Thursday, September 25, 2014

Joseph O. Patton: Will the real Democrat please stand up?

  This time each election year I’m already popping antacid in anticipation of the invariably obnoxious, absurd, pander-prone TV ads of candidates seeking elected office in Alabama. Many of the spots you’d think were produced as comedy sketches for SNL, and others simply leave your brain feeling constipated. But imagine my surprise when it wasn’t the typical source of nutty-cakes campaigning but the Democratic Party’s own candidate for attorney general Joe Hubbard that left me rolling my eyes.

  Hubbard is currently completing his term representing District 73 in the Alabama House of Representatives. He’s being squeezed out of the area by race-based redistricting courtesy of his Republican colleagues in the Alabama Legislature in a statewide move to essentially eradicate white Democrats.

  But from Hubbard’s first TV ad you’d think he has decided to join them. Coupling the knuckle-dragging, crotch-grabbing bravado of gun fetish types with some cheerleading for fetuses, Hubbard is slinging every conservative catch phrase or visual against the wall hoping something will stick in what promises to be the most competitive statewide race on the ballot this November.

  Hubbard is shown firing off a pistol, calling himself “pro-life,” which is admittedly comical to do as you’re shown firing a weapon, and whining that Luther Strange has been calling him a “liberal.” Get out the tea bags, y’all! Then Hubbard’s wife joined in the action in his latest online ad released this week, also doing a Yosemite Sam impression.

  I started playing politics as a child, so I’m not so naïve to believe that a Democrat—even one in name only—can win a statewide race in Alabama without conjuring an effective way to peel off some conservative-leaning voters. But going full Tea-Bagger, replete with brandishing weapons and pandering to the pro-life crowd is the other party’s domain. Perhaps Hubbard should have run against Strange in the Republican Primary. That knuckle-dragging bullshit doesn’t resonate with thinking people. Or do such ads indicate the campaign doesn’t believe there are enough thinking people in Alabama and therefore they have to resort to the mouth-breathing politics?  And for the record, not all of us are insecure about the size of our penis.

  After the gun play, Hubbard resorts to whining about Luther Strange calling him a “liberal.” He shouldn’t take the bait and allow Strange to dictate the discussion. And though I would never paint Hubbard as liberal, I would readily call him a coward for engaging in the same shameless, misguided pandering that the Republican Party subsists on. Trying to out-Tea Bag the opposition is playing their game. It lowers the value of political discourse in our state, and it reinforces the false belief that we should pander harder than we should articulate our vision or even govern.

  The tactic is also flawed because it sucks Hubbard into a game of who can out-Republican each other. The Republican primary is already over, so that will invariably result in defeat. Try being Joe Hubbard. Try spelling out what you’ll do as attorney general. Try reaching out to voters on the merit of your own ideas instead of mindlessly waving your little pistol about and harping about healthcare decisions that should remain between a woman and her doctor. Trying running your own campaign, not lifting a page from the self-serving, wrong-headed assholes who have brought our state to this precarious point.

  And if you can’t be your own man, then I—and many Alabamians who aren’t so painfully gullible and cult-like in their thinking—can do without you. We believe our future won’t (and shouldn’t) be shaped by gun-waving and demonizing reproductive rights in an effort to play to the self-righteous, Shiite Baptist crowd. We don’t need another pandering neocon who’s simply waving a different party’s banner, though laughably trying to downplay his party affiliation as though we won’t see that notation on the ballot. Apparently if you catch Hubbard at a campaign event, he’s portraying a guy named Joe Hubbard, part-time Democrat. But if you see him in a TV ad, he’s indisputably Dale Peterson.

  And worse, I can’t decide in which direction to spit my ire—at Joe Hubbard for rolling over , playing dead and giving in to this caveman-level brand of politics or at voters who are so insanely dense, absurdly misguided and painfully gullible that they’ll vote for any old goof who waves a gun about and regurgitates a few hollow phrases.

  We need leadership and a commitment to fighting crime in our state that Luther Strange has failed to provide. But can Joe Hubbard provide it, or what about that fellow appearing in the ad described above who looks a lot like Joe Hubbard but sounds like a spokesperson for the Alabama Republican Party? I’m not sure which, if either, I should vote for.

  About the author: Joseph O. Patton is the editor-in-chief and founder of the Capital City Free Press. He is a former news editor for the Coosa County News, lead reporter for the Montgomery Independent and editor-in-chief of the AUMnibus, the student newspaper of Auburn-Montgomery. Patton is also the creator of and writer for the satirical news radio segment "Goat Hill Gossip," which previously aired on WAUD in Auburn, Alabama and has appeared on several Central Alabama radio programs as a political analyst.

Copyright © Capital City Free Press

No comments:

Post a Comment