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Daniel Ruth: Campaign sign theft merits contempt — for lack of creativity

David Campo was outraged, annoyed even, with just a pinch of bumfuzzlement thrown in for good measure. Well, it's election season after all, when faux indignation is a cheaper commodity than pig slop at the Florida State Fair livestock exhibit.

And yes, that last sentence was cleaned up quite a bit.

The source of Campo's scorn had to do with someone, obviously possessed with duplicity in the heart and evil on the mind, who had maliciously stolen a campaign yard sign of Hillsborough County Commission candidate Margaret Iuculano.

Oh, the Watergate of it all!

Clearly malevolence was afoot and Campo had the red-handed evidence to prove it in the form of a photo he had taken of the poster purloiner. We pause here for just a moment to wonder if Campo, the Hercule Poirot of placards, has way too much time on his hands. But we digress.

The Sherlock Holmes of campaign signs was properly distraught, accusing Iuculano's opponent, incumbent Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin Beckner, of clearly being behind the dirty, sleazy and somewhat declasse stump nefariousness.

Well, please, you don't have to be Columbo to deduce that whoever was behind the sign theft had to be someone who would prefer the re-election of Beckner over Iuculano.

Besides, Iuculano has been known to use the services of a psychic on occasion, so it was only a matter time before the great campaign sign caper would have been solved.

Thus it was that Campo contacted this space urging a plague of harrumphs to be visited upon Kevin Beckner and his gang of banner scofflaws.

Believe me, I tried. I tried to work up a nice healthy sense of shock, shock to discover that silly people might be engaged in the act of stupidity. It usually works, but not this time.

Aside from the fact that despoiling campaign yard signs should be considered tacky, ultimately does it really make any difference?

Travel the byways of the county and you'll be exposed to thousands of inducements to vote for this yada yada and against that blah blah.

Does Campo, or anyone else, honestly believe citizens heading to the polls are suddenly going to think to themselves: "You know, I really wanted to vote for Margaret Iuculano, I truly did, but now I can't. If only I had seen just one more yard sign with her name on it, that would have made all the difference."

By the same token, David Campo's umbrage over this unbridled assault on the Iuculano political machine notwithstanding, it is probably not unreasonable to assume that throughout this increasingly bitter campaign any number of Beckner's yard signs also have gone missing.

History suggests campaign sign saboteurs are something of a cottage industry in political life, goofy people who twistedly think yanking a few posters here and there will somehow influence the outcome of the vote.

Wait! I feel some irritation toward egregious campaign mischief burbling around here someplace.

Ah, that's it. Yes, yes, indeed. The cruel and annoying treatment of Iuculano's yard sign should be regarded for all the disdain it deserves — especially for the sorry, mundane lack of creativity it involved.

In Pinellas County, a Largo City Council candidate had two guys dress up as firefighters to create the impression he had been endorsed by the first responders.

Contemptible? Absolutely. But you can't deny at least it had some sordid chutzpah.

Daniel Ruth: Campaign sign theft merits contempt — for lack of creativity 11/03/12 [Last modified: Saturday, November 3, 2012 4:30am]
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