Billboard Progress


I posted recently about an “Impeach Obama” billboard that had sprouted up along Highway 41 outside Oshkosh, and wrote a letter to the editor that was basically an edited version of that post (minus the last paragraph and the racist image of Obama). Much to my surprise, the billboard has changed its tune-

Here is my new letter to the editor, which I believe the Oshkosh Northwestern will publish in a day or two-

I was one of several Oshkosh residents who wrote letters to the editor criticizing the “Impeach Obama” billboard, which had a subtitle indicating displeasure over unidentified legislation affecting small business. I had two main concerns. First, the billboard writers admitted (through their lawyer) that they did not believe that President Obama had committed any impeachable offenses. So if insincerity and factual distortion are problems with the “Washington politics as usual” that their lawyer indicated they were upset about, they were guilty of these vices themselves. Secondly, they unfairly singled out Obama as being responsible for any legislation that might be harmful to small business, rather than focusing on Congress, which actually writes legislation. And finally, they did both of these things anonymously, indicating perhaps that on some level they recognized that their rhetorical tactics were nothing to be proud of.

I would now like to commend the billboard renters for recently changing its message. As The Northwestern reported 3/16/2010, it now reads: “Washington D.C. Is a Cesspool of Corruption and Liars. On November 2nd All Career Politicians Must Be Defeated”. While the charge may be over-the-top, and the prescription self-serving for the opposition party in a two-party system, I can easily believe that the renters are sincere, and the message does not unfairly single out any particular politician. I look forward to the next billboard these folks pay for, which I hope will read: “Campaign Finance Reform Now!”.

(By the way, I’m not holding my breath for that future billboard.)

UPDATE 3/18/10- The Northwestern published the letter today, under the slightly more rosy title: “New Billboard Message More Acceptable“. Curiously, they deleted the final sentence of the first paragraph, which they might have deemed less relevant than the rest and more personal than necessary. Given the way the letter fits on the page, they may have needed to shorten it by a sentence; if so, they deleted the right one.

3 thoughts on “Billboard Progress

  1. You know… if they’re going to publish the letter (and it isn’t that long anyway), why delete anything? It’s a speculative sentence, true, on your part. But, the whole essay is an op/ed.

    As for that billboard, it’s still extreme and the posters are still in hiding (which is lamentable and cowardly), but I agree it’s better than it was. If they really want to stand by their words though, I think they would WANT to come out of the billboard closet. Obviously, they fear for their businesses and the potention fiscal impact coming forward might have. But geez, COWARDS!

    Imagine if our founding fathers had been like that. We’d still be “England”.

  2. The line was probably cut for space reasons….Newspapers are constructed with the ads placed on the page first…and editors are required to fill “the news hole” (as it is called in the newsroom).
    These days, most editors desperately want to avoid political controversy, thus the cheery headline.
    I agree with your final sentiment, true campaign finance reform has to be the first step if anything is ever going to change in this country.

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