There are certain stereotypes about Southern electoral politics. From the valorization of the James Carville types (“the Ragin’ Cajun!”) to Huey Long worship, the machine makes many flavors. One item on the “need to win the election” menu, especially among the Dirty Tricks consultants, is the Two-Sided Color Flyer™ which is also a variant of the “Klansman with access to a photocopier at his office” variant of dropping stuff under the folks’ windshields during church.
In the world of the fairly expensive kinds of mailers, you’ve got to at least ask the question of whether it has the good ol’ “Presorted Standard US Postage Paid” rectangle, and then there’s the matter of if it says who it’s from. Were these things in our mailbox from David Woods, who is running at the moment to be the mayor of our city? Or were these things from some big fans of David Woods, who claim to be the Jobs & Progress Fund, which is something in a Post Office Box in Arlington, Virginia, wherever that is.
So let’s take a look at how this man, who has proclaimed himself to be a Christian every time I have heard him speak in public, is handling his efforts to persuade our city how to vote on October 8.
This first one is from the Jobs & Progress Fund — and let me just say here, so that I am in no way misunderstood, I am a fan of both jobs and progress. Those are two of our society’s great accomplishments, Jobs and Progress, so I am certain to be a supporter of any fund that upholds those two great ideals.
But why is this fund making it look like someone is going to damage the front lawn of my McMansion with the giant sloping yard and large full-bloom camellia bush? Will someone come and write something in salt on my precious lawn if I don’t help this TV-station-owning millionaire become some kind of civic leader? I really hope not. That red arrow is screaming at me, and the headline reminding me that “VOTING IS PUBLIC RECORD” seems to insinuate that if I don’t go vote, the POLICE DEPARTMENT will show up at my house in TACTICAL VESTS and the GLOCK 22 WITH YELLOW BLADE-TECH TRAINING BARRELS and maybe a few DANIEL DEFENSE DDM4V9 SERIES CARBINES.
Oh wait a minute, let me turn this over and, wait, there is our probate judge crudely Photoshopped into some kind of scene with rain and a good bit of wind and maybe a pillowcase or trash bag full of hundred dollar bills all flyin’ away all haphazardlike! There’s a lot going on here.
I get that in nonpartisan mayoral elections, it helps uninformed voters if one guy says that the other guy has “liberal allies” and just kind of assume that this phrase constitutes a damning slur and there ya’ go, no further questions need be asked. But when you go negative, go negative, and like Ororo Munroe, just cast the storm clouds (so many storm clouds!) of fewer job opportunities and rising crime and a failing education system. You don’t need polling to know that those are issues that our city is thinking and talking a lot about.
But what the actual hell is going on this photo? Is this trying to conjure Katrina looting? Did Steven Reed steal that bag full of cash? Is running through that field in the storm, wind blowing, fear racing through his veins? Are there barking dogs chasing him?
But here (below) is another one, smaller, glossy, mentioning the “may have missed previous elections” angle, to build off of the “hey dummy don’t forget the election is coming up” vibe of its cousin. The address side here is just a picture of some dim bulb watching TV, but the back has Steven Reed and … is that a real picture of him and his dad at his graduation? Or did they have to Photoshop Joe Reed into a picture with his son?
Anyway, not being a Reed family historian, I also have wondered about whether his son has a lot in common with the man who is currently asphyxiating one of the state’s political parties. Oh, OK, I guess they must be the same man, is what this flyer is telling me. These two peas in a pod are going to take away my guns, perhaps including my RRA LAR-PDS Carbine with Aluminum Tri-Rail Handguard. Didn’t know the mayor could overturn the 2nd Amendment, but okay cool.
One fun part about this is the footnotes on the weird bullet points. They footnote to nothing! It’s all note, no foot! Set aside that I laughed out loud at the leap to Obamacare, but I guess you just say “abortion” and “gay stuff” and you don’t ask that many questions about whether they did or did not (they almost certainly did) weirdly darken Joe Reed’s face so that it seems like he is fading away into the shadowy night. And we know about the history of darkening the faces of black people to increase the menace. Time Magazine knows about it.
Well, here’s another one, with Woods on one side, looking well feathered, like kind of a “Sliver Fox Rick Perry” type of thing, and he’s a businessman and, yes, yes, safe, good government, make better new direction, and then you flip it over and it’s like BAM!
What’s going on with that shirt, and is his arm a woman’s arm? Is this some kind of in-joke between the kind of for-sale sleaze that produce this pollution? Steven Reed has “girl arms” or something like that? And what’s in the suitcase? He’s taking MY damn money to go on some kinda vacation for work?!? Why I ain’t get to go to damn professional development damn opportunities in damn Vail, Colorado, and learn how to do a damn job but probably skip one or two of the sessions because small groups are a huge waste of time doing breakout sessions when we could be networking!
So at least there are footnotes. And if Steven Reed went to Vail on the public dime for some conference thing in 2014, I don’t totally need to see his receipts from the restaurant in order to choose between two seemingly pretty different types of guy to be my mayor.
Are you freaking kidding me? How much money did this guy spend on mailers? This beast is a FULL giant page, color on all sides, which is important when your shirt and hair are both the most blinding shade of ghostly snow. We get it, you know the guy who runs the print shop. He probably gets a new boat at Lake Martin or whatever out of this bill. It’s just so much paper! And the chemicals that go into showing Steven Reed, clumsily edited into a photo of him popping his collar (LIKE THOSE RAPPERS DO). According to this bedsheet-sized monstrosity, Steven Reed has “turned his back on us.”
Wait a minute, this thing looks like a file folder! It has a paper clip on it, and something stamped like in the Mission Impossible where they have the fat folder and then they have photos and stuff all paper-clipped in there perfectly so they don’t slide around, and then sometimes you gotta’ stamp right there on the folder and THREATEN THE PERSON THAT YOU KNOW THAT THEY MISSED AN ELECTION IN THE PAST.
You open it and there’s Woods, laughing at a super funny joke, and Reed’s photo on the other side is black-and-white because, sure. He’s so bad we won’t even colorize his photo! Why you want everything colorized! You’re the real racist!
This is insane. The Jobs & Progress Fund should be ashamed of themselves, but we all know that people who make these things are constitutionally incapable of shame.
And here’s his positive mailers. you’ve got a small one, saying he’s going to “attack” the “drug trade” and “dealer network” that “feeds” our crime problem. Oh, okay dude. Glad nobody had thought about doing some kind of War on Drugs before. Let’s arrest everybody.
Do people really think the endorsement of the Fraternal Order of Police is a super meaningful endorsement? Woods does. It’s on his mailers and he mentioned it in the WSFA debate on Sept. 26.
And here’s the last one. The clip art people. But also the zip code that tells you where it was mailed from. And the permit number. And it was paid for by the campaign. On Vaughn Lane. So David Woods can say that this is his mailer. He highlights smiling people thinking happy thoughts about Montgomery’s public schools. He can distance himself from the Jobs & Progress fund.
The election is soon. I’m writing this with at least the possibility that Woods could win. By the time you read this, we will know what happens. Does Montgomery embrace the bad old style of its negative, racist, extremely embarrassing past? Do the campaigns of the future play these cards, hire these kinds of people, make these kinds of appeals?
Or do we try something else?