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Sign Stealing
October 19, 2008 6:07 PM   Subscribe

Caught on Video: Stealing Obama Sign , and again, and again, and again, and this crazy lady, here, here, and here.! WTF . . . over.
posted by augustweed (121 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
If you want a vision of the future, imagine spitting at a fat lady crumpling up your homemade campaign sign on the side of the highway- forever.
posted by Uppity Pigeon #2 at 6:15 PM on October 19, 2008 [26 favorites]


I've had a Obama sign stolen out my yard as well. I'm not thinking of getting a camera but maybe a shotgun.
posted by nola at 6:16 PM on October 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Mandatory link to helpful tips from AskMe to prevent crazy fat ladies (and others) from stealing your Obama sign.
posted by rokusan at 6:19 PM on October 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


Seeing our retarded friends on the right suffer 4 or 8 years in our soviet democrat people's republic with Obama as our Great Leader is gonna be the best retribution.

Me, I plan to be in Canada, China, or Japan, with the popcorn, but still.
posted by troy at 6:21 PM on October 19, 2008 [4 favorites]


...what?
posted by PostIronyIsNotaMyth at 6:22 PM on October 19, 2008


Seeing our retarded friends on the right suffer 4 or 8 years in our soviet democrat people's republic with Obama as our Great Leader is gonna be the best retribution.

Actually, having to endure claims that the center-left1 Obama is a ultrasocialist is going to be excrutiating.

1He's not even planning single payer healthcare, which alone leaves us far to the right of all other civilized countries.
posted by DU at 6:23 PM on October 19, 2008 [12 favorites]


I wonder if this happened on anything like the same scale with Clinton yard signs. He's the last presidential candidate I can recall that drove people as crazy as Obama does.
posted by Countess Elena at 6:23 PM on October 19, 2008


You don't remember "Not Fonda Kerry"?

A party based on anger and hate is going to get a little worked up during every election. It's a feature, not a bug.
posted by DU at 6:25 PM on October 19, 2008 [24 favorites]


FWIW, a quick good search suggests that some McCain campaign signs have also been stolen and the perps have been videotaped. Just FYI.
posted by Joey Michaels at 6:26 PM on October 19, 2008


I wonder if this happened on anything like the same scale with Clinton yard signs. He's the last presidential candidate I can recall that drove people as crazy as Obama does.

Basically conservatives hate liberals who win.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:26 PM on October 19, 2008 [6 favorites]


I think this thread needs a link to Lesley Gore's hit song Sunshine Lollipops and Rainbows.

Take it away Lesley!
posted by hellojed at 6:27 PM on October 19, 2008 [4 favorites]


I liked the picture I saw of a homemade sign next to an Obama sign that said:

YOU STEAL MY OBAMA SIGN = I BUY NEW SIGN = OBAMA GETS MORE MONEY

That was pretty kick ass.
posted by billysumday at 6:28 PM on October 19, 2008 [16 favorites]


Can you set booby traps on your own property? Probably not. What about a big pit with pillows at the bottom? They wouldn't be hurt, but they would be stuck at the bottom of a big pit for a while, which would be satisfying. You could even set up a sound system that plays Obama speeches in the pit.
posted by diogenes at 6:29 PM on October 19, 2008 [18 favorites]


Heh... reminds me of my town's mayoral election a few years back in which there was a rash of lawn sign thefts... perpetrated by the underdog's wife.

He lost, needless to say.
posted by Rhaomi at 6:31 PM on October 19, 2008


"You stole our Obama sign = We bought another sign = Obama campaign gets more money"
posted by ardgedee at 6:31 PM on October 19, 2008 [3 favorites]


How sad must your life be if you're reduced to stealing or tearing up campaign signs?
posted by maxwelton at 6:38 PM on October 19, 2008 [9 favorites]


There it is. Thanks.
posted by billysumday at 6:38 PM on October 19, 2008


What if you rig your lawn sign (on your property, with a sign stating the fact) up to your house current? Is that legal?
posted by Ron Thanagar at 6:39 PM on October 19, 2008


I hate to speak against my fellow travelers, but if that sign in the crazy lady series took that kid "hours and hours" to make it was because he reloaded the bong between every letter.
posted by nanojath at 6:42 PM on October 19, 2008 [28 favorites]


I have to say that I agree with Joey Michaels on this one. This sort of stupid is alive and well in any partisan group of people. I have always hated the notion that a few stupid people invalidate the policies of their party (or validate the policies of the opposition party).

There are plenty of legitimate reasons based in policy and agenda to be furious with the right. Stealing signs is only a reason to be furious at these particular idiots.
posted by The Loch Ness Monster at 6:43 PM on October 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


He is in a wheel chair, so maybe he has medical reasons for the bong...
posted by lee at 6:45 PM on October 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


I've had a Obama sign stolen out my yard as well. I'm not thinking of getting a camera but maybe a shotgun.

Sure, but if elected, Obama will personally come to your house and confiscate your shotgun AMIRITE MY REPUBLICAN PEEPS??!?!?!!!

(Do I have to say "j/k"? Really? I have to? Dammit.)

j/k
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 6:45 PM on October 19, 2008


This seems a good place to link to this picture that my husband took in 2004: "This Bush '04 sign was STOLEN from here by COMMUNISTS".
posted by statolith at 6:49 PM on October 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


"Hours to make that sign."?

Oh preview, what nanojath said.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 6:51 PM on October 19, 2008


People having to rig up surveillance and security systems to protect little placards, whose component parts are probably worth a dime or less, is really sad.
posted by CKmtl at 6:54 PM on October 19, 2008


"You stole our Obama sign = We bought another sign = Obama campaign gets more money"

Yeah, I totally ripped that idea off when I lost two signs in two days.

I was working from home the day I set it up, and my computer is right by the front window. I sat there all day and watched neighbors drive by, slow down, read it, scowl or smile, and move on. Both reactions made me cheerful.
posted by middleclasstool at 6:57 PM on October 19, 2008 [4 favorites]


Yeah, I'm surprised at how immature people have been this election. I had an Obama sticker on my car in the garage on campus, which has a pretty good police presence, and it was stolen. Then, I told the vice president of the Democrats club at my college, and he gave me two more, and I, in turn, made a donation.

A net win for Obama.
posted by mccarty.tim at 7:09 PM on October 19, 2008


Obligatory link to video about being caught while stealing.
posted by Joey Michaels at 7:10 PM on October 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


Obligatory link to video about being caught while stealing.

"This video is not available in your country."

WTF YouTube?
posted by CKmtl at 7:12 PM on October 19, 2008


Obligatory link to video about being caught while stealing.

Thanks Joey Michaels. Now I'm going to have the song stuck in my head all night! HELP!!!

Now I'm going to do it to you!!!! JOEY
posted by augustweed at 7:17 PM on October 19, 2008


"... hours to make that sign ..."

Aww, c'mon, folks. He says in the first video's information that he's in a wheelchair. It's not unreasonable to think that it might take a person with limited mobility a while longer to make the sign.
posted by barnacles at 7:18 PM on October 19, 2008 [3 favorites]


I have been tempted, upon seeing Bush/Cheney04 bumper stickers, to tear the stickers off the car. Also to smash the car's windows. But I can resist temptation.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:20 PM on October 19, 2008


Car? What the fuck am I talking about? It's always been SUVs, hummers, and pickup trucks.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:21 PM on October 19, 2008 [7 favorites]


He says in the first video's information that he's in a wheelchair.

Yeah, I didn't read that. I retract my accusations of bongulation.
posted by nanojath at 7:22 PM on October 19, 2008 [9 favorites]


augustweed: Ah, where have you gone, Johnette Napolitano, our nation turns it lonely ears to you. Woo woo woo.

CKmtl: its a link to the Jane's Addiction song "Been Caught Stealing." You may have better luck searching for it locally. Sorry!
posted by Joey Michaels at 7:26 PM on October 19, 2008


If he abandoned his sign on public property, did she break the law by removing it?
posted by yath at 7:31 PM on October 19, 2008



...what?
posted by PostIronyIsNotaMyth at 6:22 PM on October 19 [+] [!]




It's irony. And tha fact that you don't recognize that is. . .I think there's a word for it. Y'know, where someone's username is really, uh, funny, y'know, hysterical in the light of their post. . .it eludes me at the moment.
posted by Ndwright at 7:32 PM on October 19, 2008


Actually, I'm less concerned about people tearing up Obama signs than making their own.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:32 PM on October 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think this thread needs a link to Lesley Gore's hit song Sunshine Lollipops and Rainbows.

Well, this bumper sticker probably won't get stolen.

The source.
posted by hydrophonic at 7:38 PM on October 19, 2008


Now I'm going to do it to you!!!! JOEY

No way am I clicking that link. If it's what I think it is, I hate that song more than is even reasonable. And I have stuff to do that would be interrupted by me jamming pencils in my ears.
posted by dammitjim at 7:38 PM on October 19, 2008


Yeah, I'm surprised at how immature people have been this election.

What do you mean "this election"? This kind of thing unfortunately happens in EVERY election.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:54 PM on October 19, 2008


In early October I noticed a correspondence between people who had McCain signs out and people who put up their Halloween decorations way too early.

Then I decided that the McCain signs were just part of the frightening decorations.
posted by tkolar at 7:56 PM on October 19, 2008 [17 favorites]


This reminds me of a few years ago when I was out in front of my house and some guy walks by and spits on my "Support our Troops, end the war" sign. I don't think that he noticed I was there so when I yelled, "Hey fuck you too asshole!" he seemed kind of surprised and quickly walked away.

Which isn't to say that I don't understand his desire to spit on things. About a week ago I was walking by an H3 with two McCain/Palin stickers on it. No, I didn't spit on it but the urge was there.
posted by 517 at 7:58 PM on October 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Actually, I'm less concerned about people tearing up Obama signs than making their own.

It isn't that he hates *all* black people -- just the ones that can spell better than he can.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 8:00 PM on October 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


If you want a vision of the future,

imagine metafilter comments starting this way again and again forever.
posted by longsleeves at 8:05 PM on October 19, 2008


Now I'm going to do it to you!!!! JOEY

I hate you with the red-hot hate of a thousand suns.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 8:14 PM on October 19, 2008


Here's some idiots stealing political signs (Romney and Paul, plus some soft drink signs), videotaping themselves doing it, and practically begging to be arrested.
posted by Kickstart70 at 8:23 PM on October 19, 2008


You guys know these are all Obama supporters staging this to make McCain supporters look bad, right? Like the guys yelling "Kill him!" and "Off with his head!" at their rallies. Or that Joe the Plumber guy, who I was certain was pro-McCain until it turned out he retroactively didn't pay his taxes and would actually gain from an Obama administration. Those people will stoop to anything. Wake up from your HOPE-nosis!
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:00 PM on October 19, 2008


I have to admit that me and a high school friend did this 4 years ago. But we replaced the signs...just with signs from the opposite political party. There were a lot of crushed signs in the trash that year.
posted by Chan at 9:02 PM on October 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


Actually, having to endure claims that the center-left1 Obama is a ultrasocialist is going to be excrutiating.

Worse than claims that the centre-right Obama has anything to do with the left? Because that already shits me.
posted by pompomtom at 9:19 PM on October 19, 2008 [6 favorites]


I have to admit that me and a high school friend did this 4 years ago. But we replaced the signs...just with signs from the opposite political party.

That would be entertaining if you just went out swapping them. No net loss in political advertising, just different locations.
posted by tkolar at 9:32 PM on October 19, 2008


Worse than claims that the centre-right Obama has anything to do with the left?

Yeah, 'cuz nothing says political conservative like the phrase "redistribution of wealth".
posted by tkolar at 9:33 PM on October 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


I've been sorely tempted this election to place additional signs in front of people's houses, especially those with "Yes on 8" (I'm in California) signs, saying things like: "I spend a lot of time thinking about what other men do with their genitals". I haven't succumbed to the temptation yet, though.
posted by LionIndex at 9:45 PM on October 19, 2008 [13 favorites]


Yeah, 'cuz nothing says political conservative like the phrase "redistribution of wealth".

Political conservatives are also in favor of "redistribution of wealth" - the just have the directionality reversed.
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 9:54 PM on October 19, 2008 [7 favorites]


...they...

Preview is my friend....
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 9:55 PM on October 19, 2008


"redistribution of wealth" = "RETURNING WHAT WAS STOLEN"
posted by augustweed at 10:20 PM on October 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


Could it be people are stealing them for themselves because they like them rather than to destroy them? As in they are cheapskates? I have had that happen at stands at election booths - people asking for posters, and then people just stealing them.
posted by Megami at 10:34 PM on October 19, 2008


I've been tempted to stick up a yard sign that says "A YARD SIGN". I think it would be fun, but then again both Obama and McCain yard sign neighbors would get mad at me.
posted by Xere at 10:43 PM on October 19, 2008


political conservative like the phrase "redistribution of wealth"

actually it was "spread the wealth around":

“My attitude is that if the economy’s good for folks from the bottom up, it’s going to be good for everybody,” Mr. Obama said, according to the transcript, adding that plumbers are better off when there are more customers who can afford to hire them. “And right now everybody’s so pinched that business is bad for everybody, and I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody,” Mr. Obama said.

This was Obama answering Joe The Plumber's question whether he would support a flat tax.

So opposing a flat tax becomes socialist "redistibution of wealth" in conservatard land. Whatever.

16 days 2 hours 4 minutes and 15 seconds, LOL.
posted by troy at 10:51 PM on October 19, 2008 [4 favorites]


There was actually a letter to the editor in my local paper this weekend which seemed to argue for voting for McCain, because they gave away free signs, compared to the Obama campaign, which "sold" them, apparently in violation of Democratic Party promises to give free stuff to the poor.
posted by dhartung at 11:23 PM on October 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


"You stole our Obama sign = We bought another sign = Obama campaign gets more money"

Only effective if the "perp" can read
posted by mattoxic at 11:32 PM on October 19, 2008 [3 favorites]


Just when I think, no big deal these low-life petty thief sign stealers, then I read the list of books that Sarah Palin banned in her local library and get really angry about those signs being stolen.

Then I read "Some early W.Va. voters angry over switched votes
Jackson County touch-screens switched votes, 3 residents say"

And it starts to seem less like petty thievery and more like stealing the vote all over gain.
posted by nickyskye at 11:35 PM on October 19, 2008 [3 favorites]




It's irony. And tha fact that you don't recognize that is. . .I think there's a word for it. Y'know, where someone's username is really, uh, funny, y'know, hysterical in the light of their post. . .it eludes me at the moment.

posted by Ndwright at 7:32 PM on October 19

Still don't get it.
posted by PostIronyIsNotaMyth at 11:46 PM on October 19, 2008


And it starts to seem less like petty thievery and more like stealing the vote all over gain.

Yes. I was just wondering why you would need to own a Diebold when you've got a grassroots movement of thieves. If they'll steal signs now, what other shit will they get up to before or on election day?
Such schemes may be harder to pull off today now that federal laws require campaigns and parties to identify themselves to callers, but political experts say that in the age of the Internet the dirty trickster has an almost infinite ability to carry out their schemes with easy and anonymity.

"It's easy, it's untraceable, and by the time you find anything about it, the election is over," said Sabato.
posted by pracowity at 12:08 AM on October 20, 2008


Here's a Canadian sign-stealing story.

I remember a guy at my university who told me a story about him and a few people working for a Liberal candidate in an Ontario riding. Without the knowledge of the candidate the organizer told them to go out and replace the NDP campaign signs. Soon they found a white van replacing Liberal signs with NDP ones. At that point it turned into a game of who could steal the most signs. From the sounds of it they all just had a good time at the expense of their candidates.
posted by Pseudology at 12:51 AM on October 20, 2008


nickyskye: I don't like her either, but that list is false.
posted by Pendragon at 1:02 AM on October 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


nickyskye: That list is a proven fake; it's been floating around the net ever since Palin was selected as VP. It's just a generic collection of books that have been banned throughout history, and some -- like the Harry Potter books -- were not written until after Palin's term as mayor.

She did question the local librarian about the possibility of banning objectionable material, but it all stayed hypothetical and she never made any specific requests. Palin also attempted to fire the librarian for not fully supporting her agenda, but wasn't able to. All troubling, but she did not try to eliminate half the Western canon like some critics are suggesting.
posted by Rhaomi at 1:06 AM on October 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


Lol, I knew she couldn't be serious about banning James and the Giant Peach.
posted by Pseudology at 1:23 AM on October 20, 2008


My wife and I live in a medium-sized town in the Midwest. In 2004 we had one, small, modest Kerry/Edwards sign in our front yard. About a week before the election, we woke up one morning to a large set of (truck? SUV?) tire tracks across our lawn in a "doughnut" pattern, and of course, the sign was gone. Neither one of us heard a thing. We had to repair limestone landscaping, replace plants, re-fill the tire trenches, and re-seed the lawn. It took a couple of years before all remnants of the damage were erased. My wife was convinced (and still is) that it must have been an accident. She won't let herself imagine anyone would purposefully do that over one small political sign.

I, however, think differently.
posted by belvidere at 3:40 AM on October 20, 2008


Good god, America is depressing sometimes.
Strikes me more should be done about thissort of behaviour. I can't help but think people who would try to censor other's opinions like this, would be perfectly happy to see book burnings and other such fascistic censorship happen.
posted by opsin at 4:06 AM on October 20, 2008


It would be funny if conviction for such a crime caused the criminal to lose the right to vote. I don't know if it would be fair, but it would make me laugh.
posted by pracowity at 4:17 AM on October 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


Mr.McAllister. Mr.McAllister. Somebody's torn down my poster. It's not fair. Can I get an A? Can I get a recommendation? Can I? Can I? Fuck them.

Sign stealin caught on tape!
posted by Pollomacho at 4:41 AM on October 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'd be much more sympathetic to that guy if he'd restrained from calling the perp a whore.
posted by Stewriffic at 4:47 AM on October 20, 2008 [7 favorites]


My neighbor has had an Obama sign in her yard since before the March 4th primary.
posted by sciurus at 5:06 AM on October 20, 2008


Worse than claims that the centre-right Obama has anything to do with the left?

No, your other right.
posted by oaf at 5:24 AM on October 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


I have been tempted, upon seeing Bush/Cheney04 bumper stickers, to tear the stickers off the car.

Or maybe just add a sticker saying "Ha-ha. Suckers!"
posted by rokusan at 5:29 AM on October 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


Up in Michigan, some McCain Palin supporters are driving around tailgating the Obama Biden supporters. (police scanner, around 1 minute in.)
posted by acro at 5:32 AM on October 20, 2008


I have been tempted, upon seeing Bush/Cheney04 bumper stickers, to tear the stickers off the car.

Why would you be tempted? Those are emblems of stupidity, ignorance and greed.
posted by psmealey at 6:42 AM on October 20, 2008


You know, this would all be really important if a yard sign had ever influenced a single presidential vote.
posted by pardonyou? at 6:48 AM on October 20, 2008


My neighbor has had an Obama sign in her yard since before the March 4th primary.
posted by sciurus

Mine too. I can see it from where I am sitting here typing; a little weatherbeaten, but still comforting somehow. (I can't see my own Obama sign from this window.)
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:59 AM on October 20, 2008


I have been tempted, upon seeing Bush/Cheney04 bumper stickers, to tear the stickers off the car.

Why would you be tempted? Those are emblems of stupidity, ignorance and greed.
I think of them as Marks of the Beast, especially when they are on huge SUVs with only one person driving.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:01 AM on October 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


You know, this would all be really important if a yard sign had ever influenced a single presidential vote.

It would. And I suspect it is.

People get ideas about what is possible, what is right and wrong, from what other people do. If your neighbors buy a truck or plant a garden or join the army or get divorced, it's a possibility they make you think about. You might have been raised a Republican in a conservative area, but if you see that your neighbors, people you like and respect, are voting Democratic, you might just think again about who you're supporting and why.

I can't guarantee that these signs are effective, but I bet there have been studies suggesting that they are. Advertising is big business, big money, and advertisers want to make sure they're spending their money effectively.
posted by pracowity at 7:11 AM on October 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


One of the unexpected advantages of apartment living -- people put the signs in their windows instead of on their lawns. Ain't NO way those signs get stolen.

....On a tangential and funny note: one of the people in my neighborhood also has a life-size cardboard cutout of Obama that he's been keeping propped up in the window of his third-floor apartment, and I pass his building on my walk home from work. It took me WEEKS to figure out why there was a creepy guy standing in the window and staring at me when I walked down that block.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:14 AM on October 20, 2008


(edited to add: Not that I think Obama is creepy as such. It's just that standing stock-still and staring intently at you when you don't expect it is an inherantly creepy act, no matter who's doing it.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:15 AM on October 20, 2008


The one thing that all these videos have in common is that they're useless. Blurry video of a chubby person getting out of a white SUV isn't going to help.

Go for a clear image of the face or, more significantly, the license plate. Hell, put up one of those big visible 6-foot height gradations like at the door of a convenience store.
posted by rlk at 7:22 AM on October 20, 2008


My neighbor has had an Obama sign in her yard since before the March 4th primary.

My neighbors still have a Hillary sign in their yard. To be fair, it's sort of tucked away in an obscure spot, but I admire their never-say-die spirit. They also have an Obama sign. My local campaighn office has been out of lawn signs for a while, so we've got a poster in our window.
posted by fixedgear at 7:27 AM on October 20, 2008


This anti-Obama sign in my neighborhood was destroyed during the last big storm that came through.

I tend to think of it as an act of god.
posted by anastasiav at 7:38 AM on October 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


"I have been tempted, upon seeing Bush/Cheney04 bumper stickers, to tear the stickers off the car."

Not me, I think it's great that people still have them on. There's a litany of fun games to play with them!

- Pretend they are targets for high beams.
- Do not allow such people to merge in front of you, ever.
- Box them in when they mistakenly get into exit-only lanes, forcing them to toll off and then back on.
- Parked in front of one? Take the opportunity to seafoam your engine.

. . . The list goes on!
posted by datacenter refugee at 7:39 AM on October 20, 2008


In 2004, I saw a home-made yard sign in a neighborhood chock-a-block with Bush/Cheney signs. It read "In 2000, they stole our election. In 2004, they stole our Kerry/Edwards sign!"
posted by Western Infidels at 7:45 AM on October 20, 2008


This anti-Obama sign in my neighborhood was destroyed during the last big storm that came through.
Of course they're Collins supporters. I sure as hell hope we get those fascists out of office sometime.
posted by dunkadunc at 7:57 AM on October 20, 2008


I live in Northeast DC. Most white folks in DC don't travel East of the Black Cat, with the exception of those that go to Capitol Hill or Takoma Park. I have to say that having a big fat Obama sign in my yard long before the white folks had been whittled down off of the Democratic ticket may not have been extremely beneficial to Obama, but it sure has helped my wife and I connect with those neighbors on our block that were still a little wary of the white come-to's setting up shop.
posted by Pollomacho at 7:58 AM on October 20, 2008


pardonyou?: You know, this would all be really important if a yard sign had ever influenced a single presidential vote.
Yes and no. Whether the signs influence votes or not, the thefts and vandalism show that the US includes a fair number of "patriots" who are actually opposed to the Constitution. That's pretty important to know.
posted by Western Infidels at 7:58 AM on October 20, 2008


Frankly, I hope that the Democrats get the kind of majority it'll take to make laws at the federal level that will permanently help get rid of Republican tactics to disenfranchise voters, as well as increase the turnout of minority voters in future elections.

Oh... and some legislation that would make corporate donations via bundling of checks from executives a federal crime? Yes, please!

Let's face it. It's not about beating the Republican Party. It's about destroying them, such as they currently are, and making sure the next time they pop their head into a race at the national level, they're forced to actually be intelligent, talented, and semi-respectable with a real, working platform in order to have a chance at winning.

Demographics are changing, and old generations are dying. So the Republican Party can't keep on being this ignorant, while dividing Americans and dragging down the nation's intelligence, can't they?!
posted by markkraft at 8:08 AM on October 20, 2008


who cares?
dumb.
posted by petersn1 at 8:14 AM on October 20, 2008


i have had fantasies about going to Palin rallies and setting up a booth selling pitchforks and torches.

i don't know if yard signs do much influencing, however, i find it a heartening thing that our neighborhood has become steadily more Democratic over the last five years. i know this because i live in a town that goes a little batty for yard signs. but then, we typically have 90% voter turnout. that must mean something.

also, i didn't have to pay for my Obama sign. i just had to sit tight on a waiting list.
posted by RedEmma at 8:17 AM on October 20, 2008


"You know, this would all be really important if a yard sign had ever influenced a single presidential vote."

...because, as everyone knows, name recognition, design, slogans, branding, and customer identification with a given product have no influence on Americans, ever.

You know, someone deleting your MeFi account would only matter if people ever paid serious attention to any of your comments!
posted by markkraft at 8:18 AM on October 20, 2008


"i know this because i live in a town that goes a little batty for yard signs. but then, we typically have 90% voter turnout. that must mean something."

One of the things that yard signs are most effective at doing -- besides increasing name recognition -- is that they help establish localized trust in a community for a politician who otherwise might not be as known and trusted.

Like the art of selling anything, much of it is in building identity and implied trust, followed by a trip to see the store/presentiation/website/campaign HQ/speech... ideally followed by a "sale", product identification, and customer loyalty.

In the case of politics, the sale is twofold -- getting someone to actively assist the campaign, and getting them to vote.

Campaign signs are very effective at increasing voter attention on the election, voter identity, and voter turnout, as you appear to have noticed in your own community.
posted by markkraft at 8:39 AM on October 20, 2008


i sometimes wonder if i'm a bad person.

right now i'm wondering it because my first thought watching the crazy lady video was that it might have been satsifying in some way to directly confront her with a video camera, but that when it came down to it I would have stayed hidden and watched to find out what house she lived in. then, that night, i would have spray painted - in pink - "OBAMA '08" right on her conveniently located vinyl siding in the largest letters I could paint.

but that's me.
posted by shmegegge at 8:44 AM on October 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


You know, this would all be really important if a yard sign had ever influenced a single presidential vote.

Yep, its a worthless gesture. All it does is make us hate our neighbors. "Oh, that asshole with the poodle is a Republican? I knew it!"

These signs are too territorial thus the mammalian territorial pissing response.
posted by damn dirty ape at 8:55 AM on October 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


...because, as everyone knows, name recognition, design, slogans, branding, and customer identification with a given product have no influence on Americans, ever.

In all honesty, by "this would all be really important," I was primarily referring to the people who actually take the time to pull yard signs out of someone's lawn. The notion that you're "doing something" to help your cause by pulling a yard sign out just strikes me as hilariously naive -- in a "Ooohh, you're a real saboteur" kind of way. But I don't begrudge people for putting lawn signs out, and maybe you could make an argument that the cumulative effect of one party's signs could influence a few votes (although I am kind of skeptical on that point). My personal feeling is that lawn signs for a presidential race are more about the psychology of the person putting the sign out -- telling the world "Look who I'm supporting!"

With all that said, I still haven't received my "Obama/Biden Vote November 4th" T-Shirt I was told I would receive by October 17. Talk about broken promises -- now I may have to vote for McCain. I'll bet that if he says a shirt will arrive by October 17, it'll be there!
posted by pardonyou? at 9:00 AM on October 20, 2008


I notice in the first couple of links that it appears to be the same white SUV involved in the thefts. How does that work, exactly? Did the guy wake up and think "I will steal every Obama sign I see, my life as a criminal mastermind starts now!"

And how are you so bad at this that you keep getting video-taped?

I honestly hope they arrest this person, because that kind of dumb needs to be caught and punished.
posted by quin at 9:10 AM on October 20, 2008


*Yoink*
posted by Mister_A at 9:48 AM on October 20, 2008


Wait, what? Americans have to pay for those election signs? I've never put one up, but I'm pretty sure here in Canada candidates all but pay you to put a sign on your lawn.
posted by howling fantods at 10:44 AM on October 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


Thanks for pointing out the misinformation about the books banned, I got it from a writer MeFite's blog and assumed, incorrectly, the list was on the up and up. I realize now with anything about the candidates - on either side- that I really need to check the facts before unintentionally spreading bs. Sorry.
posted by nickyskye at 11:09 AM on October 20, 2008


Wait, what? Americans have to pay for those election signs?

Depends on the candidate and the area of the country. Around here in my neck of the woods, Obama doesn't have a chance, so he's not going to throw away money on free yard signs. Back at my parents' in Missouri, which is more of a battleground state, you still have to pay, but they're substantially cheaper. And I have friends in other states who have reported getting them for free.

I've also heard but not confirmed that Obama doesn't take the traditional view of yard signs as good free advertising.
posted by middleclasstool at 11:20 AM on October 20, 2008


Via MetaChat, the Obama Mama. Try stealing her sign, fuckos!
posted by Atom Eyes at 11:36 AM on October 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wait, what? Americans have to pay for those election signs? I've never put one up, but I'm pretty sure here in Canada candidates all but pay you to put a sign on your lawn.

In Presidential contests you can get one if you ask around to the right folks, but you can also get one immediately by sending money to the candidate, which is a win-win for everyone. You get your sign, candidate gets a small donation (too small to have to report your name).

local elections are a different story. There you have to physically restrain people from putting signs in your yard if you live near a polling place, on a busy street, or on a corner. God help you if you live on a busy corner by a polling place.
posted by Pollomacho at 11:38 AM on October 20, 2008


This TOTALLY works. If you steal someone’s sign, man, they’re going to be just so BLOWN AWAY by your amazing ninjitsu skillz there’s NO WAY they’re going to vote for Obama now, man. No way.

“ "Support our Troops, end the war" sign. I don't think that he noticed I was there so when I yelled, "Hey fuck you too asshole!"”

I applaud you on your restraint.
(No snark, I would have buried my foot up his ass. And, if it made it to court, I would have worn my old uniform with my fruit salad.)

I have been tempted to put up a big grey sign saying “NEUTRAL” and under it:
let’s have a considerate, fair and polite dialogue and then beat the hell out of anyone who messes with it. Since, y’know, Q.E.D.

“You know, this would all be really important if a yard sign had ever influenced a single presidential vote.”

It’s funny that people seem to think this is petty. On the one hand sure, it is. It’s a square of cardboard or whatever that probably won’t affect people’s decision making that much.

But it’s also a denial of your free political speech. I think it should carry with it much harsher penalties. I can’t imagine any real conservative (which, really is part of the problem, don’t seem to be many) actually violating someone’s property rights to further violate their first amendment rights.

It is a small thing, and yet, if it is such a small thing, why bother do it?
Y’know we can either choose to be at each other’s throats or not.
Which is why I seem to come off as an internet tough guy (’kick his ass’ and so forth) but I’m quite serious.
It’s like the foot rub thing with Jules and Vincent (or the less well seen “ Needful Things ”).

We commit these seemingly small transgressions hoping to frustrate someone and render their anger impotent by our absence. If found out, we pretend the transgression is so minor or that ‘everyone does it.’
In fact this type of thing is the beginning of an escalation. If you don’t stop this here, make it clear that it is completely unacceptable, then perhaps someone might move to vote stealing, or perhaps vandalism or other violence.
I have seen this type of escalation on both sides however. They steal a sign, so you steal a sign. They steal some votes, so hey, why shouldn’t you? And on and on until the violence of the night gets larger and larger and people start getting killed or the political order becomes rigidly authoritarian (no matter who’s in charge).

Think I’m not talking about you? Think again. The worst violence isn’t done by professionals. It’s done by folks just like you who have an axe to grind (I’m not placing myself in a morally superior position here, it’s merely that I’ve seen this road and violence firsthand - the people doing it were just people. Just like anyone else. They thought they were right too.)

Now stealing a sign isn’t the equivalent of genocide. But I’ve got to go with Marsellus Wallace on this. Maybe Tony Rocky Horror massaged my wife’s feet. Maybe he was moving toward putting his tongue in the holiest of holies. Maybe not.
But I’m going to break him in half before he even thinks about it. Before anything even gets started.

That means, yes, I kick someone’s ass for stealing my sign or, if I can’t (or if I’m feeling meaner), prosecuting them to the fullest extent of the law. And maybe following that up with a lawsuit against the offender and whatever poltical organization he represents for attempting to deprive me of my constitutional rights, not to mention trespass. And telling the papers and anyone else who will listen, perhaps the guy’s boss, all about it.

You’re protected only when you act on - and keep in mind you too are bound by - principle.
If it’s wrong for the guy on the other side to do it, it’s wrong for you to do it, or things like it, too.
(The hyperbole aside of course, I know some folks are just blowing off steam)
That’s what saves you from this cycle. And if the other guy doesn’t buy it, well eventually he’s going to do something more - molotov cocktail through the window perhaps. Doesn’t help in the immediate sense, and perhaps it’s less viscerally gratifying, but he’ll go to jail.
And precisely because there are people who believe in and support those principles.
(Specifically here that no political position - even if it’s completely ‘correct’ - warrants personal violations)

What’s ‘minor’ on a personal scale is entirely subjective. (I have several heirlooms that are worth nothing in real money that I regard as priceless.)
We can debate whether the theft of a sign has impact or it’s effectiveness in a campaign, we cannot judge for ourselves the value someone attaches to the symbol.

I have the same issues with the American flag. I’m very serious about respecting the flag. It, to me, is a very meaningful symbol and I proudly fly one. I would likely harm someone who tried to damage or burn it.
But it’s MY flag.
Someone can pick one up and burn it or take a crap on it or whatever - and they’re burning or crapping on whatever it means to them. Doesn’t bother me. In fact, MY flag represents the right for them to do that.

(However, I have grave issues with negligence or disrespect to MY flag. A lot of people fly one. Some car lots, McDonalds, corporations, etc. etc. - and I get upset when I see it in tatters or improperly displayed.)

It means something. It’s a symbol. What it’s a symbol of is subjective no matter how commonly shared. Regarding the flag, some people might get very upset, like myself, and make phone calls to the VFW if a flag is being improperly displayed. Some people use the flag as a window curtain or a shirt.
But if it’s on my property it’s mine. And it means what it means to me. And someone ripping the flag displayed over my porch to shreds would greatly upset me.
And I doubt the police would even arrest me if I beat on someone I caught doing it. Even if they did, I doubt it would make it to court.

And yet, there’s this ambiguity about signs.

Some people are very passionate about their poltical beliefs.
We don’t have to agree with them, but we have no right to destroy or remove a personal symbol of them.
It’s exactly what America isn’t supposed to be about.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:40 AM on October 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


I applaud you on your restraint.
(No snark, I would have buried my foot up his ass. And, if it made it to court, I would have worn my old uniform with my fruit salad.)


"It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of nonviolence to cover impotence." - M K Gandhi
posted by Pollomacho at 11:53 AM on October 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


If I lived in the States, I'd contemplate buying some Obama signs and spraypainting stuff like "MCAIN08' BICHES" on them. You know, for devious propaganda purposes.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:46 PM on October 20, 2008


tkolar said Yeah, 'cuz nothing says political conservative like the phrase "redistribution of wealth".

The vast majority of the political spectrum favors redistribution of wealth.

Unless, of course, you're willing to show me a mainstream Republican candidate who thinks public schools should be shut down and that the NIH should be abolished. I'll check back a little later.
posted by jock@law at 2:13 PM on October 20, 2008


...a week before the election, we woke up one morning to a large set of (truck? SUV?) tire tracks across our lawn in a "doughnut" pattern, and of course, the sign was gone...[s]he won't let herself imagine anyone would purposefully do that over one small political sign. I, however, think differently.

I grew up in the midwest, went to grade school with other neighborhood kids, then went to a magnet high school and left 'em behind, but kept in touch with a few. At one point, found out that a few of 'em had been arrested under suspicion of being the kids driving around doing doughnuts on the lawns of people with democratic lawn signs. They got off the hook because a call came in to the police station while they were there, about another instance in progress. The thing is, they admitted to me that they were also doing it.

The saddest part: none of them were registered to vote; they'd just been indoctrinated into this point of view by their parents, and so felt democrats were appropriate people to take their adolescent rage out on, even though they didn't think politics actually mattered "in the real world." All that property damage, all that frustration and expense for the homeowners, all because some parents decided to teach their kids to think "us and them" on political party lines instead of teaching them about "right and wrong."

That's when I stopped keeping in touch with 'em.
posted by davejay at 2:54 PM on October 20, 2008 [3 favorites]


I would never ever tear down a sign of flyer. That's bordering on violent suppression in my opinion. I did however once drunkenly urinate on a Bush/Cheney sign when out fishing in Eastern Washington. Which backfired. Literally.

It was right in front of an electric fence.

For a few sends there I really thought Dick Cheney had super powers.
posted by tkchrist at 7:14 PM on October 20, 2008 [9 favorites]


of = or
posted by tkchrist at 7:14 PM on October 20, 2008


In 2000, when it became apparent that Bush had won, a few friends and I wandered around our neighborhood, stole all the Bush signs and made a big pile in the street, and set it on fire. Then we peed on it and cried.
posted by schyler523 at 9:35 PM on October 20, 2008


Anyone else notice that the vandalized sign in the second link had the Obama horizon "O" logo right in the middle of McCain? McOCain. Mcocaine. Get it? Yeah, me neither. Can somebody make the connection for me?
posted by Barry B. Palindromer at 11:50 PM on October 20, 2008


Unless, of course, you're willing to show me a mainstream Republican candidate who thinks public schools should be shut down and that the NIH should be abolished. I'll check back a little later.

Let me be the first to say, possibly ever in MetaFilter history, that you should Google Ron Paul.

Not mainstream enough for you? How about this one? Sure, that's a far cry from abolishing public schools, but it is a large step towards that goal.

As for the NIH, well that's a different matter. When Republis do favor increases in funding the NIH it is because of the economic benefits of biomedical research rather than the benefit to public health or science. It's the same method by which you sell NASA programs to the GOP.

I suppose it all depends on what you mean by "redistribution of wealth." From rich people to poor or from the minority to the majority, not so much. If it means "take other people's money and pay for free stuff for me, but don't touch my money" then yes, the vast majority of Americans does favor that, particularly Republis it seems.
posted by Pollomacho at 5:22 AM on October 21, 2008


>Not mainstream enough for you?

Ron Paul isnt mainstream, he's an extremist in his own party. He's "internet mainstream" which is meaningless, but important to people who spend way too much time on the internet arguing about politics.

The redistribution of wealth canard is just a way for the GOP to attack Obama while pretending that paying taxes is some liberal conspiracy. Time for them to grow up. If they cut social services then there would be a revolt from all the people living in poor red states.
posted by damn dirty ape at 6:46 AM on October 21, 2008


Tear up all the signs you want, McCainiacs. Acting like babies is not going to change the outcome.
posted by chuckdarwin at 8:22 AM on October 21, 2008


The latest twist to sign theft? Pizzeria joint in Michigan offers free pizza for every McCain-Palin sign brought in. Pizzeria owner explains that John McCain gave up on Michigan, so why not profit by exchanging your now obsolete lawn sign for a tasty pie? Result-- 30 signs a day are turned in, probably not all of them obtained legally.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:36 PM on October 21, 2008


Tear up all the signs you want, McCainiacs.

I expect the Obama supporters will need to be saving their strength for the post-election riots.
posted by pompomtom at 5:16 PM on October 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


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