Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The Dead

Judging by the eye-sore rhetoric cluttering yards and jamming mailboxes throughout the county, it must be campaign season again. And if there’s one politician who’s kicked his march to office into hyper-drive, it’s the loveable huggable Congressman Kickass who’s taking sleazy political slogans to a new level, albeit a fairly low level.

Faced with what was initially portrayed as a tough re-election campaign, incumbent Congressman John Sweeney has decided to dig up the dead in what appears to be an attempt to mollify his support for the increasingly unpopular war in Iraq.

Recently, independent voters across Saratoga Springs received a glossy high-color mailer last week featuring a photo of the congressman and Kathy Brown, the mother of Army National Guard PFC Nathan Brown who was killed in Samara, Iraq nearly two years ago.

Closely mimicking a television ad that aired last month, the mailer shows Sweeny planting a kiss on the forehead of a wincing Brown, who appears to be in the midst of grieving. On the flip side, the ad features a soot-covered American flag patch that was apparently pulled from the deceased soldier’s uniform and then juxtaposed on the brilliant star-spangled blue of a clean flag.

Throughout the ad, Sweeny’s camp lists key quotes uttered by Brown, basically asserting that she doesn’t support the war but is throwing her allegiance behind the Republican incumbent. Among other things, she credits Sweeney for fighting in Washington for more armor on military vehicles.

But aside from including the trademark “paid for by Sweeney for Congress” slogan in small print on the bottom, the congressman himself makes no statements on the ad. It’s not surprising either, seeing as though Sweeney has vocally supported the “stay the course” mantra vehemently maintained by the Republican National Committee; to speak against this even to win re-election would be to violate the party’s line, which is a big-time faux pas among GOP loyalists.

Even more disturbing, however, is that Sweeney needs to go grave-digging to fight for his seat in congress. Perhaps instead of capitalizing on a grieving mother’s tragic story, he could instead point out to voters what he’s actually done since becoming Gerald Solomon’s heir apparent nearly eight years ago.

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