Okay…there is no sex involved here (as far as I know), but there are lies, and, of course, videotape. In the second of my posts on political TV advertising, I will now address the race for the House of Representatives in Florida’s second district–16 counties in Northwest Florida. The race is between incumbent Democrat Allen Boyd , who is from Monticello (near Tallahassee) and Republican Steve Southerland of Panama City.
Let’s take Boyd first. Boyd is one of the infamous Blue Dogs. Democrats who claim to hold to the principles of the Democratic Party (whatever those are) but with more of an eye toward fiscal responsibility. In other words, a DINO. Like Republicans have a lock on the concept of fiscal responsibility, and Democrats don’t care about it? I guess I should be grateful for the Blue Dogs, since both compromise and fiscal responsibility are essential, but part of me says, just be one thing or the other. Realistically, however, it’s not politically feasible to be elected in North Florida unless you’re a Democrat who acts mostly like a Republican, unless you’re from Tallahassee itself.
At the last minute, Boyd voted for the health care reform bill, after what one writer I read called “arm-twisting”. Boyd says he changed his mind about supporting it after changes were made that he deemed to be more…you guessed it…fiscally responsible. Here’s what I think happened: the Democratic Party said, you don’t vote for this and you can start calling yourself a Dead Duck instead of a Blue Dog. No money from us. No support. No TV ads. We will support your primary opponent instead–a long-time loyal Democrat named Al Lawson. Lawson was the minority leader of the Florida state Senate, who is term-limited out this year.
My plan was to vote for Lawson in the primary. But immediately, and I mean immediately, after Boyd changed his vote on health care, the Democratic Party started sending out emails saying Boyd needed to be supported (read: rewarded) for his “heroic” stand on health care. And frankly, I agreed. So I was going to vote for him, and then, the TV ads started. His attacks on Lawson were so fierce, vicious, and untrue, that I said “What was I thinking?” I voted for Lawson, but he lost. Lawson is understandably bitter. The Democratic Party abandoned him. In return, he endorsed Charlie Crist for the U.S. Senate as opposed to the Dem candidate Kendrick Meek. You go, Al!
So now Boyd and the Dem Party have turned the machine guns in the direction of Steve Southerland. Boyd’s ads say that Southerland wants to abolish Medicare and Social Security (keep in mind what I said about scaring seniors), and that he wants to repeal the 17th Amendment, the one which gives the people the right to vote on members of Congress, rather than having them selected by the states. These allegations may even be true, but after seeing Boyd’s attacks on Al Lawson, you would have to be a complete idiot to take his word for anything.
Lucky for Boyd, I guess, Southerland is hoist by his own petard. In Southerland’s own ads, he says he wants to “create jobs” (code for, lower my taxes, but not necessarily yours) and he wants to help repeal “Obamacare” (code for, I have no idea what I’m talking about, but I know you don’t either and will like the sound of it). Southerland is the owner of several funeral homes, so in the job creation arena, I have to ask myself what sort of jobs he plans to create. In that regard, abolishing Social Security and Medicare makes perfect sense. More customers, quickly.
So…no thanks to Allen Boyd, I’ll vote for him anyway. But it will be one of those choices where you are picking the best of the worst. In an ideal world, I’d have an overwhelmingly positive choice, which is how I felt about President Obama, but “ideal” and “positive” don’t often seem to mesh with politics.