Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Whole World is Laughing at Dean Hrbacek

Honestly, it began as an inconsequential but amusing piece buried in the Texas Politics section of the Houston Chronicle.

“Some politicians talk about cutting the fat, but this one was serious. Congressional candidate Dean Hrbacek appears slimmer than usual in a new campaign brochure because a photo of his head was affixed to the image of a different body. While the mailer sent to voters this week by the former Sugar Land mayor says ‘Dean's record speaks for itself,’ his physique clearly does not.”

And here is the offending photograph taken from a scan of a very expensive multiple-fold campaign mailer.

If you look very closely at the left (his right) side of his neck you see something oddly missing: part of his neck. It’s as if he had a piece of his neck cut off. The lines don’t go right, but apparently it was the only way to get the neck to fit into the dress shirt’s collar. One obviously cut for a thinner neck.

The Chronicle had some fun with it and the campaign copped to the fact that indeed the head of Dean Hrbacek (that’s Her-BAH-check, with the Neck not pronounced) had been photoshopped onto the body of another man wearing a business suit. It has been alleged that the body belongs to none other than Hrbacek’s political nemesis, Sugar Land Mayor David Wallace. It has even been reported that Wallace’s wife has identified the body as that of her husband’s.

But then other news and websites picked it up from the AP wire service.

Yahoo News has it now, as does CNN has Dean Hrbacek’s doctored image posted in a story that they are listing under their “Funny News” banner. And then finally we see that The International Herald Tribune has picked up this story and has thus broadcast it to the entire world. Now that's what I call exposure.
And just when you think that Washington DC might be ignoring the whole thing, thankfully since DC is the place Hrbacek wants to hang his next shingle, Wonkette, the DC Gossip, has picked up the story with a vengeance and has produced yet another photograph that I have shamelessly lifted from her site and reposted here (but you do need to read Wonkette’s take on all of this).

I still think that the whole thing originated from the sister site of CD22 Watcher (nah, go somewhere else for the link) there at CD22 Rubbernecker, where some time ago we saw the first photoshopped version of Dean Hrbacek’s head, although if you ask them, they’ll swear up and down that this is the real honest to Christ photograph of the man.

Now I am no expert here, not a political savvy like some people I know, but I was just wondering whether this playful but artless use of a computer graphics program to produce that photo in this glossy mailer has just caused the first head to roll in this GOP primary.


Anonymous said...

There's a long history of political shennanigans like this. In 1978 Bill Clements was running for first Republican Texas Governor since Noah's Ark. Problem was they thought they'd have to DUB his voice in the TV commercials because it was so gravelly--a political No Sale! But their focus groups said he sounded "authentic" so they let the man speak for himself. Political consultants!

Anonymous said...

I like the second pict. Too bad the heshe isn't running. Maybe Lampson would have some real deserved competition.

Anonymous said...

Actually this may give Dean the name recognition throughout the 22 district that he was craving. If he is savy he can come up with a pretty humble joke to use at all his campaign stump speeches that should feed the the good ole boy Texas types and draw a good laugh. That might be one way to handle this and I'm not charging 500 week for this advice.

He has an opportunity now thanks to the chron and sites like these, because voters will more than likely remember the name when they pull the curtain. Few will remember that Lampson broke many campaign promises.

Hal said...

And such is the wisdom of a CD 22 voter. Such wisdom was characterized by a commenter of more than a year ago, who likened the typical Republican voter in CD 22 to a glowing 15-watt light bulb buried under a foot of dirt.

And that last part about Nick? I'm pretty sure that this is exactly what he is counting on.

Anonymous said...

"Actually this may give Dean the name recognition throughout the 22 district that he was craving..."

Hi Scott!

Hope you've had a good week over there at Hrbacek HQ. I promise you it's about to get worse, for you in particular.

Might want to put down a deposit on a U-HAUL now.

Are you allowed to cross back over New Jersey state lines?

Anonymous said...

I would further ad empty that I'm not an DH operative and could care less who wins the bacon war in CD-22 (it's all about the money folks).

Anonymous said...

"Few will remember that Lampson broke many campaign promises."

Wow Scott, I hope Dean ISN'T paying you to say stuff like that, because you totally screwed it up.

In the future, that sentence will be more effective political hackery if it read: "MOST will remember that Lampson broke many campaign promises."

Maybe I should teach a class or something...It would of course include a segment on "Remedial Photoshop for Political Hacks."

Anonymous said...

I'm gonna vote for the bathing suit.