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Opening Arguments

Let's get started

I heard Pat White on WOWO on the way home last night, talking about this guest column in The Journal Gazette by Daniel Young, Central Catholic graduate and a retired policy analyst for the state of Wisconsin:

It's time for the mayoral candidates, both Tom Henry and Matt Kelty, to step up to the plate and discuss the issues.

[. . .]

It's been six weeks since the primary. Since then, both candidates have chosen to campaign in the dugout, privately attending to their campaigns. But this must change. There is a critical election coming up.

[. . .]

Except for the campaign finance issue, we have been diverted from learning about the candidates. Of course, we could go through the motions and vote perhaps guided by flipping a coin. Or we could vote based on non-issues, such as voting for a pro-life candidate although that's irrelevant as a mayor, or voting for a candidate who doesn't' ruffle feathers, which is also irrelevant in challenging times. Or we could vote as the founding fathers intended by exercising our right to make an informed choice.

The problem is that the candidates have not been “out there” as they normally would be, discussing issues and future directions via speeches, discussion forums, Web-site updates, debates, group forums, press releases; and the news media have not been reporting on candidate public statements on issues because there haven't been any (except for the campaign finance one).

I think Young is wrong that the candidates would normally be "out there" if we hadn't had the campaign-finance distraction. Campaigns here don't usually start until Labor Day. That's just the way we are. White made that point several times. But I think White was wrong, too, for more or less calling Young delusional for even bringing it up. We're in the middle of extraordinary debates and media coverage of the 2008 presidential election, 17 months before we will be able to actually vote. If there were ever a year when people would be ready to talk about the mayor's race a couple of months early, this is the year. And Young is absolutely right that the race is important enough to be talking about now.

(By the way, Daniel, if you were at Central Catholic while I was at Central, and you were one of the ones who taunted us back when we taunted you, I can probably find out where you live. Everybody sing along now: "Beer, beer, for old CC High; you bring the whiskey, I'll bring the rye . . .")