Identity Theft of the Third (Party) Kind

Some people received a mailer last week. One of many devices a campaign uses to get your attention, send a message, and in one particular case perpetrate what amounts to a grossly misleading ploy to trick you, the voter.



Like many things the Florida TEA party has done, this one smacks of bait and switch, sawdust in the crankcase, cheap Rolex knockoff, just plain deception. I’m speaking of a mailer sent by Peg Dunmire’s campaign suggesting by word and image that former Republican primary congressional candidates actually support her. And in addition suggest that someone inside her campaign has endorsed her and that the endorsement is anything but fluff.
Just like the web ad that suggested Sarah Palin endorsed her campaign, this mailer uses the image of a trusted and respected primary candidate to “suggest” that her and three of her primary opponents are casting their weight in support of a campaign other than Daniel Webster’s. If you have any doubt that this is an out and out deception on Ms. Dunmire’s part check out the Video – (LINK).
How, you might ask, would one perpetrate such a trick? Well first you would need to employ the mainstay of the shill artist, slight of hand. Put a picture that everyone would recognize and associate with the tea party leadership in a given spot on the page. Then wrap it with an overblown, self agrandizing endorsement by one of your own insiders. Then, link the two with words that may fall short of a legal lie but would not stand the smell test on any scale. Use a picture of the distraction, no one will recognize it and so they will focus on the image they are familiar with. Use words that mean “I just joined an organization” and couch them in context that suggest the the distractor is a leader with bonafides. In this case you might suggest the person was a key member of the targets staff.
I happen to know the person who served in the capacity of “Custodian of Records” for the 2010 primary election season of Mrs. Sullivan. That person has been working her fingers to the bone in support of Daniel Webster. So who might this distraction be? Perhaps an early volunteer who didn’t have the right stuff? Whatever the story, a quick check of the Sentinel archives might give us an insight into the reason her time spent in service was much less significant than the shell game would have us believe.



And there you have it. Tricky words, strategically placed pictures and banner texts. And, an endorsement that is at best a misrepresentation of the endorser and at worst something that should be vetted by the postal service.

Clever, yes, in the same manner that bills get written behind closed doors and ads cleverly are taken out of context to  cast a shadow. If Ms.Dunmire has any integrity she has sold it for a bit of fame. Her reported “tearful plea” for leniency for one Doug Guetzloe at his recent sentencing begs a question. What is it that a man just sentenced to jail for his role in distributing more than 5,000 illegal mailers is going to do for Ms. Dunmire in exchange for her tearful outburst? Perhaps she more than any of us, is in need of the skills of a Daniel Webster to defend her soul against the . . . well, you know the story.


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