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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Kind of a Stretch?

posted by on October 29 at 13:30 PM

Washington State Democrats are attacking an ad aimed at Christine Gregoire, which they call a “clear violation of state law.” At issue is the use of Gregoire’s face in a circle that resembles the Washington State Seal. The ad is bankrolled by a conservative PAC called That’s Just Not Right.

Democrats point out that under state law, “The state seal shall never be used in a political campaign to assist or defeat any candidate for elective office.” That statute also prohibits using “any symbol that imitates the seal or that is deceptively similar in appearance to the seal, in any manner that would be an improper use of the official seal itself.”

So here’s the ad:

And here’s the state seal:

washington_state_seal.jpg

Although the ad’s implication of a state seal is unmistakable, the actual resemblance is distant. The text and the graphics are different—though Gregoire could make a convincing George Washington—leaving only the similarity of two concentric circles shaded with yellow. This is like when Starbucks said the Rat City Roller Girls’ logo had a ôvery similar look and feel” to the coffee company’s logo. Circles and stars were their idea—and mean girls on skates couldn’t have them. But Starbucks, probably realizing that circles are pretty common design elements, backed off.

So what do you say: Are the Dems crying foul or crying wolf?

RSS icon Comments

1

Don't you mean: "the two concentric circles with the outer circle heavier than the inner, the similarity of type-font, and the EXACT SAME illustration of George Washington, only with Gov. Gregoire's face superimposed.

They cleverly changed the background color from blue to green, but otherwise, anyone familiar with the WA State Seal would quite easily spot the similarities - in all likelihood they appropriated a graphic image of the Seal itself, did a bit of Photoshopping, and viola! new image.

Given the specifics of the law, I'd say the Dems have a good case here.

Posted by COMTE | October 29, 2008 1:40 PM
2

I think it's sort of a stupid thing to get up in arms about... but, as long as we're analyzing the two graphics, Comte makes good points. The font, the location of the date, the "state of" text, the bolder outer circle. The use of Washington's clothes however is really the clincher for me.

Posted by Julie in Chicago | October 29, 2008 1:48 PM
3

I like Gregoire, but she's got to be running the worst campaign in history.

Posted by Just Sayin' | October 29, 2008 1:49 PM
4

NO CASE AT ALL - NONE IN FEDERAL COURT

CRY BABY STUFF

SATIRE - CARTOONS - POLITICAL MESSAGES

FREE SPEECH, PROTECTED SPEECH

Posted by Jerry | October 29, 2008 2:00 PM
5

It's obviously an imitation of the official state seal, even with typeface differences. It was clearly intended to evoke the state seal, and I'm honestly surprised you don't see it.

Republicans in Washington have been running an extremely disingenuous campaign this year. No one will be able to convince me that Rossi identifying himself as a member of the "GOP Party" was not deliberately intended to mislead ignorant voters, and this -- a flagrant disregard for the law -- is along the same lines.

Yes, it seems desperate and petty for Democrats to be making a fuss over it. Then again, when you have actual evidence of your opponent's supporters breaking actual laws -- well, it's not hard to put two and two together. The ad needs to disappear.

Posted by GrammarCop | October 29, 2008 2:08 PM
6

Do the dems have a stronger case than Starbucks did against the roller girls? Remember that starbucks dropped it cause it's bad publicity not because their case was without merit.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | October 29, 2008 2:12 PM
7

I don't think it's a stretch. They've even obviously pasted her head on George Washington's body. They clearly started with the state seal as the basis for the Photoshop job.

Still, suing them over it won't help Gregoire's campaign one bit. If anything, it makes the Dems look petty, even if they're right.

On the other hand, slapping the PAC for it might stop others from doing more grievous bastardizations in the future.

Posted by Reverse Polarity | October 29, 2008 2:12 PM
8

IMHO they're breaking the law, but it's a stupid anti-first amendment law so I couldn't care less.

Posted by Anon | October 29, 2008 2:32 PM
9

The ad is stupid, but the usage of the state seal is obviously satire. They're not trying to swindle anyone into believing "The State" officially endorses a particular candidate, which is what the law is intended to prevent.

On the other hand, the law is what the law states--not always what it intends. Fine those mothah-lickahs.

Posted by tabletop_joe | October 29, 2008 2:38 PM
10

don't we have a PROJECTED budget deficit?

paired with reduction of property taxes & elimination of sales taxes, an progressive income tax would fix a shitload of our problems. this marxist would welcome it.

Posted by max solomon | October 29, 2008 4:21 PM
11

Since when did income taxes become evil? Don't most states already do that?

Posted by Greg | October 29, 2008 4:57 PM
12

max, theres just no way that it would fly though. We live in a state afraid of any new taxes and we pride ourselves on not having an income tax. I wouldn't like an income tax per se, but if we deign something important enough to fund, we need the tax dollars to do it. at least we can deduct that off our taxes, and if the income tax was above 10% we'd come out ahead.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | October 29, 2008 4:58 PM
13

@9 - satire?

I don't think that word means what you think it means.

Posted by Will in Seattle | October 29, 2008 4:59 PM
14
Posted by Geni | October 29, 2008 5:21 PM
15
Posted by Geni | October 29, 2008 5:27 PM

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