Sunday, October 15, 2006

Local Political Idiocy

My wife and I saw a strange story on the local news last night. One of the State House of Representative elections in Orlando got ugly (or uglier, not sure which) in the last week.

The incumbent, one-time Democrat and current Republican Sheri McInvale sent out a flyer about her opponent, Democrat Scott Randolph. In a flyer that was ostensibly about immigration and healthcare issues, Mcinvale used a picture of her opponent standing with a drag queen. (If I recall correctly, it was from a Halloween event from last year. Sorry, I can't find the sorry the local channel aired. So no link love for them.) The ad, which McInvale's campaign has not put on her campaign website, seems to attempt to 'smear' Randolph with 'the gay thing'. One of the local paper's bloggers described it thusly:

The latest mailing that McInvale and her Republican Party sent out is supposedly about immigration. But you wouldn't know that by looking at the main photo she used.

The photo McInvale picked features her Democratic opponent, Scott Randolph, standing with a drag queen. (It's Miss Sammy, who's probably one of Orlando's most convincing queens. But a queen nonetheless.)

Above the photo is a line that says Randolph is "Wrong for our families."

And on top of the picture of Randolph and the queen is a line that says: "Who do you think will have to pay their medical bills and other costs?"

...

Even Patrick Howell, the head of the Log Cabin Republicans, said McInvale should apologize.

So McInvale did. Sort of. In a statement later in the week, she wrote: "There are those that were offended by a recent party mailer. There was, of course, no intent to offend anyone. However, I regret that some individuals took it out of context and as a result had their feelings hurt."

Really, it was one of those I'm-sorry-YOU-were-offended things. But McInvale also pointed to her past championing of gay-rights causes, like gay adoption, and vowed to continue being a champion.

And Howell said "McInvale has carried more water for the gay and lesbian community than any other member of the Central Florida delegation -- Republican or Democrat."

He's right. In fact, McInvale was one of the few pols at the last grand-opening celebration of Gay Days. I remember chatting with her that night for quite some time.
Read the whole thing, as they say.

Interestingly, McInvale only switched her party affiliation in January of this year. Even MORE interestingly, she originally won her seat in 2002 by defeating a gay Republican candidate. According to the People for the American Way website [scroll down to the second FLORIDA entry], in that election:
Doug Head, chairperson of the Orange County Democratic Party, came under fire for comments quoted in The Orlando Sentinel, equating a gay Democrat voting for an openly gay Republican candidate with “a Jew voting for Hitler.” Patrick Howell, an openly gay man, was running for the Florida Legislature as a Republican in a district that includes a predominately gay Orlando neighborhood. The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, which had endorsed Howell, called the remarks “alarming and reprehensible.” The local Republican Party chair labeled the comments as “so extreme, so vulgar and so desperate that it begs for a reaction of indignant outrage.” Head attempted to clarify his remarks by responding that Howell was not “Hitler” and that for gay Democrats “not to recognize that the Republican Party isn’t going to look out for their interests isn’t [sic] paying attention.” Incumbent Rep. Allen Trovillian, R-Winter Park, who was included in PFAWF’s most recent Hostile Climate report for a reported anti-gay tirade against a group of gay student lobbyists, endorsed Howell’s Democratic opponent, Sheri McInvale, who went on to win the District 36 race.
Very strange indeed! She for gays, except when she's against gays, depending on which position will help her get elected. Out-standing!

I wouldn't be surprised if this backfires, however. Her district includes a sizable gay population, who will now likely be motivated to turn out and vote against her. After all, if a gay Democrat voting for an openly gay Republican candidate is like “a Jew voting for Hitler”, then how bad would it be for a gay Democrat to vote for any Republican? She's not only managed to be offensive, but also dumb. I'd ask why we keep electing these idiots, but why would anyone with any sense want to run for office?

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