Political Advertising

I began seeing political “yard” signs in my small city a couple of weeks ago which got me asking why the only ones up were for the Republican candidates.  What was wrong with the Democrats and Independents that their signs weren’t up?

Then I remembered something someone told me when I was campaigning for John Kerry in 2004 that our county prohibits signs from going up until 45 days before the national election.  I can count and figured out we weren’t in that sweet spot yet.

So I emailed the local Republican whose signs are up everywhere and politely asked him to take them down.  I explained that besides breaking the law he was giving himself an unfair advantage by having his name out there that much longer.

I received back from him a very condescending email where he claimed there was no such law, that signs were federally protected, that he had called the city and asked them to contact him when they saw illegal signs, and that last time he ran 800 of his signs had been stolen, and not by Republicans he added.

Yesterday I called our building department, which has the unfortunate job of enforcing this ordinance.  The woman let out a huge sigh and said yes, she was aware of the problem, that it had been a huge problem two years ago when he ran, that both he and his campaign staffers are very aggressive, and that the stolen signs had mostly been removed by the city and taken to the recycling center where a staffer was waiting to load them back into his truck so he could put them back up again.

I responded to this representative’s email yesterday afternoon saying how sad I thought it was that he had to lie to me about the law and that I discovered where all those “stolen” signs went.  I also told him my family values didn’t mesh very well with his, so I wouldn’t be voting for him.  I then promptly wrote a letter to the editor of our local newspaper.

I’ll give the guy some props because he hasn’t emailed me back wanting to argue some baloney, non sequitur point about why it’s okay for him to do this, but not okay for his opponents to do it.  (Mr. gyma is now very nervous about me exercising my 1st Amendment rights – that’s how far we’ve fallen in this country.)

With the Olympics still fresh in my mind, I realized that those who play fair and abide by the rules, will win sometimes, but the cheaters will always win more often because of this unfair advantage.  Republicans are the steroid-using, under aged athletes who gloat when they win the gold medals.

For quite some time I’ve also thought that Republican television ads were more often filled with lies, distortions, and half truths, but it never went beyond a gut feeling.  Today I looked at the PolitiFact website which publishes a daily truth-o-meter in the Denver Post and found out the following:

John McCain or his surrogates lied or distorted the facts in 6 of the 8 statements analyzed, but Barack Obama or his surrogates lied or distorted the facts in 3 of the 9 statements.  That tells me my gut has probably been right and I need to be overly cautious of every ad being run in favor of John McCain, and probably the majority of Republicans running for office.  (In fairness, I didn’t include some of the statements in the lies column for Obama when the bulk of what was said but a minor point was left out.)

Now, are telling lies and distorting the truth for your advantage, a family value you perpetuate in your home?  It isn’t in ours.

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