Driving about metro Phoenix, AZ this spring, I noticed a great crop of political posters sprouting up amidst the urban jungle. Privately I tabulated and categorized the most prevalent signs and additionally noted the staged backdrop to these human-planted advertisements.

One of the more popular political sign posts, hawked the wares of the old maverick himself — John Sydney McCain. No surprise. Johnny has the largest war chest in Arizona, purportedly over $5 million dollars as of last Februay 2010, according to AZ Republic columnist (and one time McCain election manager) Dan Nowicki. So the senior Senator can afford some placards. Yet it is clear that the style of the campaign finance management team, follows a quantity over quality model, with an unfocused campaign theme and a haphazard execution of spending.

Sure there are a lot of signs, but consider their placement the next time you notice one of those 3′ x 6′ distractions. McCain’s name fronts: abandoned construction projects, closed gas stations, vacant over-grown lots, and chain-link fences surrounding unused property of all shapes and sizes. No mental gymnastics here, just the fastest money-can-buy zombie postings wherever concerned citizens are unavailable to object. This is the kind of detached heartless artifice, characteristic of well-heeled yet oblivious political machinations — a stratagem without empathy for the very constituents whose vote it seeks.

That same too-much-cash-to-matter-much attitude, along with tone-deaf analysis of cultural issues that are way-out west of Washington D.C. — coupled with a decided tendency to sail with any perceived political wind — led to the “Complete the danged fence” TV spot. This little gem surely cost a fortune to produce and publish and resulted mostly in guffaws among the pundits, quizzical looks from long time supporters and anger from Latinos previously and tentatively in the McCain camp. Of course, the notorious McCain temper completed the matter by firing top campaign staffers: Shiree Verdone and Mike Hellon — a déjà vu move reminiscent of foibles that occurred in the failed 2008 presidential bid.

Maybe it gets to a point where the ideas just grow tiresome, directions becomes forced and contrite, and the will to carry on ends up in the political weeds — what we might call “the end of the trail” — out Arizona way, or in Spanish: “el final del camino”. Somehow that danged tale reads much better en Español.

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2 Responses to “Political weeds”

  1. Mariano Bartolomei says:

    I confess that I had not linked the locations of the signs with the McCain scruples. Quite observant, and keen at that. Probably portends a tuck-and-hide campaign from the camp that has so much to defend and so little substance to expose. Great article.

  2. jEFFSTANA says:


    Upon further inspection, it appears that glomming on distressed property is a specialty of the Republican party. Seldom will a McCain yard sign appear without a chorus of me-too signage also on display. Perhaps a struggle for the most evil? Who knows?


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