomy.

And why can't aspiring office holders tell specifically what their plans are if they get elected?

There's an old saying: "If you throw mud at someone, you're the one that's losing ground."

Politicians apparently don't believe it.

Wouldn't it be great to have an incumbent candidate state: "I voted for (or against) health care reform." Maybe the incumbent isn't so sure of the stand he or she took on the measure. Maybe the individual really did vote party instead of conviction.

Wouldn't you respect an incumbent more if he or she said, "I sought to raise taxes for this reason." It would attempt to justify an unpopular decision and prove the honesty of the individual.

Or, why can't someone seeking office proclaim: "I won't seek tax hikes but I would vote for an increase in license fees to try to overcome the state deficit." Instead, too many candidates try to use smoke and mirror tactics.

The political ads are so bent that you can't believe half of them. No wonder some people don't want to vote. It's hard to back someone who can not be forthright on the issues.

Still, it is very important to look beyond the advertisements and try to find out all you can about the candidates. The internet offers the ability to check on voting records of incumbents, substantiate some claims made by candidates, and even addresses to contact the candidates with specific questions.

During a recent candidate's night at Penn's Peak in Jim Thorpe, Doyle Heffley, a candidate for state legislature, said he was disappointed his opponent, Justin Yaich, didn't attend. He issued a challenge to debate Yaich.

The debate will occur Wednesday, Oct. 20, at 7 p.m. in the Mauch Chunk Opera House, Jim Thorpe. It is open to the public.

It will be shown on Blue Ridge Communications TV 13 on Wednesday from 9-10 p.m. and on Thursday, Oct. 21, from 8-9 p.m.

Such a debate is one way to better get to know the candidates.

By Ron Gower

rgower@tnonline.com [1]