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Piggish politicking part of the game

We had survived the swine flu and were gamely battling the invasion of the giant hogweed when there arose another mighty grunting and squealing from our mayoral campaign, already in full wallow.

We had survived the swine flu and were gamely battling the invasion of the giant hogweed when there arose another mighty grunting and squealing from our mayoral campaign, already in full wallow.

Last week, Mayor Larry O’Brien complained about a YouTube video that used edited video of his campaign kick-off speech to emphasize his malapropisms and mixed metaphors. He fingered political rival Jim Watson’s campaign as the culprit.

“A campaign is supposed to be tough,” O’Brien said. “You’re supposed to say things to each other and call your opponent out, but I think this kind of activity is really inappropriate. I don’t think that’s how politics should be done here.”

Watson’s people, for their part, admit they taped the speech and made the raw footage available online, but golly, they didn’t actually make the video. Like most political campaigns, Team Watson is being a little disingenuous. It loaded the gun and aimed it, no matter how deniable the person who actually pulled the trigger.

O’Brien, like any prominent politician, has already been the target of several heckling YouTube attacks, one of which features a recording of an ill-fated attempt by the mayor to erase remarks from a reporter’s tape recorder he had made in an interview.

That one appears courtesy of Apply Liberally, one of many anti-O’Brien blogs. Add typical anonymous Internet nastiness to partisan politics and the results can be nose-wrinkling, but these tactics are commonplace and are here to stay. Whining about it does not become us.

You may remember it was Watson doing the complaining about the low quality of the debate last month after O’Brien called him a “scaredy cat” and “little old lady.”

The video is similarly cheap. O’Brien, for example, used the word “constipation” in his speech. It’s a common populist metaphor for the gridlock that sets in (with ironic regularity) at city hall. The video is edited so he repeats the word over and over in a rapid edit that is both thoroughly juvenile and kind of funny.

Anyway, if you care, see the video yourself. By expending ink on this silliness, I’m just helping childish trivia crowd out the candidates’ actual platforms, or real problems like the recent collapse of a land deal for our long-proposed new library.

Let’s just say our two leading mayoral candidates are already disappointed in each other — and they’re not the only ones.

 
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