Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Where does Sheila's support come from?

We know that Brad won a close race with Maggie last time based on his pro-business plan, being smarter then Maggie, Republican party support and Maggie's anti-Iraq War vote (which looks pretty good based on "W's" bungling of that situation). He went on and has done better then we could really expect him to, based on results. As a matter of fact, we can only hope that Glenn Poshard has as good a run at SIU in the next few years.

I can understand Sheila's political base in this election as being our super-liberal college community (I say super, because I'm a liberal in most parts of the country. Here in Carbondale, I'm pretty conservative in comparison), the Democratic party, environmental groups, anti-smokers and bicyclists. As I have said before, I think Sheila is a good candidate and if we didn't have a mayor coming off a successful 4 year run and/or if she had an interest or plan for economic development, I might well be supporting her.

What is interesting is driving around town and seeing signs for Sheila up in yards or businesses of people who should likely belong to Brad's camp. One thing I found is many of the people who have Brad and Sheila signs up, the Sheila signs are up because of Sheila's supporters dirty sign tricks campaign. But, talking to the ones who put the signs up themselves is interesting.

I have talked to around 10 people who I thought would be in the Brad camp and asked them why they have Sheila signs up. Each told me because of their history with Paul Simon. All but one thought Brad had done a good job for the city, but 20 years ago Paul helped them or they worked on Paul's campaign with Sheila way back when or they are a life long Democrat and just want to support the party.

Then I asked each if they thought Sheila was going to do a better job then Brad. Each said, having Brad work full-time as mayor is better then having Sheila working part-time. But, they felt they owned it to Paul or history to vote for Sheila. I asked if they felt that letting the city manager run the city without a strong mayor was a good idea and each said no.

I have been confused about this, I'm really surprised to hear that people would vote for someone they think will not do a better job. I don't care who your parents are, I would always hire the person I think would do better result. Maybe this is just the way that rural Southern Illinois works? Heck, is there any doubt that "W" was elected because of his father? Is there any doubt that Hilary Clinton was elected Senator of NY and might be elected President of the USA because of who she is married to? Al Gore, Teddy Kennedy, Jessie Jackson Jr., maybe every politician in Chicago, the list goes on.

I guess in America we have had a long line of people elected because of who their father is or was. The election comes down to a referendum of their father's career and not one of merit. Kind of disgusts me, if it is true, but to each his own.

Your comments are welcome.


Shawn, the Beer Philosopher said...

Peter –

I couldn’t agree more! It seems utterly ridiculous to me to deny support to a candidate, an incumbent, with a proven record of success just because his last name isn’t Simon … or more accurately, because Sheila’s last name is Simon. Seems to me that this is precisely what is going on in this election cycle, at least with some citizens, as you point out.

Sheila is not her dad … sounds like an obvious statement, but apparently it’s not. Paul may enjoy political “rock star” status in many people’s eyes in Carbondale, and maybe deservedly so, but voting for Sheila simply because she’s the offspring of Paul strikes me as more than a bit … shortsighted. I’m tempted to exclaim, “if it aint broke, don’t fix it,” but that wouldn’t do any good, would it? When people base their support on raw sentiment, emotion, or a longing for the “good ‘ol days,” the voice of reason is effectively muted.

The name “Simon” obviously carries weight beyond what the person (Sheila) can possibly bear … at least when her platform is scrutinized. If you guys want a Simon in office, and any Simon will do, by all means throw your support behind Sheila … if you want to assure that Carbondale has continued success, however, Mayor Cole is a proven choice. All I’m saying is, despite political or familial affiliation, or the lack thereof, I hope people will cast their votes for the better candidate and not the better last name.

Anonymous said...

Writing that Sheila's campaign or supporters are responsible for the defacing of Brad's signs is not just irresponsible, its almost slanderous. There are plenty of potential guilty parties here and you don't have anything approaching a shred of evidence to the contrary. You should be ashamed of yourself for even implying as much.

As far as why Sheila won yesterday, a non-random selection of "about ten people" doesn't tell you squat. On what foundation would you suggest that gives you a corner on what's going on, especially when you consider that Simon's volunteers covered a ton of territory with her materials.

Thumbs down to you for this post. Its sour grapes at best, and irresponsible at worst.

As far as the claim that "Mayor Cole is a proven choice..." it would appear that 62% of the primary voters disagree. That is, the group of people who pay the closest amount of attention and care the most about election (i.e., primary voters).

Peter in Carbondale said...

If you think reasonably about who vandalized Brad's signs and stuck up Sheila's signs next to them, it was very likely a Sheila supporter. You think I'm ashamed? Haven't you been reading my blog? I might agree with your "masked man" theory, if it wasn't such an obvious red herring.

I like this post a lot. If any other current city council member was running for mayor, they would have no chance. It is only the Paul Simon's legacy that gives Sheila a chance. We agree about this right?

I'm not saying she doesn't deserve to assume the mantle of her father's reputation, that is OK with me. I'm just saying that I think it is a bad way of choosing a mayor. I'm also surprised that so many Carbondale voters would be swayed this way, but I did write a big section about how this is normal. If she wins, she will follow a long line of people elected on the family name and using the family money and contacts.

I think you can argue that she will be a better mayor or that Brad has some deep flaws that will make him a worse mayor. But, no one is putting forward an argument like that are they? I don't think that anyone believes that Sheila will have better results then Brad, only that she is kinder and gentler.

I don't have time to be a polling service for the city. You can ask your friends about the election if you like, you have my permission. I agree, the people I selected were non-scientific and biased towards people with some common sense. It actually told me enough to write a really interesting thing in my blog, so that is pretty good.

I'm not sure that the primary result are a scientific sample either. It doesn't look like Brad has really been campaigning yet and Sheila has been going hard for months. I was a big win for Sheila and I salute her hard work. I'm a little afraid that this is the hardest we will see Sheila work for the city, which seems like a problem to me.

I think that Sheila has a real chance of winning and that she will be worse for the city then Brad.

Anonymous said...

As far as the Simon signs going up in the same places...that's because that's where signs *always* go up here in Carbondale. Of course her campaign put signs up there. But...that doesn't mean the same person turns around and vandalizes a Cole sign.

What would be the gain for them? None. Zip. Zero.

And yes, people *are* putting arguments for why she ought to be Mayor. They're doing it door-to-door. Literally thousands of doors were knocked on. Don't confuse the fact that they can't stomach your blog as evidence that they aren't doing the work. Quite the contrary, they're doing the work rather than reading your blog.

Peter in Carbondale said...

OK big boy, what are the reasons she should be mayor? People who continually try to avoid facts, don't know any facts.

You guys have an unlimited amount of energy to confuse the issues and deceive. Lots of name calling too. No real information.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, where did I call anyone a name?

I've tried before to make arguments on her behalf, only to be censored, excortiated for not having support (when, ironically, I cited at least three prominent scholarly works), or to be "dismissed" as stupid (i.e., you didn't engage). I don't waste time shouting into the wind. I'll spend my time talking to people who listen (and boy do they listen, to the tune of 1200 votes worth).

I will point out the logic flaws and factual inaccuracies when I see them.

But if you *really* want to talk the issues, I'm ready to go to town on ethics any time you want, starting with your horribly flawed stand on campaign contributions. (By the by, I assume you've noticed the Brad's first post-primary event is a Springfield. So much for *that* argument.)

Peter in Carbondale said...

One of the big problems when posting as Anonymous is no one has any idea of what you are talking about in a historical context. There are 5 or 10 or more Anonymous comments made here most everyday, how exactly am I supposed to know what the heck you are talking about?

I don't know where you called anyone a name or if anyone called you a name. You are Anonymous.

Are you the person who said I was against all campaign contribution limits, when I wrote that I wasn't? I did write that Sheila's $50 limit was a game that only someone from a big political party (or rich enough to pay themselves) could win and would have her committed to a different group then local givers. I have written in this space about how dirty Illinois politics are and how the lack of campaign giving limits are the primary source.

Since you are Anonymous, I'm not sure, but I think I stopped responding to you because you don't read my writings thoughtfully and twisted my positions to something that isn't my position.

Why don't you adopt a handle, like "Tony the Tiger" (that would be the Other radio button) so we can track your comments? It will still be Anonymous, but with continuity.

Anonymous said...

Are you the person who said I was against all campaign contribution limits, when I wrote that I wasn't?

It was me, but that wasn't what I wrote. I said that your claim that her $50 limit was less ethical than no limit was silly. And -- no offense -- it is silly.

I did write that Sheila's $50 limit was a game that only someone from a big political party (or rich enough to pay themselves) could win and would have her committed to a different group then local givers.

And as I suggested then, there is no factual or logical basis for this argument.

Logical problem #1: raising money in $50 chunks is never easier than raising it in large chunks.

Logical problem #2: there is no reason why a small donation from someone far away should be seen as less desirable from a large donation from someone who wants something specific from local government; indeed, that's why campaign contribution limits typically exist.

Factual basis: not only does Brad accept money from people outside of Carbondale (including a large money fundraiser scheduled next week in Springfield), but he has access to Republican party funds. Republicans typically outraise Democrats, so how does this end up being an advantage for Simon? Especially when she has a limit?

You've written a lot of things I disagree with, but this one is off the reservation. You'd be better off just admitting it was a stretch and go back to harping on small business plans.

I have written in this space about how dirty Illinois politics are and how the lack of campaign giving limits are the primary source.

Here we agree. Illinois is far behind the times and the Democratic party is just as responsible as anyone else for this. Its one of the reasons to support a Democrat like Simon who has sway with the party (but, I admit, that's the smallest reason to vote for her as mayor).

Peter in Carbondale said...

Brad isn't the one claiming to be ethical because of his campaign contribution limits. He is claiming to be ethical because he is ethical and acting legally. Do you see the difference?

It looks like Sheila will be right there on total dollars by the end. Her game is to turn off Brad's best money source by making it a ethics issue, while leaving her best money source open. I can think of no one I would rather have fund a local election then the local citizens.

It is Sheila choice to do it the $50 way isn't it? No where in the USA is there a $50 legal limit. Why not choose $100, $250 or $1000 if you are worried about ethics?

It sure looks like Sheila choose $50 because it gives her the biggest advantage to play at that level. She will raise about as much money without doing any work, the Democratic party machine is doing the work aren't they?

I would prefer a candidate who has the city's best interests at heart and to have that reflected in where he gets his campaign contributions. Sheila is in bed with the Illinois Democratic party. Let's see Illinois Democrats or local business owners as supporters? Which group is more ethical?

In summary, I find your logic to be understandable this time, but not very solid. You say Sheila has to work harder to raise money, but really she doesn't have to work at all. You say Brad is unethical because he accepts legal contributions, but that is just silly.

If you have some ethical issue with Brad, spill it. Otherwise, this is just BS.

Anonymous said...

It looks like Sheila will be right there on total dollars by the end.

Ok, you've lost all credibility with this statement. He's already outraised her two to one (as he did the last time around against a candidate without campaign limits).

And I don't believe I've said Brad is unethical for accepting legal contributions. I've said that $50 limits are more ethical if for no other reason than they make you less beholden to special interests. I fail to see how that's logically un-solid.

Peter in Carbondale said...

If you track money since Sheila entered the race, they are about even. Brad had money in the bank when she entered though. It wouldn't surprise me if either one raised more. I'm going to break this out as a separate thread now.

Anonymous said...

Brad had money in the bank when she entered though.

I see, we only count the money that fits your argument. My bad. /rolleyes

Peter in Carbondale said...

I thought we were talking about fund raising. I said they were going to raise about the same amount of money, using about the same methods. You said, Brad is ahead today. I said, he started with a head start.

Wait for the end big boy, we will see how the money plays out then. Don't count Sheila out, she grew up in the cesspool of Illinois politics and has lots of Illinois Democratic buddies watching out for her. If she needs money, it will magically appear. Otherwise, she will just get free help from all sort of political organizations. But that doesn't count?