Reno rally: run, Janet, run

Could it be any more obvious? Harbor no more doubts about the gubernatorial intentions of Janet Reno. Two Saturdays ago, the erstwhile attorney general attended the bat mitzvah of a girl who had written her a letter of support for her handling of the Elian Gonzalez case. Even had to go to Albuquerque, NM, for the occasion.

The pandering season is upon us.

Meanwhile, it’s still anybody’s guess as to who would be most pleased by a Reno run:

–The Democrats, who see widespread name recognition and fund-raising clout

–The Republicans, who see Waco, Elian, special prosecutorial favors and health questions or

–Will Ferrell, who foresees a reprise of “Janet Reno’s Dance Party” on Saturday Night Live.

Overkill on McVeigh execution
Most days during the drought the sign above Garland’s Garden on Bay-to-Bay Boulevard in Tampa touts the merits of mulch and soaker hoses. Last Monday, however, it wasn’t your garden-variety signage. It said: “System 1, McVeigh O, VE Day.” It was the day of Timothy McVeigh’s execution.

I was taken aback. Media overkill is part of the culture, but not when I’m retreating to a plant nursery to window shop orchids and buy more liriope and hibiscus.

There’s no escaping it. I felt like I was being implored to join the celebration of a mass murderer’s execution. If anyone deserved execution — and probably less benignly than lethal injection — it was McVeigh. But I don’t celebrate executions, even McVeigh’s.

Anyhow, I asked Dan Bagley, an advertising professor at the University of South Florida, about the merits of using your advertising forum for a political message. The net result, said Bagley, is probably a wash.

“On politically laden issues, such as gun control, right to life and capital punishment, you probably have an equal chance of alienating those who disagree and appealing to those who agree,” said Bagley. “These commonly are just statements to the world; they’re not done for advertising purposes.”

So what says Garland’s Garden co-owner, Earl Garland?

“This is the first I heard of it,” said Garland. “I was off that day. But we’ve never put up political signs, and we’ve been doing business at this location since 1939. I better ask my sister, Sharon. She was here that day.”


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