Campaign follies

Faster, GOP Senate candidates! Kill! kill!
By PHILLIPE & JORGE  |  August 17, 2006

You can always learn something from watching television commercials. Unfortunately, what you learn is usually very depressing. It’s all a matter of reading between the lines. For instance, we have been entertained by Senator Linc Chafee’s latest commercial, in which he puts the worst possible face on his primary opponent, Cranston Mayor Steve “Laugh at Me” Laffey.

In one short snippet of video, the mighty mayor is shown puffing out his chest at firefighters, but the highlight is a radio sound bite of Laffey explaining how (according to the commercial) “seniors who didn’t support him” were old and dying. You only hear Laffey say “old and dying,” so you get the idea that maybe there’s a bit of missing context (there is).

Dirty pool? We’d say so, but there’s no one in public life we like seeing get a knee in the groin as much as Laffey. He’s just such an attractive target.

The big thing we learned from watching the new “Stevie is a boor” spot is that this GOP primary race is really close. Although we are privy to a variety of polls on this and other races, the candidates’ internal polling is usually much more extensive and accurate, and as a result, we never get to see these goodies.

We suspect the pollsters for Chafee and Laffey are telling them that this is a dead heat. Where your superior correspondents live — in Liberal World — we hear of a number of fellow travelers who have disaffiliated to vote for Laffey in the primary. The thinking is that Laffey is far more likely to get creamed by Mr. Weldon Bleakhouse, the (very) likely Democratic contender.

Mr. Whitebread does have a primary opponent, Carl Sheeler, and Carl is clamoring to debate the frontrunner. There is absolutely nothing to gain for Whitehouse, of course, in debating Sheeler. It only serves to give Sheeler a big dose of publicity for which he can’t afford to pay, as well as the possibility that Sheldon might make a slip of the tongue while debating that could cost him votes. Much as debating would be the fair thing, avoiding debates until the general election is the pragmatic thing for the big frontrunner.

Meanwhile, in the gubernatorial race, Charlie Fogarty has re¬leased his first TV commercial, and it’s not very impressive. Much as we’re cheering for Charlie, we don’t get the connection between kids leaving Rhode Island when they’re grown and “corruption.” Of course, “Laughing Boy” Carcieri is yet to go on TV, but we’ll be there to rate his video ventures when they appear.

Irony alert on fountain street
One thing we’ve always loved about the Urinal is how it’s utterly predictable. For instance, if one of the mighty ramrods over there (Howie Sutton, Joel Rawson, etc.) ever actually picked up the phone and responded to a call from another local media outlet, the person on the other end would probably, as we say, “take a hot.”

Another area where the BeloJo excels is in its policy toward other local media, broadcast or print, which beat it on a story. This happens all the time (just get yourself a subscription to the Daily News of Newport). The boring broadsheet’s embrace of blinders explains why we enjoyed Easy Ed Achorn’s column last week, in which he elliptically noted how state Democratic Party head Bill Lynch “told one publication” that the Citizens Foundation of Rhode Island “is interested in ‘polluting the system’ by raising and spending money to support its candidates.”

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