As we put this latest election to bed, a few observations are in order.
It’s the media’s fault
This is an old trick pulled out of the back pocket of politicians. My good friend Josephine Wentzel tried it this time around when she ran for city council.
It didn’t work.
Still, some folks keep trying. Presidential candidate Herman Cain is trying it right now.
Here’s the thinking: Blame the messenger rather than the message. Maybe, just maybe, some folks will believe that what you’ve done or said is less important than those media bad guys.
After Wentzel lost, she tried to explain why by saying she had to run against The Columbian. But that’s not all! She also had to run against:
• The good ol’ boy network.
• The mayor.
• Identity Clark County.
• The elections office.
I like Wentzel, so I sent along a constructive email. I said, my mom taught me, if you’re in the business of always blaming others for your shortcomings, you’ll never get any better.
I was thinking maybe she’d see the obvious and concede she needs to look within first, before pointing the fingers at others.
Not so much.
She responded by saying she had no idea what I was talking about. I then reminded her that our mutual friend Lew Waters had posted a video of her saying just this. Her response?
“Lou, if you don’t mind, I would like a few days of peace and quiet.”
Fair enough. Peace, Josephine.
I like David Madore, as well. Madore is a successful local businessman who has jumped headfirst into the political arena. Madore would never say this, but he is hoping to be a kingmaker on the causes he believes strongly in. He backed Wentzel — one of his employees at U.S. Digital — for example.
Some people think he’s shrewd and conniving. I disagree. I just think he hasn’t found his political footing. He really doesn’t know enough about politics.
He hoped that, by throwing several thousand dollars at State Sen. Don Benton to seek his expert advice, things would change.
Benton? Really? Did that work out OK?
I’ve had a number of very good conversations with Madore. And as noted, I like him. And I consider myself a good judge of character. And I believe he has character.
So, I figured I’d throw out a little advice to Madore, and really anyone who is thinking about the kingmaker field. Maybe a few politicians could use it, as well. (And it won’t cost you 20 large either!)
• Mr. Madore, I believe the issues that are important to you resonate with lots of folks in Clark County. But don’t get sucked too far down the rabbit hole with all the political garbage makers. It’s dark and cold down there.
• Stay true to yourself. Don’t be tempted to get into the mud with others. It doesn’t suit you.
• Vet the candidates you back, much, much better. Recognize the difference between someone who says he is “passionate” and someone who really is just combative.
• Ask this question to yourself:
“Does this candidate have the character, the demeanor, the approach and the issues for me to support him or her? And can he/she convince others, who aren’t already on board, to get on board?”
• Seek solid community connections. Isolation is a losing formula. Don’t worry about keeping the fringe bloggers and your core base happy. Worry about everyone else.
Finally, sign-up for Professor Brancaccio’s Politics 101 class. There’s always a seat open for you! ;-)
Lou Brancaccio is The Columbian’s editor. Reach him at email@example.com.