I have often thought that George W. Bush was the perfect candidate for the Republican Party. Son of a president, degreed at the best universities that his grandfather's money could buy, raised in a country club, former drug user, born again Christian, poorly spoken, war monger, but purchased his way out of his own military service, made money through family money and contacts, brother was a major player - in the Savings and Loan fraud, belief over logic. He hits all the groups that make up the Republican party, just about perfectly.
You have to realize that Bill Clinton was the perfect candidate for the Democratic party too. Born poor and raised by a single mother, hugely aware of his lack of social standing, loves jazz, women and a good party, super smart and educated at the best universities, incredibly well spoken, avoided war by academic deferment, logic and results over beliefs, huge appeal to black voters, self made, but with flaws. This hits just about all the groups that made up the Democratic party perfectly. I have to admit that I found Clinton a little too practical for the Democrats, but they managed to live with it.
When you start looking for a candidate in our Carbondale mayor's race that appeals to SIU's professors and staff, I think Sheila Simon hits about all the groups pretty well in her run for mayor. She is the daughter of political royalty, a university professor, she has promised to work very little on the voter's behalf, she has no results in 4 years on the city council, she claims the schools have no problems and everything is great, she is against economic development, she is for higher taxes, she promises to kowtow the Democratic party, she promises to put the city back to where it was before Brad Cole started driving the economy outside of SIU. To summarize, Sheila is really promising to keep Carbondale the company town dominated by SIU that it as always been.
Then we have Brad Cole. After barely squeaking out a win against Maggie Flanagan in the last election, he has been a breath of fresh air in the business community. The voters he really appeals to don't live in the city, they are the business people of Carbondale and Southern Illinois (more about this later). He is the agent for change and improvement, moving Carbondale from being a stagnant town of low real estate prices, empty store fronts, high taxes and city government bungling, toward a town that might bloom into the "Capital of Southern Illinois". Brad has accomplishments by the score in the last 4 years, works hard on a volunteer basis for the city, he gets things done, even stepping on toes once in a while.
Brad has managed to weed out the biggest problem employees who were stopping economic development, actually I think one of the big, removed impediments to Carbondale's economic development is Sheila's campaign manager now (more on this later). This is kind of like Glenn Poshard's axing a few key losers at SIU of late. Often, there is addition by subtraction in organizations.
Many SIU people seem to want Carbondale to be a little and poorly run company town. As one person said after a talk I gave, "we certainly don't want a factory in Carbondale." Hey, no problem. Don't want Carbondale to grow and strive for improvement, Sheila is your candidate. I have wanted to Carbondale to be less dependent on SIU, to emerge as a great place to live and work. A place where all of our children don't have to move away from because of the lack of work.
It would be very disappointing to find that the majority of Carbondale voters don't want what I want.