Inappropriate billboard trivializes 17th District congressional race

As I drove on I-680 the other day, I saw a political ad on a billboard (just before the Glenwood-Mahoning exit) that is one of the most tasteless and shameless pieces of political advertising I have seen.

The idea of portraying the president, other Democratic leaders, and Congressman Tim Ryan in caricature is questionable in itself. But to add the image of the three of them holding leashes attached to a collar on Ryan’s neck is insulting and inappropriate by any measure. Further, to have Rep. Ryan’s head on a dog’s body is another downward step. Finally, to have the dog’s body in a position aligned with a fire hydrant (get the not-so-subtle attempt at humor here?) takes the ad to a reprehensible level.

If the crass visual content were not bad enough, the caption (“An Obedient Lapdog”) suggests that somehow, those awful Democratic leaders exert influence on the voting of members of their party in the House and Senate. What a revelation! Republican leaders like John Boehner and Mitch McConnell (toss in Dick Cheney, Rush Limbaugh and Karl Rove if you like) would never do such a thing. Putting pressure on party members to vote the party line is a political reality for both Republicans and Democrats, and to claim that such influence exists only in one party displays either ignorance of that reality or a deliberate, hypocritical attempt to paint a false picture.

We have Dr. Marisha Agana to thank for this affront to the intelligence and sensibilities of Youngstown voters. Dr Agana claims to want to “…serve only you.” No thanks. I’d rather be served by someone with at least a modicum of taste, an ability to engage in informed dialogue, and the self control to avoid the childish, ignorant rhetoric exemplified by this billboard.

Dr. Michael Theall, Poland