With the Orlando mayoral race entering the home stretch, it's time for every undecided voter to pick a candidate based on the one true yardstick available to us: the strength of their campaign slogans. (Yeah, we're talking to you: Anybody with a more sophisticated political sensibility would be reading the front section of this newspaper instead of the back.) Here are the official tag lines of all eight candidates, evaluated according to their pith and potency. We've also thrown in some potential substitutes Ã because even the most resourceful public servant has room to reach higher.
Wayne Rich Slogan: "Not a Politician"
Analysis: Rich follows the Ross Perot paradigm, staking his hopes on the curious theory that a lack of experience in government is somehow a plus for a government job. Hey, Wayne: If we wanted to see people doing things they're not trained to do, we'd be at a Devil Rays game. Far more successful are the candidate's "Rich for Mayor" campaign signs, especially the ones that shrink down the word "for" until the entire placard becomes a subliminal advertisement for affluence.
Suggested alternative: "Rich for Mayor, Poor for Target Practice"
Pete Barr Slogan: "A New Mayor for Orlando"
Analysis: Boy howdy, that's going out on a limb. Barr refuses to promise good or even average leadership, instead mounting a persuasive argument that electing him to replace Glenda Hood means electing a different person. And what's worse, this guy heads an advertising agency! Barr's puffball pitch is destined to take its place among the greatest misses of Madison Avenue, including "Canada Dry Ginger Ale: A Clear Liquid" and "Charmin: Something to Put Up Your Ass."
Suggested alternative: "You'll Find Orlando's Future in the Barr"
Tico Perez Slogan: "Tico for Mayor"
Analysis: As I pointed out in my column of three weeks ago, Perez's simple slogan conveys the false impression that Bon Jovi drummer Tico Torres has thrown his hat into the mayoral ring. Since then, I've learned that the candidate himself was kinda tickled by the observation. This information helped me reach an important conclusion: I'm not supporting Perez, no way, no how, no sir. If Orlando chooses a mayor with a good and healthy sense of humor, my job suddenly becomes 10 times more difficult (and 10 times less rewarding). I want a guy who, when faced with public mockery, puts his fist through a plate-glass window and orders the bulldozing of three downtown tattoo parlors, just out of spite. Even better: one who asks, "Who's Bon Jovi?"
Suggested alternative: "He's Not in Winger, Either"
Bill Sublette Slogan: "Bill Sublette for Orlando Mayor"
Analysis: Sadly colorless, though the former legislator earns points for helpfully clarifying that it's the Orlando race he wants us to back him in. Otherwise, we might mistakenly vote for Sublette in a Micanopy mayoral election while writing in Mayor McCheese for the Orlando office.
Suggested alternative: "Can't Afford an Orlando Home? Sublette"
Sharon Leichering Slogan: "Sharon for Mayor"
Analysis: Canny self-awareness. Leaving her ego at the door, the city-employee-turned-businesswoman acknowledges that "Leichering" is hardly a name to roll trippingly off the tongue. But in excising her surname from her campaign ads, she renders herself essentially indistinguishable from Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon. Far better is her secondary slogan, "It's Time for Action" Ã the only tag line in the race that could work equally well as an ice-breaker at Mako's.
Suggested alternative: "A Little Slice of Likud Under the Florida Sun"
Buddy Dyer Slogan: "Bold New Leadership for Orlando"
Analysis: We've got a winner! The only slogan so far to incorporate two (count 'em!) adjectives, this looks like the big fish in a tank full of minnows. Which is not to say that it's accurate: Among the traits I would expect of a Dyer administration, "boldness" isn't exactly near the top of the list. But "Tentative Fence-Sitting for Our Children" just doesn't cut it, as this born salesman knows all too well. Color me a convert.
Suggested alternative: "Set a Course for Dyer Straits"
Alex Lamour Slogan: "The People's Man"
Analysis: Hey, is it too late to change my vote? Dark-horse candidate Lamour goes the smooooooth route. Refusing to even limit himself to the political sphere, he's endowed himself with a nickname that would be just as suited to a popular NBA point guard or sentimental-favorite contestant on "The Bachelorette." You also have to admire Lamour for bravely adopting a slogan with a built-in shelf-life: Should he not prevail in the Feb. 4 special election and/or the Feb. 25 runoff, the world will know that "the people" found another "man" Ã? unless the ultimate winner really gets out the crustacean vote.
Suggested alternative: "Orlando, You Were Made for Ze Lamour"
Derrick Wallace Slogan: "Elect Derrick Wallace for Mayor"
Analysis: Hardly a dazzler, to say the least. But by deciding to phrase his slogan in the form of a command, Wallace adds a whole Jedi-mind-control angle whose effectiveness is hard to discount.
Suggested alternative: "Rich, Barr, Perez, Sublette, Leichering, Dyer, Lamour: Not the Droids You're Looking For"