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Is Alex Sink's ad getting real?

Democrat Alex Sink's new ad, cleverly timed for the last week of primary season, is designed to make her look like a fresh alternative to the same-old warring Republican pols. She says she's tired of bickering politicians and is ready to get real.

Yeah right.

Tell that to the Florida Democratic Party, which released a negative ad about Republican Bill McCollum's Congressional voting record. Just so happens that Republican Rick Scott features the ad on his website. In campaigns, getting real usually means tearing your opponent down and building yourself up -- something the Sink ad does to great effect.

If past is prologue, by October, Sink and her Republican opponent (McCollum or Scott) will be eviscerating each other in television commercials and engaging in some of the very negative politicking her ad seems to decry. The reason: negative campaigning works. Just ask McCollum and Scott.

Like McCollum and Scott, Sink will be demanding that she and her opponent "debate the issues" and talk about what's really important to Florida. But, as the Republicans did in this primary, chances are high that Sink and her Republican opponent will only agree to a paltry number of debates (4 or fewer), which will leave little time to fully discuss and vet the issues because the forums (fora?) will be structured around television rules. What probably won't happen: A meaningful exchange on a topic that lasts more than five minutes, a back-and-forth where the candidates will actually have to debate each other and defend their positions under questioning.

And there's little incentive for a meaningful debate because the candidate's position papers, written by consultants and packed with buzzwords to move polls, often prove to be far less "real" and certain than the pols pretend.

Then there are the teevee types. They'll put on their finest display of sanctimony and tout the debates as commercial free -- as if they're losing money. Meantime, for the rest of the campaign season, cable and broadcast stations will continue raking in wads of cash for commercials, many of which are misleading at b est.

That passes as "real" in today's politics..