Monday, September 4, 2006

Campaign Signs in Maine

As much as I would like to see campaign signs not clog up the roadways this fall, as one of Maine's gubernatorial candidates has proposed, I suspect that they will. And with good reason.

They work.

They don't provide much more information than a name, an office, a party affiliation, and perhaps a quick slogan. (The most succinct campaign signs I've ever seen in Maine had just one word and a punctuation mark: "Olympia!") No real depth of a candidate's résumé or stands on any issue can be safely imparted through the written word to a driver hurtling along Maine's byways.

But they work.

Years ago, my now-defunct fraternity at one of Maine's liberal arts colleges ran a fictitious candidate for student office. They plastered the campus with signs, and the name came in with a winning tally on election day, without anyone having ever met -- or heard anything about -- the candidate. And this was at a place where the next generation of America's intelligentsia were supposedly being groomed to take their places in important government and corporate posts.

Fortunately for the fraternity, the dean of students had a pretty good sense of humor about the situation. He went along with a staged assassination of the candidate on the steps of the student union.



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