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Of like minds? It's more like being mindless

Published Oct. 2, 2005

You have to give this area's Republicans credit. They are making gains getting elected to and holding public office.

They are, as the phrase "Democratic organization" works its way to the top of the list of political oxymorons, convincing more and more Democrats to swap their Birkenstocks for wingtips and their economics of pots and chickens for the more staid (and just as fantastic) trickle-down theory.

And they have, we discovered recently, a degree of unity unparalleled outside of Parris Island, Scientology or Heaven's Gate.

Campaign fliers used by Deborah Tamargo, who won an upset victory in a state House race in Tampa last month, and by state Rep. Mike Fasano displayed a remarkable confluence of opinion, history and choice of presentation.

Unity broke down a little bit when both Tamargo and Fasano claimed authorship of virtually identical 40-word quotes about juvenile delinquency while a spokesman for the state party confirmed that it was the public relations firm used by both candidates that was responsible for the quote.

But let's face it. In these days of cookie-cutter candidates, who has time for original thought or articulation?

Actually, back in my activist days, I wrote a considerable amount of the same sort of claptrap quoted by Tamargo and Fasano, making obvious statements appealing to people's emotions and fears.

Here, in the Fasano version, is what the fliers said: "I remember when I was in school and got into trouble, I was disciplined at school and when I went home I was disciplined twice as hard by my parents. We need to restore real juvenile discipline and I think my juvenile reform package is a great start."

Tamargo's flier said: "I remember when I was in school, when a student got into trouble, they were disciplined at school and then once again, twice as hard, when they got home. We need to restore real juvenile discipline and I think my juvenile reform package is a great start."

Both candidates apparently have the ability to speak in different colors and typefaces at will, because that is the technique used to highlight the words "juvenile reform package."

By the way, the real-world translation of above is: "I am running for office in a district where there are a lot of old people and where juvenile crime scares the dickens out of them and everybody thinks they had it worse as a kid so if I can just find three scary looking models to pose as dirtbags for the front of this thing, I'll be in like Flynn."

Other candidates have used scary looking figures who just happen to be African-American when the ruling demographic points that way, or scary looking polluting businesses if they are looking for a worried Green vote.

I don't presume to know why someone with an obvious abhorrence of original thought felt compelled to write those words for Fasano or Tamargo or to steal them from one or the other, but I know that when I was in the business we did it because the candidates (who, by the way, were Democrats) were so terminally stupid that it would have been suicide to ever let them speak their own alleged thoughts on any subject.

Brian Prescott, a Democrat who got whipped by Fasano in the campaign in which the Fasano flier was used, theorized jokingly that perhaps Fasano and Tamargo went to the same school. If they had, the first and third person references would make it possible for Fasano to have been the student in trouble and Tamargo to be reporting what she saw.

Or maybe they are telepathically linked to the same mother ship.

Or maybe, just maybe, they are the same person.

Ever see them in the same room?

Think about it, a little blush, a little padding, some tasteful pumps?

To paraphrase Pasco County Commissioner Hap "Hapless" Clark, maybe you don't need to be a brain surgeon or a plastic surgeon to figure it out.