Sunday, November 19, 2017
Opinion

Looking back on some real 'winners' this election season

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This is it. The end of the road.

After today, there will be no more suggestions that a state Senate candidate is trying to run over grandmother with an automated car. No more insinuations of terrorists seeking office in Brandon. No more brothels, nudists or tax cheats.

Sadly, Election Day has arrived. Which, of course, means paid political advertising is about to end.

It's heartbreaking, I know. We've laughed, we've cried, we've seen a U.S. Senate candidate pay for a prime-time TV commercial to let us know his mother endorsed him.

Insane? Maybe. Over the top? Usually. Informative? Maybe for those who believe reality TV is completely spontaneous, and politicians have your best interests at heart.

In other words, welcome to the World Series of Liar's Poker.

So before the polls close — and the allegations of voter fraud begin — let's look back at the folks who wanted to win in the worst ways possible.

Secret Agent Award: A Democratic state senator in Jacksonville was lambasted in a mailer for voting with Republicans to "hurt progressives." Another Democratic senator was mocked for contributing to George W. Bush's 2000 campaign.

They were among a half-dozen Democrats attacked as Republican-friendly by the liberal-sounding outfit "Progressives."

What's so wrong with that?

Progressives was actually a Republican-run group attempting to sour Democrats on their own candidates.

Who? Us? Award: A caricature of a black congressman in a boxing ring punching out an elderly white woman (Medicare!) and knocking out a younger white woman (women's health care funding!) while mocking the former soldier's reputation as a fighter.

Democrats should have been all over this one, decrying the obvious ploy on racial fears. Except Republican Allen West was the congressman and a PAC for his Democratic foe paid for the TV ad.

Guilt By (No Apparent) Association Award: The mailer looks ominous. One picture shows angry protesters from Occupy Wall Street. Another shows a masked terrorist throwing some dangerous device.

"Radical chaos," the ad screams.

It goes on to explain state House candidate Gail Gottlieb, a Democrat from Brandon, was associated with some of the most radical organizations in America.

Like … the Sierra Club?

Take My Wife Award: Term limits are forcing state Sen. Gary Siplin, D-Orlando, out of office, which has apparently left him feeling nostalgic. His office produced a glossy newsletter that mentioned his wife, Victoria, a half-dozen times and included a couple of pictures of her.

Oh, by the way, Victoria was running for Gary's old Senate seat. And I'm sure no one knows how Siplin's taxpayer-funded newsletter got sent to potential voters outside of his district, but within his wife's newly redrawn district. Alas, the family album didn't work. She lost in the primary.

The Grand Sleaze Award: An elementary school teacher in Maitland running for a state House seat was blasted in a mailer this past weekend for opposing a bill dealing with teacher tenure. Except the ad didn't address the legislation.

Instead, it showed a picture of convicted pedophile Jerry Sandusky in handcuffs and said "Karen Castor Dentel would rather protect bad teachers … than young and impressionable students."

Yes, We Can Work Ronald Reagan Into Any Conversation Award: Jeffery Goldmacher was running for the Osceola County Commission on a typical Republican platform of reduced government and promoting the local economy. No problem there.

His critics, however, seized on his choice of clothing. Or lack thereof. Goldmacher, who lost in the primary, lived in a clothing-optional resort.

This prompted a political group to produce a mailer of a naked snorkeler — with a censor's bar over his rear — next to a photo of Reagan.

Reagan, you see, wouldn't even take off his suit jacket in the Oval Office.

Comments

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