Student Asks Candidates: Why Are Your Campaigns Negative?

Hampton Bays High School civics class plays a part in Bishop-Altschuler debate.

Incumbent Democratic U.S. Rep. Tim Bishop, of Southampton, and challenger Randy Altschuler, a St. James Republican businessman, met Monday in Hampton Bays for their second 2012 debate.

The candidates repeated many of the same answers they gave the previous night at a debate in Riverhead, but they also faced a new question from a student who was selected to represent her class at the Hampton Bays Civic Association event.

Hampton Bays High School senior Jennifer Linares, whose whole government and economics class attended the debate, was invited to the stage to pose a question to the candidates.

"Why are both of you running negative ads and sending negative fliers instead of concentrating on your own achievements and accomplishments?” the 17-year-old asked.

Bishop was first to answer, telling Linares it was an excellent question.

“I would be the first to say that the state of our politics has deteriorated dramatically just in the 10 years I have been in office,” Bishop said.

The five-term congressman said politicians find themselves engaged in a war of attacks rather than a positive campaign about their strengths.

“In an ideal world, we would not be running those kinds of ads,” Bishop said. He noted that it is not just candidates themselves that run negative advertising, but political action committees and Super PACs as well.

Altschuler said that when he entered politics during the 2010 congressional race, he was "surprised and disappointed" at the negativity.

Of this election cycle, he said, “Every time you turn out on your TV or go out to get the mail, it's about Randy being an outsourcer.”

Altschuler said he would rather discuss his 10-point jobs plan.

Both candidates have run attack ads, with Altschuler going after Bishop's congressional record, and Bishop criticizing Altschuler's business record as the former owner of an outsourcing firm.

Immigration Reform

Patch posed the question of what piecemeal solutions either candidate, if elected, could offer in 2013 in lieu of ever-elusive comprehensive immigration reform.

"I don't think we should have piecemeal solutions," Altschuler said. The problem, he said, is that politicians want to be the bearer of good news, while avoiding the larger and more difficult questions.

"We don’t want to deal with people using our schools and hospitals not paying into the system ..." he said, adding that he opposes amnesty. “It's not fair to anybody, and it's not fair to those who are here legally."

“It’s unfair to our society to not deal with this in a comprehensive way,” Altschuler said.

Bishop said there are a number of things Congress can do, and has tried to do, pointing to the DREAM Act, parts of which President Obama adopted in his recent order granting deportation relief to immigrants who entered the country illegally as children. He said it is a fix that will give dignity to people who came to the U.S. through no fault of their own.

Other solutions Congress can take on that he has advocated are visa reform, including both agricultural visas and seasonal unskilled labor visas — a big part of the eastern Long Island community, he said.

Bishop said he supports a path to "earned legalization," including keeping a clean record, paying a fine, paying taxes and learning English.

Altschuler accused his opponent of being ineffective on the issue. "Congressman Bishop has been on this for 10 years," he said.


The candidates met for their first debate of the election cycle on Sunday in Riverhead. Read about that debate here.

Argile September 25, 2012 at 06:43 AM
"We don’t want to deal with people using our schools and hospitals not paying into the system ..." You can blame the liberals for this. They don't have the ability to say no and the end result is we get stuck with the bill and the illegals never stop coming. Bishop voted against reporting illegals abusing the hospitals. http://votesmart.org/bill/3207/8282/44518/undocumented-immigrant-emergency-medical-assistance#.UGFPubJlRk4 The DREAM act is a joke. That means every illegal that dumps a kid here till the end of time gets rewarded. The liberals are known for rewarding law breakers with our tax dollars. http://votesmart.org/bill/12443/32955/44518/dream-act#.UGFSp7JlRk4
SMYRNA-X September 25, 2012 at 08:00 AM
Well children neg advertsing works thats why. Just like avoiding straight answers. Thats politics. Grow up.
Billy J September 25, 2012 at 09:45 AM
Same reason students talk negatively about other students. It is a feeble attempt to get people to like them. Same as the students.
Jaguar-Guy September 25, 2012 at 10:41 AM
Wow Rob, that is a bit harsh.
Jaguar-Guy September 25, 2012 at 10:45 AM
A negative ad points out the weakness and failings of the opponent. Tim calls Randy - outsourcer and Randy calls Tim a Bribe-taking crook who's lost tens of thousands of LI jobs. I see the positive Randy ad showing that he was raised by a single mom and wants a better LI for his kids. I don't see a positive Bishop ad touting his accomplishments - I only see him defending himself saying "you know me" - "I'm one of you". No Mr. Bishop, you are not one of us - not anymore. You sold your soul to the company store a long time ago.
Justin Time September 25, 2012 at 11:27 AM
Negative is what sells..ever watch Fox News???? Silly people..get real!
Steve Haslett September 25, 2012 at 12:13 PM
Tim Bishop didn't answer the student's questions either.
John September 25, 2012 at 12:17 PM
Bishop talks a good game against negative ads but this morning there was an another negative ad from Bishop. Look at what Bishop does, not what he says. Randy for Congress
Earl September 25, 2012 at 01:46 PM
How about NO advertising for any political office. Makes these clowns get off their butts and get out to the public 20 hours a day to get their messsage out!!! That would start to show who really is going to work hard for the people. All the millions and millions spent could go toward better causes.
John Gruber September 25, 2012 at 02:39 PM
I'd be ok with just using your own money for ads, not any of this crap of raising millions and millions of dollars. like any of these people need it
George Lynch September 25, 2012 at 03:14 PM
Randy Altschuler's repeated, somewhat monotonous, theme was that Tim Bishop's been in there for ten years and he hasn't fixed everything, so throw him out. Mr Altschuler conveniently ignores the fact that Rep. Bishop is only one of over 400 members of the House, and that it's Altschuler's own party, the Republicans, who control the majority, so that they, not Bishop, bear prime responsibility for any inaction. Tim Bishop needs to get tough, and not on negatives, but on his own positives. He has sent out a mailer with a map of the district, showing all the locations where he has done something significant for the residents, for example, getting FEMA money for flooded Riverhead homeowners. There are over ten items listed, and they're all good, solid, taking-care-of-business things that a Congressman should be doing, plus a few of them are dramatic, like saving 1,000 jobs at Brookhaven National Lab. At every debate and in every speech, Tim Bishop should be naming these accomplishments and hammering them home, because they're what we sent him to Washington to do, and he's doing it extremely well.
highhatsize September 25, 2012 at 03:50 PM
"'I don't think we should have piecemeal solutions,' Altschuler said.", as do all the other Republican kamikaze House members/candidates whose intransigence has blocked the passage of ANY legislation to ameliorate the economy since they became the majority. If you want another irrational ideologue, inured by his zealotry against collegiality, compromise, or realpolitik effectiveness, Randy is the boy for you. I wish the question had been put, "Would you, Mr. Altschuler, have allowed the US government to default on its debt?" (Actually, the answer is self-evident.)
Judy Pepenella September 25, 2012 at 04:59 PM
Respectfully, politics is and always has been a dirty game of he said she said...and attack each other. This goes back to the beginning of our Nation... Check out these attack ads and you will see how Jefferson and Adams attacked each other as well. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLj6yY4P_Rg .. or just google Jefferson and Adams attack ads on YouTube..you will be surprised. The only way to end it is to discuss the issues and discuss the facts AND answer the questions being asked by the citizens (and prospective voters). We all know what the issues are... how do you as a candidate plan to change these issues - If the candidates were to PROVIDE ANSWERS not point fingers at the other guy or pile on the crude, we would have educated voters choosing the best candidate for the job. We need candidates to show us an action plan, with a jobs plan, a budget plan and more... just show us solutions to the problems - not arrogance.
Jaguar-Guy September 25, 2012 at 05:13 PM
Obama had a Dem Super Majority in the Senate and House for two (2) full years and he couldn't get jack done. Don't keep blaming Republicans when the House has sent up over 30 passed bills that create jobs and Harry Reid (Democrat Sen Maj. Leader) REFUSES to vote on anything, WON'T pass a Budget, and left D.C. earlier than ANY Congress in HISTORY. Bishop is a Nancy "boy" Pelosi pawn and needs to go. He has done zip for LI.
Earl September 25, 2012 at 06:17 PM
Only "over 10 items" in ten years? If he has been so wonderful he should be able to list 100's of items! I am no fan of either candidate, but if he did so much he should be able to list a lot more than that!
George Lynch September 25, 2012 at 06:27 PM
Replying to Jag and Earl here -- Jag, even if you were right about the Republicans being blameless, which you're not, that still wouldn't justify Altschuler's putting all the blame on Bishop, and I notice you don't respond at all on the Bishop positives. Hey Earl, it was just a selection of highlights for a mailer, you know? Can't fit 100's of things on one mailer & who'd read through them all anyway?
John Gruber September 25, 2012 at 06:38 PM
as long as the 2 major parties hold a monopoly on the election, we'll never have the best candidate possible
Jaguar-Guy September 25, 2012 at 06:45 PM
Thanks George, I understand but do not see too many positives for Mr. B. Teh Stimulus, outsourcing Billions to China, Finland and Mexico, loosing tens of thousands of LI jobs and not only not putting forth any legislation himself, but lying about putting the farm bill up, the campaign bribe over fireworks, his 2 daughters going to Ivy league colleges paid for by a political buddy FOR FREE, becoming a multi-millionaire as a public servant, bankrupting our College, but finding jobs for about 20 or so family members at the school, and on and on. George, I don't see the pro's outweighing those cons.
Earl September 25, 2012 at 06:55 PM
Why not put a huge list of positive things, show that you have done a LOT for the people. If I saw a huge list, possibly I would look to see what they all were. In all honesty I throw those mailers right in the trash, but maybe some people would look!
Jaguar-Guy September 25, 2012 at 07:01 PM
George, I just got the mail and there's another mailer - this one from Randy saying that Obama praised him as a "job creator" . I mean, you just can't make these things up. I just want smaller government and less debt. Be good, and thanks for letting me vent.
David D'Agostino September 25, 2012 at 07:22 PM
For a perfect example of an entirely negative campaign read any of Mr Altachuler's blog posts on this site or have a look at any of his mailers. Mr Altschuler, like Romney/Ryan, seems to believe that American voters are susceptible to a campaign void of ideas but brimming with anger and personal attacks. We are not. We want answers. You cannot get elected by simply talking about how bad the other guy is. You need ideas. You need to inspire hope and engender trust. Mr Altschuler is failing miserably at both.
Cristine Martino September 25, 2012 at 07:56 PM
Yes, I agree, the student's comment was left unanswered. Each candidate may complain about the negative advertising, but each one chooses to participate in it. If a candidate wants this to change, wishing isn't going to make it so. The candidate needs to act differently. I, too, want to hear a candidate's plan in greater detail. I am not interested in hearing what I already have lived through.
Cristine Martino September 25, 2012 at 07:57 PM
I agree! Too much money is being wasted on political campaigns! GET OUT AND TALK TO THE PEOPLE!!!!
SMYRNA-X September 26, 2012 at 01:03 AM
Whats wrong with neg advertising? It hurts feelings? Grow up. Neg advertising helps to bring up issues voters would have with thier canidates that they would not know of otherwise. Newspapers, unbelievably endorce canidates. How could the media be unbiased to one side or another? This is where canidates can position themselves on the issues. As well no politicain has ever not gone neg. Wether it be himself or through surrogets.
Stinker September 26, 2012 at 10:09 AM
Why all the negative campaigning said the population famous for bullying and online harassment of kids they deem to be weaker..... until they commit suicide.
Preliator September 26, 2012 at 01:45 PM
Tim Bishop is not exactly knocking it out of the park David. I can go to Randy's site and see he has a plan. Tim Bishop is just promising more of the same which has not worked for the past ten years. Blindly supporting the status quo in no answer, and neither is Tim Bishop and his failed policies. We do not need a rep who engages in nepotism. We do not need a rep who extorts money from constituents. We do not need a rep who outsourced billions of taxpayer dollars overseas. We do not need or deserve Tim Bishop and his failed 'vision'. We do need Randy Altschuler, we do need a new voice in the House and we need new ideas and we need them now.
Brian Ford September 28, 2012 at 01:49 PM
Great post David. I completely agree.
Brian Ford September 28, 2012 at 01:56 PM
If Randy wants a better Long Island for his kids why not run for a local office? School board? Town or County post? Why not volunteer to help at the Town or County level? What has he contributed to locally since he lost the last election? The reality is that if Randy is elected he will relocate to Washington. He will collect a large government salary and benefits for himself and his family. He'll collect a fantastic pension and lifetime health insurance even if he only serves one term.
George Lynch September 28, 2012 at 02:43 PM
I'll probably get slammed for this, but Smyrna-X makes a very good point. I have to agree with the whole post except maybe the degree and frequency of media bias, but that's beside the main point. "Grow up" is right. Negative ads take the wraps off, and we need that, even if it offends our more sensitive side. Grow up and toughen up.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something