Saturday, September 30, 2006

A Word From Our Sponsors

Well, endorsements are for the most part in. Candidates are either giddy with their new found friends, or ticked off to the max at “those lyin’, back stabbin’ SOBs”. Let me tell you a few things about endorsements. First, they aren’t always what they seem. Typically, around August or so, various groups send out questionnaires designed to get the candidate to support their issues. Some of the questions are rather generic, sort of luring into a false sense of ease. But as you go along, the wording become rather tricky, with little wiggle room for the candidate to respond. Of course, the candidate is usually trying to answer the questions without committing too much.

After this little dance, those candidates who seem worth talking to will be invited to a brief meeting before a small group representing the organization, where they will play a verbal cat and mouse game called “You ask the questions and I’ll try to give you the answers you want to hear without locking myself in to much”. It’s really quite an art form if you think about it. Candidates can become rather adapt at the “non-committal commitment” as they move along in politics. We’ve all seen members of Congress and the President perform masterfully the “two-step-side-step” on a regular basis. Once the interview is completed, the board votes on who gets the nod, which not only includes the endorsement, but usually a nice fat campaign donation to go with it. If you’re a Republican, you hope for endorsements from the business community. If you’re an ultra conservative, your probably hoping for the support of Right to Life and Moral Majority crowd, and of course, Pro 2nd Amendment groups. If you’re a Democrat, you cater mainly to organized labor, pro environment, and other progressive groups.

The least important endorsement is from the Courier Journal. Once upon a time (B.G.—Before Gannett), the Courier Journal was all powerful. If you received their endorsement, you were almost guaranteed a win. Nowadays, an endorsement from them is just as likely to cost you an election as not. It’s was my experience with the C/J that they were not as informed or unbiased as they should be. In my first race several years ago, my opponent differed with the C/J on a number of issues, and didn’t have a clue about others. They also failed to take note of his credentials, or lack thereof when they endorsed him. In my second race, they never even bothered to interview any of us, or look at our campaign material. I can only assume their endorsement was solely on party affiliation. I admit to being guilty of complaining about their editorial slant in the past and what I consider to be one writer’s occasional inappropriate racial remarks, which I have written about (this may explain why they don’t print any of my letters to the editor anymore). But I believe the media should be in the business of reporting the news, not trying to create it.

The funny thing about endorsements is that not everyone fits neatly into categories. I’ve known a number of Republicans who were pro-union. Some were former shop stewards. They used union print shops to buy their campaign material (with the ever important union “bug” label). Some even had pretty good Pro-Labor voting records. I’ve also known several Democrats who were just the opposite. They’ve never belonged to a union. They didn’t use a union “bug” on their campaign material, and even privately scoffed at Labor. Yet, they got Labor’s endorsement simply because they were Democrats. Supposedly there had been instances where endorsements were agreed to privately before any of the candidates walked into the room. I find something very wrong with that don’t you? Personally, I would like to see the rank and file vote on each endorsement rather than allowing one or two individuals making the decision for them.

As everyone knows, I’m Pro-Labor big time. But I think Labor has been used and abused by the Democratic Party for far too long. It’s the same for some minority groups. Their support and money is simply taken for granted. If the Democrats were good for working Americans, Republicans would never get elected. The trouble is that neither the Republicans nor Democrats really care for working America. Both parties are bought and paid for by their corporate masters. Labor, in my opinion, needs to climb out of the Democratic Party’s pocket and take a look around. It needs to support pro-union candidates regardless of party.

In today’s anti-Labor environment, unions need support wherever they can find it, and it only makes sense that they seek friends on both sides of aisles when possible. After all, business groups seek the best politician to promote their interests, and party is completely irrelevant. So, why shouldn’t Labor? Granted, most of its supporters are on the Democratic side, but why automatically turn down potential allies just because they happen to have an “R” or “I” behind their names? I know unions up North have started supporting the individual, not the party. They know it’s better to make friends than create enemies. I wish we would do the same thing here in Kentucky. As an aside, I’ve recently learned that Ed Springston, an independent and pro-union candidate for Louisville’s mayor, will be picking up the endorsements of several local unions while the incumbent mayor, “King” Jerry Abramson, failed to receive the endorsement of the Greater Louisville Central Labor Council. Building and Trades even withdrew their endorsement of the Democratic Mayor. Now, that’s what I call progress!

Given that both major parties have done a pretty lousy job when it comes to protecting jobs from being exported, worker’s rights, job safety, job creation, etc, I would like to see unions put aside their differences and put together a union party. Did you know that the United States is the only Western nation without a Labor Party? I understand that there is a small third party comprised of unions which is showing some promise. The Green Party, which is huge everywhere in the world, except the US, is gaining strength as well. Wow, can you imagine what a Pro-Labor/Pro-Environment political party could do? With a little over 1/3 of voters registered as independents, and both Democrats and Republicans continuing to lose numbers, this type of political alliance could be awesome, especially in light of the number of people who vote "none of the above" by staying home. I bet they'd have something to vote for then!

Klan-destine

The KKK attempted to march in the Fairdale Parade on Septmeber 23, but was rebuffed by the festival officials, as well as by Metro Council candidates Renay Davis (R) and Vicki Welch (D). The following week, a letter was circulated in Fairdale, allegedly from the Klan, endorsing Vicki Welch. The Klan is said to have members living in and around Fairdale, and according to Tolerance.Org, is based in Fairdale (there are 10 Klan groups throughout Kentucky according to Tolerance.Org). What’s interesting is the letter supposedly came from Ms. Davis as part of a smear campaign against Ms. Welch. The letter seems to have been limited in scope and directed at specific Fairdale residents. Fairdale is Ms. Welch’s strongest based of support, and where she has also been losing ground to Ms. Davis. Secondly, the letter appears to have gained wider distribution thank to supporters of Ms. Welch. Folks from her camp were allegedly seen passing the letter out to residents at a recent music festival in Fairdale.

What makes me suspect about the letter is that Ms. Davis is about as opposed to the Klan as one can get, as is Ms. Welch no doubt. A tactic such as this is not in the character of Ms. Davis. Also, the letter was directed mainly at people living in the area where Ms. Welch needs to carry in order to win in November. Finally, some the folks passing the letter around were not only from Ms Welch’s camp, but were also some of the same individuals who pulled a similar stunt on me when I ran for Metro Council. In short, it’s what we used to call in the military as “disinformation”. People should treat it as such.

Poll Results

As you’ll recall, we did a poll last month about Campaigns & Elections listing of this blog under the category of “Liberal”. We had 2 votes for “Liberal”, 2 votes for “Conservative” and about 6 votes for “Centrist”. That’s about as middle of road as one can get! Since C&E doesn’t have a category for “Centrist”, I’ve asked them to list our blog under both the “Liberal” and “Conservative” categories. Thanks everyone for participating!

5 comments:

moderate man said...

I agree. Unless labor starts its own political party, it stands to be left on the dust bin of history. The workers will be used and abused by the employers, while high paying jobs disappear to overseas competition. Trade agreements, embargos, deficts, protectism all fall in the realm of politics and labor doesn't have a seat at the table. The worker looses out on wages, job security, benefits, outsourcing, cutbacks, etc. All parties need to stand behind unions or our country will slowly become a third world power with inflation, a large debt, low productivity, low wages and high prices. Support the candidate who backs unions.
Moderate Man

Anonymous said...

Not all Democrats back unions. Not all Republicans back business. Support the candidate not the party.

Ed Springston said...

Demand all candidates get equal access to be heard. That is a problem as well. When anyone outside the traditional 2 party system runs for office they are not allowed equality. That is an insult to all citizens who deserve to know where candidates stand.

Ed Springston Louisville Metro Mayor 2006
www.MyViewMatters.org

PS Thanks for the great work Paul. I sincerely appreciate the efforts you put in to ensure fairness.

Anonymous said...

enjoyed it as usual. About that goofy letter that no one seems to have but interesting enough ALL THE DEMS in Vicki Welch's team seem to have read or seen, I think it is a figment of her imagination.

Joe from Australia said...

Well Paul reading your blog is sure interesting. Having lived in Australia for the last 20 years has taught me a lot about politics down under. Guess what same shit differant location. The two major parties here are Labour and Liberal, those are their names and used to also be their descriptions. Now it is more like conservative labour and conservative business. Most of the time they spend in office they try to reverse what the other party did while they were last in office not actually doing something constructive for the country. Back when you and I were just wee babies, January 1961, JFK said in his inagural speach "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask instead what we can do for our country." This powerful call to arms has been perverted to "Ask what we can DO to the country."

On a lighter note, we are looking forward to catching up with you in December.