July 17, 2008
Anti-Obama and anti-Democratic billboards have been popping up in the South recently. The worst of them is a group of three fear-mongering eyesores in the greater Orlando, Florida area. The “brainchild” of painter Mike Meehan, the billboards show the crumbling World Trade Center ablaze on 9/11, with a backdrop including the American flag. The billboards read: “Please Don’t Vote for a Democrat.” Not coincidentally, the billboards hawk a Meehan-penned patriotism-for-profit ditty, “The Republican Song,” which is available for purchase on his website.
According to Tampa Bay Online, a spokesman for the Florida Democratic Party in Tallahassee, Eric Jotkoff, said today: “The fact that the Republican Party and their allies are using the national tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001 for partisan political gain is shameful…The Republican leadership should stop playing politics with the death of nearly 3,000 Americans and join us in calling for the billboards to come down.” Katie Gordon, a spokeswoman for the Republican Party of Florida, supports the St. Cloud painter’s right to free speech, but said that the GOP had nothing to do with putting up the billboards. “I would hope that people driving by the billboards would not automatically assume the Republican Party was behind it. We are certainly not,” she said. She pointed out that the billboards do highlight national security issues.
Among those offended by the billboards is Orange County Democrats Chairman Bill Robinson, who told MyFoxOrlando.com: “It’s an affront to the people who perished on September 11th…It’s offensive. It’s using the tragedy for political and personal gain.”
Part of the reason for the painter’s confusion can be attributed to watching Faux News. On his website, Meehan writes: “For the love of my country, I later became interested in its direction. especially after 911. I became interested in news and wanting answers for a lot that wasn’t being told on the normal Liberal TV News stations. I started listening to talk radio stations and started reading a few books about politics, though I still appreciated the information from Fox New [sic] Network. It didn’t take too long after, I realized the danger of liberalism, and where it’s taking us today…Realizing the big election was coming up, I found it important to get the message out.” Meehan says he hopes “to help people make the decision to vote ‘Republican’ for the Presidential election and all elections in the future.”
A sampling of the pudgy painter’s lyrics includes:
“Now we’re trying to win a war and wipe out the terrorists,
We’re not fightin for oil we got plenty if we drill it.
But the liberals and the media are spreading their lies,
Get the hell out of our way and let our soldiers fight.”
Meehan says he’s just exercising his right to free speech, but doesn’t want to disclose any profits he’s made from the song. He says the billboards will remain in place until the November election is over — an election he won’t be voting in, since the Ontario native is a Canadian citizen. Waaay too many paint fumes, dude.
State Farm Insurance agent Bud Gregg’s anti-Obama billboard in Mandeville, Louisiana had a shorter lifespan. It said: “A taxpayer voting for Barack Obama is like a chicken voting for Colonel Sanders.” State Farm told Gregg to take it down. Knowing which side his bread is buttered on, he did.
Pinocchio A “concerned citizen” advised us that Gregg took the sign down before State Farm came calling. Uh-huh.
Perhaps the most desperate overreaching has come from the National Black Republican Association, headquartered in a Sarasota, FL apartment. Their billboard at exit 145 of I-26 in Orangeburg, South Carolina, reads: “Martin Luther King Jr. Was a REPUBLICAN”; seven similar billboards litter the Florida landscape. The King Center asked the NBRA’s chair, Frances Rice, 64, to take down the billboards, but she refused. In a prepared statement, Martin Luther King III said: “It is disingenuous to imply that my father was a Republican. He never endorsed any presidential candidate, and there is certainly no evidence that he ever even voted for a Republican. It is even more outrageous to suggest that he would support the Republican Party of today, which has spent so much time and effort trying to suppress African American votes in Florida and many other states.”
Florida’s Republican Party declined to discuss the matter, while Rep. Jennifer Carroll of Jacksonville, the state’s only black Republican lawmaker, didn’t return phone calls seeking her comment. Rice claims that the NBRA, started with five members in 2005, now has 1,000 members in 48 states. Part of her mission, she says, is to highlight the racist past of the Democratic Party.
Read more black political news.
Photo credit: The Republican Song.com and WESH-TV, Orlando
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