A Preference for Peccadilloes
cartoonists pick their favorite politicians not on the basis of skill
and ability, but rather on their own skill and ability to draw the politician’s
flaws and foibles most comically. So they often choose the lesser of two
candidates just for the “fun” of it. Equally guilty of setting
us all up for failure are the late night comedians such as Jay Leno and
Conan O’Brien, who prefer the candidate with the most peccadilloes
to poke at. This group, of course, adored Bill Clinton.
And if these
politicians aren’t the best leaders, well, that’s the fault
of the serious voters. Cartoonists and comedians, after all, have a job
campaigns (which seem to begin as soon as the ink is dry on the inauguration
signature) may try to re-label personality and character traits to suit
their candidate, in the long run, we all know pretty much what we’re
revelations of Goldschmidt’s sex scandal, former Gov. Vic Atiyeh
tells of a conversation he had with his wife Dolores. She was commenting
on how three politicians, Jack Kennedy, Bill Clinton, and Neil Goldschmidt,
were all renowned for being exceptionally “charismatic.” Atiyeh
says his wife thought for a moment and then said, so that’s what
So do voters
sense a candidate’s underlying character in advance? Or can they
be completely fooled?
the public is well aware of their choice but still charges full speed
ahead, as with the reelection of Bill Clinton, who faced impeachment shortly
after his second term began. Sometimes the public is shielded from the
truth by the media. Such was probably the case with Jack Kennedy, whose
philandering while in office (immoral, but not illegal) went unreported
by the press corps in an era of greater personal privacy for public figures.
have changed. If a candidate has dirty laundry, deviant leanings, or is
simply ill-suited for leadership, the truth will come out. So in today’s
political climate what is harder to explain and impossible to ignore is
the complicity of party insiders and their media cohorts. Why do they
stand by and allow flawed candidates to rise to top leadership positions,
only to watch them crash from their pedestals in disgrace?
aside time-honored disputes over politics and performance, our current
governor and our current president both possess the character and the
ability to lead. Both are capable of mistakes, but neither came into office
fundamentally flawed. Neither is typically described as charismatic, and
for that we can all breathe a sigh of relief. Disagreements about their
performance will be just that—about performance, not about the integrity
or security of the state or nation. This is about the best that the loyal
opposition should expect in a democracy.
there is a political race here in Oregon that voters may look back at
and ask why political insiders or the media didn’t tell them what
sort of person they were really voting for. That race is the election
for Portland’s mayor.
One candidate, Tom Potter, has a record of walking away from jobs and
leadership positions before the work is complete. Leaders are typically
compelled toward conflict, because—right or wrong—they believe
in their own skill and judgment to make decisions and see them through.
Intellectually and emotionally Tom Potter is able to pull up stakes and
walk away from conflict with apparent ease.
at an age when most political leaders are hitting their strongest stride.
He came out of retirement for? Well, that’s a good question. Potter
speaks in generalities and presents no passionate reason for wanting to
lead, at least no particular cause or issue that would keep him on task.
not one single reason to believe he would stick with the job.
his campaign and his character are odd.
nothing wrong with being a bit odd, but odd is not a leadership qualification.
Those who should know—media, party insiders—do know that Potter
is a poor candidate and a probable disaster for the city of Portland.
Four years in office (if he lasts that long) with vague, passionless,
extreme leftist officiating by Potter could be the final nail in the coffin
for Portland’s business climate, Portland’s tax base, and
Portland’s dream of being a special West Coast city.
non-Portlanders care? Because the city’s economic effect on the
state is enormous. There are outsiders licking their chops at the final
fall of a Potter Portland and its utopian urbanites they despise. They
know Potter spells disaster but they’re not going to tell anyone.
The whispers are “the sooner the city crashes and burns, the sooner
it can finally be repaired.”
why they’re not saying anything about Potter’s obvious unsuitability
for office, but what explanation do Democrats have for their silence?
Probably the same explanation that they have for keeping silent about
Goldschmidt for 30 years—not a very good one.
BrainstormNW - Oct 2004