03 June 2010

On the Matter of Wendell Young...

One of the criticisms regarding why Laketa Cole would choose Wendell Young to replace her on Council is that Young was a weak campaigner and fared poorly in previous election attempts.

I'm not sure that is a good argument. In order for it to be a valid reason to oppose Wendell Young, there has to be a correlation between good campaigning and good statesmanship. There is no such correlation; an individual's ability to govern or legislate has nothing to do with how well he or she campaigns. Furthermore, since election victory is so closely associated with fund raising, this argument is basically assuming that the best fund-raisers make the best officials.

Of course, the "flaw" in my thinking is that I'm thinking like a citizen and not a member of the Democratic Party, i.e. I want the best Council member, not the most re-electable.

In one sense, choosing Wendell Young is a great call. Why not give a seat to someone who, based on what we know, would be a moderate and reasoned Council member? Do we really want to choose local officials based on how well they take to TV cameras, shaking hands and waving in parades?

It reminds me of Warren Rudman's excellent book Combat, in which he writes about some of his experiences in the Senate. One item was David Souter's election to the Supreme Court. At the time, Souter was New Hampshire Attorney General and Rudman specifically mentioned how key it was that, in New Hampshire, the AG is appointed, not elected. Whatever it takes to be a politician, Souter had none of it. He would have never been AG if it required campaigning. He was given the job on pure merit. If that were not the case, he would have never been the AG and never subsequently nominated for the Supreme Court.

Imagine what kind of Supreme Court we would have if it required campaigning. Holy shit.

Of course, there is a solution to Laketa Cole's problem, and if she manages to think like a normal person for half a day, she might do the sensible thing and nominate Greg Harris. He is not untested like Young and is an experienced campaigner and has increased his name recognition. Moreover, he brings so much to the table, it is rather ridiculous NOT to nominate him...

...unless you're a small-minded person who thinks placating Lincoln Ware and his ass-clown posse is more important than experience, knowledge, commitment, vision, intelligence and public support.

1 comment:

The Dean of Cincinnati said...

I heard Bernadette Watson was Cole's first choice, but Cole said she wanted her staff to stay employed till the end of her term. The story goes that Watson wouldn't agree to those terms, so Cole went on down her list!