GOP's Newest Fun Campaign Prop: Veterans' Graves
Sometimes, when a candidate loves his country very much, the higher purpose of serving that country and the great men and women -- the heroes! -- requires him to overlook petty things like rules. Consider North Dakota congressweasel Kevin Cramer, who cares so much about honoring the veterans that he didn't bother asking for permission to film this campaign ad in the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery in Mandan:
If he had bothered to ask permission, he'd have been denied, according to North Dakota National Guard spokesman August Honeyman. When political blog Watchdog.org asked whether filming political ads was allowed in in the cemetery, Honeyman said, "The answer is no, they cannot do it ... We never got a call asking permission."
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs actually has rules on filming in cemeteries -- as in, it explicitly forbids "political activities, including filming of campaign ads" in National Cemeteries; other requests for commercial/entertainment filming must request permission and schedule the filming with the cemetery administration. Watchdog notes that while the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery is operated by the state National Guard, not the feds, it nonetheless adheres to the federal rules on filming.
With no actual request for permission, Cramer's ad was apparently kind of a guerilla operation. They just showed up, cued the motorcycles, and got the money shot of Cramer respectfully laying a wreath at the grave of some lucky soldier who had the good fortune to be buried in a front row.
Cramer's Democratic opponent, state Sen. George Sinner (now there's a name made for politics), has criticized Cramer's actual treatment of vets, and has released an ad accusing Cramer of voting to cut veterans' retirement benefits by $6 billion. Cramer says his campaign will pull the cemetery ad from circulation on TV. Maybe he should consider shooting something instead.
But let's remember, Cramer's ad features lots of flags, vets on motorcycles, and some other saluting vets, plus a treacly soundtrack with vaguely patriotic piano noodling, so his purpose was definitely noble. Sometimes, to honor veterans, you just need to answer the higher call and blow off rules aimed at honoring veterans.
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.