Saturday, November 08, 2008

Another Election Story: Toilet Plungers and Republicans

I heard about this last Monday evening, and got an actual copy of the memo on Election Day, but things prevented me from posting a story on this uniquely silly set of circumstances until today.

Steve Radack is a County Commissioner in Harris County, the third precinct to be exact. How he got in that position is an insight into the former Republican majority in Harris County. Radack decided to, from a Fort Bend perspective, pull “an Andy Meyers.”

Andy Meyers, it will be recalled is the County Commissioner of Fort Bend County, by coincidence, the third precinct as well, who spent some of his own campaign cash to print up big morally offensive signs and posted them all over his precinct late in the 2006 campaign season. For a brief review of his past antics, go here and here.

Steve Radack decided to go Meyers one better, and bought 1,000 toilet plungers. These toilet plungers, Radack claimed, represented his partisan choice for President of the United States, John McCain.

A curious choice for a symbol, that.

A toilet plunger representing a presidential candidate.

To me, a toilet plunger represents a tool that is used to free a blockage that prevents the proper conveyance of feces into the sewer line. So to me, this toilet plunger idea is one that would make more sense as a symbol to the voters who flushed down a majority of Republican Harris County office holders last Tuesday.

But that wasn’t Radack’s line of thought. Radack made a leap of logic, relating the plumbing occupation to a toilet plunger. Relating a toilet plunger to “Joe the Plumber.”

Again, this leap of logic escapes me. A toilet plunger is something you use before calling a plumber, not during or after. You call a plumber when the plunger fails to resolve the situation.

But Radack had himself a great idea, to his own mind, and sought to distribute these toilet plungers to Republican voters who would carry them into the polls on Election Day.

Sneaky, sneakyx sneaky. Who in their right mind would object to a voter carrying such an innocent object as a toilet plunger to a polling location? Especially since there are lots of people out there who would never make that logical connection that seemed so clear in Radack’s anomalous mind.

But Radack had an answer to that one, too. Explain the logical relationship, just as one has to explain the punchline of a poorly delivered joke.

So he did.

And in answer, the Obama Voter Protection team issued an advisory to Harris County Poll Watchers, Election Judges, and Voter Protection Attorneys. One of these was manning a phone at the Fort Bend Democrats headquarters on Election Day, and he showed me the advisory.

Now here’s the thing. It’s as serious as a heart attack, but when you read it, it sounds like it was meant to be a seriocomic construction.

You have to read it to understand what I am saying, so here it is in all it’s glory. (Click on the images to enlarge)

Page 2:

I just have to repeat it:

“Plungers represent support for a presidential candidate.”

This election for all its ups and downs, will go down in history as not only the historical event that saw the election of the first black president, but as an election that presented voters with just about the silliest electioneering ploys in US history.

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