Monday, April 18, 2005

The Jeffersonian Endorses Hardberger for Mayor

One of San Antonio’s most astute political pundits, Cincinnatus, after careful consideration has finally made his decision on whom to support for Mayor. In a recent post he makes some very astute observations that all San Antonians should heed:

"I don't vote, and will never vote, solely on party affiliation. If I don't know the issues or the candidates in a race, I skip over it. Nor do I vote for someone because s/he is a potential rising star. Those are probably the two worst reasons to vote for someone in my book…"

Amen Cincinnatus! If you don't take the time to get informed on the issues and intend to uncritically "just pull one lever" don't congratulate yourself for being a "voter." Simply casting a ballot out of personal prejudice does not constitute an act of patriotism; rather it represents a public act of bigotry. If you vote for a person because you think a candidate is "cute" or because you want to "hitch your wagon to a rising star," then you are just shallow and fatuous and we would all be better served if you would just stay home on Election Day.

The Jeffersonian also poses us some very important questions:

"Why did Julian feel he could do a better job than Schubert or Hardberger when his professional career consists of 4 years on City Council and part-time law work?"

"Why did Phil even want this job, and how would he be able to do this job without any council experience?"

"Does Carroll care enough about issues that affect Districts 1-7?"

How you choose to answer these questions will very probably indicate how you will finally vote. That being said, here is how I would answer them:

"Why did Julian feel he could do a better job...?
Simple, personal ambition. This is perhaps the worst character flaw a politician can have, but unfortunately it is also the most common. When for years everybody tells you that you are the "golden child" after a while you tend to believe them. You develop an inflated sense of personal destiny and entitlement to office.

"Why did Phil even want the job...?"
Simple, personal legacy. When you get to a certain age you reflect on your life and realize that you are not going to be here forever. You start to think about your legacy. Even though you are well off and now have the opportunity to sail around the world with your wife, you wonder if that is the best way to go out. Personally, I think it is, but I am not a lifelong jurist with a career in public service. Allegedly, people from all over town came to Phil and asked him to run and he came to believe that perhaps Mayor of San Antonio would be a fitting epitaph, probably much to the dismay of his wife. Besides, he did not spend all those years on the bench because he had an aversion to telling people what to do.

“Does Carroll care enough…?"
No, or he would have more actively campaigned to get the votes of people who live in the grossly underserved areas of the city. While his message of “filling potholes” would play well in districts 1-7, those aren’t the potholes he intends to fill. Indeed “potholes” is code for building new roads, widening thoroughfares and building infrastructure on the Northside. Also, in his mouth, “potholes” like “good schools” conceals a disturbing hidden racial subtext that presumes that U-Haul won’t be renting moving trucks to Latinos and that Anglo property values will be safe for another generation. What is more, Carroll is not without further political ambition anymore than Julian. He isn’t creating that fundraising mega-network for the sake of this campaign. He has statewide political aspirations that will require his not inconsiderable war chest creating skills.

Cincinnatus also makes a telling observation about the various candidates’ campaigns:

“if I didn't follow as intensely as I did, I might not have been able to really gather my answers. Not one campaign has a very good message- Julian's seems to be: One City. My Destiny., Phil's is: I'm old and I'm not Carroll or Julian, and Carroll's is: I'm a Republican.”

This is indeed the case, but what makes Cincinnatus think that any of them will govern any more competently than they campaign? Perhaps, deep down he doesn’t, but of the three messages they have proffered, maybe it was Phil’s “I’m not Carroll and I’m not Julian” that he found least unpersuasive


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