Q. I work for a New York state assemblyman who has consistent turnover of attractive female staffers in the office. I recently heard that one reason behind the turnover is that he has slept with more than one of them. At least he’s not married, I guess. Even though it’s not exactly ideal, do you think it is problematic enough that I should leave, or does it sort of come with the territory in politics?
—No name or initials, obviously, New York City
Is this kind of thing more pervasive in politics than elsewhere? Perhaps; as Kissinger said, “Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac.” But that doesn’t make it right. If he’s slept with multiple members of his staff who have then quit or been fired, then yes, this is problematic enough for you to leave.
Do people in supervisory positions occasionally fall in love with subordinates? Sure, and yes, it can be complicated. But if it’s happened multiple times and caused “consistent” turnover (your words), then it’s not a fairy tale connection between principal and aide. It’s a pattern, and one with which you should avoid any association, because politicians (or bosses in any field) whose offices have patterns remotely like this don’t typically have bright futures (see: Filner, Bob).
Q. I work in a charter school in New York City and believe in the mutually beneficial relationship between a public school and its community, though in the charter world that’s hard: We are often treated as outsiders and insurgents. Relatedly, I am very concerned with what happened in the mayoral campaign around charter schools. Eva Moskowitz of Success Academy, with a few other schools, held a rally and march across the Brooklyn Bridge. It was obvious from the media coverage and the way it was discussed internally that the intent was to warn one of the mayoral candidates that opposition to charter schools would be dangerous. My concern, shared by many of my colleagues, is whether such a protest is unethical—or even worse. The organizers seem to have made a point to keep the rally from [using] obvious campaign rhetoric, but it seems that a rally about an issue that has been a source of debate in the campaign, held during a general election period, is inescapably political in the way that bars public schools from participating. The twist, perhaps, is that charter employees are not government employees, unlike district schools’ staff. Our schools’ budgets rely on public funds, yet the workforce is made up of private individuals. The call to action was done during work time; thus, while we were being paid with public dollars, flyers sent home to parents were printed on a copier paid for with tax dollars. I’m curious what you think about both the legality and the ethics of such an action.
—Concerned, New York City
The narrow legal question is whether the protest organizers acted inappropriately. By using taxpayer resources to engage in political activity during work hours, the answer appears to be yes. (I am not a lawyer, and—for the uninitiated—I violated election law myself a decade ago.)
The broader question relates to this assertion: “[A] rally about an issue that has been a source of debate in the campaign, held during a general election period, is inescapably political in the way that bars public schools from participating.”
I completely disagree. Even if charter school employees were government employees, lots of public employees have interests that are “inescapably political” around which they organize during election season. Have you ever heard of AFGE (a union of federal government workers) or AFSCME (state and local government employees)? Their members don’t take vacations from political organizing because it’s election season. Quite to the contrary, election season finds them at their most active; elections focus the attention of voters, journalists and candidates, so timely activism is savvy. No one—unless their job specifically requires them to refrain from partisan political activity—should be precluded from participating in political activity during election time or any other time. And charter schools in particular—whose very existence hinges upon state law and local regulation—may find employee (and family) mobilization critical to their survival.
Was John F. Kennedy the last honest politician?
Yes, that’s an intentionally provocative framing of the question, but given recent events, the idea warrants a deeper examination.
In stumping for the health care reform bill that bears his name, President Obama promised dozens of audiences (37 in all in the past four years) that “if you like your plan, you can keep it.” But he knew that over half of those who had purchased insurance on the individual market would lose their plans during implementation of his health care reform bill, and his administration assumed that, given the typical churn in the individual market, people would not notice the difference.
House Speaker John Boehner told two undocumented teenage girls that he’s “trying to find some way” to pass a comprehensive immigration bill. Yet, with a sufficient number of Republicans having publicly declared their support for such a bill, everyone in the Capitol knows that the votes are there to pass it if Boehner would simply agree to bring it to the floor despite it lacking the support of a majority of Republican legislators.
And Toronto Mayor Rob Ford recently claimed that he was prepared to admit smoking crack cocaine well before his ultimate admission; it’s just that reporters were asking him the wrong question.
Surely two of our nation’s most powerful leaders would be aghast at their inclusion in a category with the buffoonish Rob Ford. But there is a common thread: a lack of public candor by leaders who feared that transparency would damage them politically. Faced with similar challenges 50 years ago, our nation’s young president could not have responded more differently.
President Kennedy’s stunning candor following the 1961 Bay of Pigs fiasco seems quaint now that spinning, exaggerating, parsing words, and shading truths have become accepted parts of our nation’s political dialogue. But when leaders make mistakes, be they in the public or private sector, anything less than complete candor can empower rivals, the press, or, worst of all, law enforcement, to seize on a false statement, turning a speed bump into a full-blown scandal. As President Nixon taught us, the cover-up is almost always worse than the crime; it is a lesson I learned all too well.
There are many memorable photographs of former President Bill Clinton, but perhaps the most memorable is the one of a 16 year-old Clinton representing Arkansas at Boys Nation, beaming while shaking President Kennedy’s hand. Kennedy, of course, was Clinton’s role model. But there was one area in which, at a critical moment, Clinton departed from Kennedy’s playbook: crisis management.
The Bay of Pigs debacle was an unsuccessful 1961 invasion of Cuba by a CIA-trained paramilitary group who hoped to overthrow Castro’s government, which routed them in three days. The media clamored for Kennedy to address the events, which he did with clarity and candor. First, he acknowledged the United States’ role in the coup, and admitted the coup’s failure: “The news has grown worse instead of better.” Kennedy confessed surprise and disappointment in the outcome, showing a vulnerability rare among leaders as he described “useful lessons” from the “sobering episode.” He pledged to “re-examine and reorient our forces of all kinds.” Last, he fully he accepted responsibility.
There’s an old saying that victory has a hundred fathers and defeat is an orphan . . . further statements, detailed discussions, are not to conceal responsibility because I’m the responsible officer of the Government.
He did not blame the CIA for insufficient planning, or blame his national security team for offering poor information or guidance, or blame anyone for anything at all.
Read the rest of…
Jeff Smith: What John F. Kennedy’s Legacy Teaches Us About The Value Of Candor
I didn’t feel it was appropriate to text you this late, but there are a few things that need to be addressed. I just walked in my bathroom and my rug was soaking wet. I looked underneath the sink to assess the situation and I found everything soaked – including my entire storage of toilet paper. This has happened once before, but I figured it was just due to perpetual maintenance and I didn’t want to make a stir.
I have tried to be very patient with the process, considering it is extremely confusing, involves many people, crosses International waters being that the homeowner lives in Europe, and I get no communication from you other than text message as you do not answer the phone. I sent you an email a while back expressing my frustration with a few situations. You replied asking me to fix the screen door and gave no response or feedback regarding my questions that begged resolution.
I have asked, for more than a year, for the electric to be looked at and repaired. I said nothing when a storm came through. Although connected to a surge protector and powered off, my three-month old TV was destroyed. I said nothing because regardless of every protective measure, “acts of God” happen which absolve you from having to lift your pretty little finger. Had I not bought 3 brand new heaters that – without spiritual forces – also met their maker while plugged into the death traps that are my outlets, I would have likely deduced those “acts” and the destruction of my TV were solely caused by God. I don’t believe God would smite me by killing my heat and my access to Netflix. I’m sure He has better things to do. However, it begs question and further evaluation, as it is a well-known and proven theory that twice is a coincidence and three times is a conspiracy. Four times? Leave Him out of it. Fix the electric.
I took my own initiative to replace the TV without complaint or raising issue, as I have been guilty in the past of causing aggravation myself. There have been many “acts of God” that have forced me to reevaluate my scenarios and look internally for resolution…and I have learned to live very comfortably without Netflix and am humbled, daily, by how fortunate I am. Yet I would be remiss if during this reflection, I didn’t worry about you. It must have been extremely taxing to have someone besides yourself call me to ask that I take my trash to the dumpster and train my dog not to poo in someone else’s yard. And fix a screen door so people in your industry don’t cringe when they are attempting to making a profit by selling the unit beside me. How awful that eye sore must be, and how difficult that must have been to deal with. Again – my apologies.
Nevertheless, I have mentioned and asked repeatedly from the commencement of my lease (when I used the microwave while preheating my oven and the power went off in 3 rooms), and again repeatedly after I renewed for a second year, for the electric to not just be looked at, but be fixed. Instead, we have gone in circles and I have been told, repeatedly, that “someone will be sent to handle it and they will contact you for your schedule”. You must not cook. I’m sure that is another a task you find difficult, and compensate with passive aggressive work-arounds like boxing up a five-star meal and paying for it with the money you got from your divorce. I’m sure he didn’t marry you for your epicurean skills. Odds are towards the end, the oven wasn’t the only thing lacking heat. I’ll put my money on that winning hand for sure.
I have asked repeatedly for the shower door to be removed. Maybe you are starting to sense a pattern here. This is only after the situation escalated and it was installed without proper judgement – only because there was little to no communication on the subject of the flooring due to your assumed anthropophobia…look it up if it doesn’t automatically register. If that is the case, you are obviously in the wrong line of work. Predicated only by these assumptions and an utter lack of patience at this point, forgive me in advance for my candidness, but again – text messaging does not satisfy the ability to conduct a true assessment of the needs and priorities of the homeowner and myself – nor is it an excuse to regurgitate when I have asked to speak to you over the phone and you are showing a house.
Sometimes you just have to be tough and put your foot down.
About 25 years ago I became a regular and admiring reader of Business First magazine. I have read it loyally ever since, which is another 25 years.
One of my favorite sections is the “In Person” section that tells about a person in the Louisville community and humanizes him or her with personal details while also explaining their professional arc and future plans. And there is a box off to the side where you get the “personal stats” about the person. Their family, favorite books, favorite movies, what music they have on their iPod, who inspired them, hobbies, favorite TV shows and so on. It’s a lot of stuff, trust me.
Well, here’s the thing. I don’t like admitting this because it sounds kind of vain and probably is. It is vain. But each week for 25 years I read this section and wonder if Business First might do one of those In Person pieces about me sometime soon and I run through each of those questions and answer them myself. And it takes more than just a minute or two.
Well…take 52 weeks (issues) a year and multiply it by 25 years and you have 1300 consecutive weeks of rejection— where not only did I feel slighted by not getting asked to do the In Person section but I wasted several minutes each week imagining how I’d answer those personal stat questions.
Not all of the answers were true, of course. I’d have to balance out the answers so people would be impressed with TV shows I watched, music I listened to and books I was reading –even if I wasn’t reading anything at all. I certainly wasn’t going to say “Nothing” when asked “What books are you reading.” I at least would put down a couple of best sellers and maybe a fiction book or two and probably one classic, like, I don’t know–the Odyssey or something fancy from a long time ago so people will read it and say, “Wow. That John Brown guy is pretty learned compared to the books other profiled people pretend that they are reading.” Everybody knows they are exaggerating about some of it.
If people were completely honest they’d sound like someone who doesn’t deserve to be profiled in In Person because they wouldn’t be any more interesting sounding than you are me. Maybe worse. Think about it. What if they answered it honestly and said,
“Books: “None so far this year but skim the newspaper from time to time. I may read something next year or listen to it on tape. Nah. Probably not. I do enjoy browsing bookstores and read the covers so I don’t waste money buying books I won’t ever read;
Favorite TV: Weather Channel and Girls on HBO;
You get the idea.
In my case I was going to pretend I understood opera if they asked me and say something like, “Yes, I enjoy opera a great deal. Especially the signing. Much of it is sung in Italian, in case your readers didn’t know. I’m reading the Odyssey right now, too.”
I would have had to lie about what music I listen to as well. I probably would have said classical and country (It is Louisville, KY). I couldn’t say “Pearl Jam and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Steely Dan , US3 and Mos Def. And, oh, I like to sing out loud sometimes when I’m in the car by myself. But only sound good when I’m singing to James Taylor. I just don’t have a voice like Eddie Vedder or Anthony Kedeis.”
If I answered like that people would think I was nuts because 50 year olds aren’t supposed to act like that. Even though they do. They are getting older (we are, not “they”) and want to hold on to a few youthful things. Just because it makes us feel better and, well, old dogs struggle with learning new tricks. And that applies to people too. At least those over about 45 years old.
Anyway, after waiting 1300 weeks and thinking through all my real favorite things and pretend favorite things (to impress others), I am giving up this game. I am tired of waiting and feeling rejected
Dang it! I’m just done with the whole thing. It’s over. I have decided tonight I am not going to prepare for the In Person profile piece in Business First any more.
And if Business First ever calls and asks me to do the In Person profile, which they won’t, I’m going to tell them they had their chance–1300 times and I didn’t make the cut and now they can’t have me even if they want me. That I am going to do a In Person profile piece with another magazine and say I am not at liberty to give them the name. (That would be a lie, of course, but give them a taste of their own medicine.) If they asked me later I’ll tell them the big national magazine went under the week they were doing my long and big profile.
Well, it feels good! I feel free. Liberated!
And kinda feel like celebrating by watching an episode of the Real Housewives of New Jersey. Or an episode of Girls on HBO. I really like both those shows. And don’t have any hobbies anyway.
All the tears, the weeping, the searching for an understanding of what it meant — this is what I saw and remember.
Three years before Dallas, Senator John Kennedy came to Lexington on October 8, 1960 for a rally on the big yard in front of U.K. Our Dad got us up before sunlight, my brother Keen and me, to get to campus at the step-side corner of the stage.
Almost no one was there. Hundreds arrived, finally several thousand, boisterous and excited, especially the loud group of students chanting “We want Nixon” near us. The place was roaring when Kennedy hopped onstage, where various leaders were waiting. Our grandfather, Keen Johnson, was among them.
As the event ended Kennedy worked the front line right where we were, so our Dad pushed us up to reach out to the candidate as he left.
We managed to get in the long motorcade to the airport. It was near there that I saw the extraordinary Wilson W. Wyatt of Louisville cheering Kennedy. Wyatt shouted “Huh-rah for Kennedy” — not hooray, but a classy, uniquely toned encouragement.
Funny what one remembers.
Then 50 years ago, when Mr. Briscoe Evans came over the intercom at Morton Junior High it was to say that “President Kennedy has been shot. I repeat: President Kennedy has been shot.” I was in study hall, last period, a Friday. Miss Conner, the dear, elderly teacher serving as proctor, was visibly upset.
Within the hour Evans’ came back on to say the President was dead. Miss Conner buried her face in her hands and wept. She was shaking. We sat in shock, awkward middle schoolers unable to adequately take it in.
My concern grew as school was dismissed for the weekend and teachers were in the hallway, openly crying, even panicked it seemed. I had never seen anything like this.
Kids on my street walked home many days. As we came down the block my friend’s mother stood in their driveway, sobbing. They were Catholic. She cried over and over in the days ahead.
When we reached our house our mother was standing in the doorway too upset to speak.
On the day of the funeral there was the muffled drumbeat, the rider-less horse, the tear-stained face of the former First Lady through her thin black veil, the salute of a little boy to his father.
America watched all of this.
In time Dr. King would be murdered. We were in high school by then. That summer during Boys State at Eastern Kentucky University Robert Kennedy was shot. Then-Speaker of the House Harry King Loman of Ashland, the moderator, told us when RFK was gone.
Mitchell Nance of Glasgow was elected governor of Boys State. All of us thought about public service that week, the price some paid. I recall thinking what a decent guy Nance was. He went on in life to serve on the bench in Barren County.
Months passed. Nixon would rise. Then fall. Years would go by. Reagan would be shot in the first hundred days of his presidency. It happened the week I filed to run for Lexington city council, bringing back the continuum of losses. It all seemed to connect as if the word transition were not a post-election acion, but a way of life never quite understood in advance.
The glorification of Kennedy went on for weeks; clearly this continues. There is much to show for his inspiration, much promise in his step, many poignant moments.
America watched Kennedy. After he refused to wear a top hat to his swearing-in on a truly frigid day, my brother and I told Mom we would never again wear the hats she insisted we have. This pledge became a family laugh line.
Back then, people watched politics in different way. Many were glued to political party nominating convention coverage, or State of the Union addresses, or even presidential appearances from the Oval Office. They spoke of such things matter-of-factly, having paid attention.
You could say that not much else was competing on TV. But there is more to it.
Many, like my brother and me, were “children of the war” — born of parents brought together in the after years of World War II. Parents of this generation paid attention, listened differently than today. Most had heard Roosevelt. All had heard Truman or Ike, their general. It was a duty to listen.
The violent moment of Kennedy’s death left many to lament the death of an era. Some others, though, re-doubled their efforts to see public ideas, moving into action.
In many American moments there has been the deep question of what it will take to unite us. The shock of murder, especially in a schoolhouse, is one. Disaster and tragedy call on us to do something, do what we can, stretch to help.
Given the current moment, however, what losses must we suffer, realize or remember?
Just as failure can often teach more than success, tears may teach us what matters most of all. So might many recollections help us take hold of this piece of time, grow better together, closer to our purpose.
Ask more, just as Kennedy said.
Once when bucking establishment opinion and direction, Kennedy famously scoffed: sometimes the party asks too much. Indeed so.
What today is asking very likely has less to do with party matters, but more to do with what really matters. A simple prayer would ask that we listen, hear the answer.
Bob Babbage is a leading lobbyist who heads Babbage Cofounder. He served Kentucky as secretary of state and state auditor, and often appears in the media for moderate context and perspective. Reach him at Bob@BabbageCofounder.com.
The prospect of a genuine strategic rethink by Virginia Republicans lasted about two hours, before the off base exit polls gave way to a far narrower than expected loss by Ken Cuccinelli—the kind of “might have been” that provokes more rationalizations than insights. Perhaps predictably, I am in the camp that thinks a game plan of squeezing every last drop out of the political base with no credible appeal to the center, and abandoning state issues in the quest for a referendum on national healthcare policy, was actually lucky to hit 46 percent of the vote (and required a final week of Democratic coasting to get that close).
Because the first part of that formulation has been analyzed to death, I’ll dwell on the second part: the curiosity that the famously articulate Cuccinelli never defined on his own terms why his unfettered conservatism was a virtue. In the perverse way that opposites tend to resemble each other, Cuccinelli’s campaign actually mimicked his Democratic opponent, Terry McAuliffe , by avoiding any discussion of much of the policy landscape that will surface on the next governor’s desk: neither nominee got around to addressing the decision by the state’s flagship university to downscale its tuition assistance plan for low income students; both offered weak and shifting positions on the nature of the state’s energy production future; neither spoke to the question of whether federally adopted Common Core standards ought to be adopted in local school districts; and the subject of whether Virginia will move toward softer or tougher standards for unemployment assistance never came up. The unresolved dilemma of what or who will make up the difference if the federal internet sales tax proposals that are intended to finance a chunk of Virginia’s new transportation plan never materialize? It’s a wide open guess that neither would-be governor got around to mentioning.
The one state level issue that was debated in the race that just ended was, of course, whether Virginia should accept federal expansion of its Medicaid program. But “debated” is a relative term, given that Cuccinelli framed the subject almost exclusively as one of whether Virginia should embrace the Affordable Care Act writ large and McAuliffe’s advocacy for expansion never made its way into a single one of about 35 iterations of his statewide ad buy.
McAuliffe’s contribution to the substance free nature of the race at least made political sense: in focusing on Cuccinelli’s hard edged positions, McAuliffe made the point that his opponent’s governorship might pursue its share of distractions and that coalition building was not exactly a dominant part of Cuccinelli’s history. Fair or not, complete or not, that is at least an accounting of the risks in right-wing leadership, and McAuliffe’s shortchanging of specifics was a necessary concession to his own thin public record and his penchant for superficiality over fine print.
In contrast, a Republican candidate with a reputation for smarts and fluency in defending his views left his agenda so vague, so insubstantial that McAuliffe’s parody of those same views was all but uncontested–unless an undecided voter or a moderate Democrat was persuaded that the kind of man who is “attentive to details and serious” (one stunningly bland GOP ad) and who labored to overturn a wrongful conviction (another Cuccinelli spot that got lost in its own weeds) couldn’t possibly wage a crusade against birth control).
My own guess is that Cuccinelli’s advisors concluded that the social issue terrain was too unwinnable to defend and that a counter-attack on McAuliffe for, say, favoring late trimester abortions offered more risk than reward. (and presumably, that reminding voters of Cuccinellii’s principled opposition to mandatory ultrasound exams in advance of abortions would only dampen the fervor of the pro life grassroots who had been career long allies). It is also true that Cuccinelli took a stab at some of the themes that are at the essence of conservative reform—like middle income tax relief and expanding charter schools and parental choice in school district assignments. But the reform bent of his candidacy was overwhelmed by the exponentially greater advertising dollars and rhetorical energy attacking McAuliffe on ethics and investments; and on the related bet that “McAuliffe, the flashy wheeler dealer” would prove more off-putting than “Cuccinelli the extremist.”
It’s telling that a Republican who extols the benefit of state government at the expense of federal power offered such a scattered narrative about what conservative state governance would actually look like. Its telling and depressing that Team Cuccinelli assumed that the substance of a conservative policy platform wouldn’t provide the potential of both energizing his base and co-opting independents. It’s not only the center that seems to lack confidence in its persuasive powers.
The importance of positive self talk.
Let’s take a commonplace mistake people make. Putting on a different pair of shoes on each foot (see picture to the left).
The natural response is to be embarrassed and saynto yourself (self talk):
“You are an idiot who can’t even dress himself! And it is almost end of the week, Thursday, before you caught it! Go back to bed before you hurt yourself.”
Or you can try positive self talk. (Try to spot the difference):
“Look. Even though I haven’t been wearing the exact same pair of shoes this week, I at least have been wearing one left and one right shoe. And caught it is early in the week –just Thursday. I say “early” because Monday was a holiday and Tuesday was like a Monday and nobody notices what shoes you’re wearing on most Mondays. You got almost all other clothing articles right this week. And you never forgot to put on pants before leaving the house. You are doing really well. Like 99%. In baseball 99% gets you in the Hall of Fame. And even though you don’t like baseball, you wouldn’t mind being in the Hall of Fame. It’s going to be a good day. Yep. And, check! You didn’t forget your pants today either –and totally nailed shoes AND socks today, you Mr Hall of Famer, you!”
5, 4, 3, 2, 1 ……
Hey. Sometimes it is fun to do a countdown just for the rush of anticipation. It’s exciting.
Whether or not their is a pay off isnt nearly as important as it seems.
Life is often anti-clamatic and we need to embrace that–and it doesn’t mean we can’t still enjoy the anticipation part. It’s often the best part…..
Let me catch my breath and we will do another “no pay off” countdown this afternoon.
Q: I just started working full-time on my first political campaign, and I have noticed that many of our decisions are guided by polling and not by a firm belief one way or the other. It has been disheartening to see how someone I believed would be a strong leader is so easily swayed by the polls and is apparently only concerned with getting elected. Am I working for the wrong candidate, or is this what I signed up for?
—L.D., St. Louis
The way I interpret your question, I don’t think that’s what you signed up for. But let me explain.
Nearly every candidate worth her salt—at the state legislative level and higher in most states, at this point— uses polls. But good leaders don’t use polls to figure out their positions on issues. They use polls to figure out which of their issue positions they should highlight and which they should downplay. They use polls to figure out how to talk about the issue positions they want to highlight. And they use polls to figure out which attacks merit a response. That’s being poll-savvy, which is smart—not poll-driven, which can be pathetic.
So think about whether your candidate is poll-savvy or poll-driven. And even if he is the latter, ask yourself: Is it awful for a candidate to poll voters before taking a position on an issue or issues? Is that not in some respects what representative democracy is about? Taken to an extreme, obviously, it’s troubling—no one wants to vote for a weather vane. But if a candidate doesn’t have an established position or strong feelings on an issue, I don’t see a problem with taking the pulse of the electorate before deciding.
So is this what you signed up for? No. But I think that may be more about you than it is about him.
Q: Are you following the race for New York City Council Speaker? Seems like any one of a number of people could win. When it gets down to brass tacks, how do legislators make up their minds on leadership votes? Do they vote based on the candidates’ ideology, race, gender, geographic roots or intangible leadership qualities?
—A.M., New York City
None of the above. In my experience, legislators’ votes in leadership races are almost always about one thing: themselves. Now, I know this sounds counterintuitive, but hear me out.
Suppose you are the Economic Development Committee vice chair and you want to chair the committee. The current chair, whom you despise and often quietly disagree with, is running for Speaker against another member whom you like and generally agree with, and you expect the vote will be close. You will probably vote for the person you despise, because—unless power in that particular legislative body is completely centralized— the chance to chair Eco Devo is probably more alluring to you than the chance to have someone as Speaker whom you like. If power in the chamber is absolutely centralized, and if you totally trust the candidate you like to depose the current chair if she wins (a rare move in most chambers), and if you trust her to appoint you as the new chair, and if you then trust her to give you some power as chair, then you may want to vote for the person you like. As you can see, there are a lot of ifs there.
To take a somewhat simpler example, if you are a freshman Council member who first and foremost aspires to be Speaker, and one of your closest allies, also a first-term member, is running for Speaker against a second-term member whom you dislike, you’ll probably vote against your ally, because if she is elected Speaker and consolidates power, you will likely be termed out before there is another open seat race for Speaker, since you wouldn’t challenge an ally who is the sitting Speaker.
These two examples serve to make a broader point: Leadership votes are usually as much if not more about the ambitions of rank-and-file members than they are about the qualities of the aspirants.
Read the rest of…
Jeff Smith: Do As I Say, A Political Advice Column
The Stages of Development for Halloween:
1) Scared. (Ages 1-7) Halloween musters up images of ghosts and goblins, witches and werewolves; ghost stories, horror movies and creepy images dominate our understanding of Halloween.
2) Candy (Ages 8-12) The frightening images promoted by Halloween are displaced by the more practical desire to acquire and ingest candy.
3) Fun (Ages 13-24) Halloween becomes an excuse to party with our peers. Candy and Fear are no longer primary ways of understanding Halloween and are replaced with opportunities for interacting with the opposite sex, dancing, being fabulous and related behaviors.
4) Parenting–(Ages 25–49) Halloween becomes a wholesome family activity for parents and children to spend time together decorating the house, carving pumpkins, Trick-or-Treating, sipping hot apple cider and eating candy.
5) Partial Alienation (Ages 50-59) These are the years where you don’t have anything to do with Halloween except buy candy for Trick-or-Treaters whom you grow to resent bc you have other things you’d rather do on Halloween Night but don’t want your home TP’ed or egged.
6) Partial Re-Integration (Ages 60-74) Grandparents are often given one or more nominal roles for some sort of Halloween activities with the grandchildren. Usually a glorified form of babysitting for parents still stuck in Stage 3 (Fun) as their way of relating to Halloween.
7) Full Alienation and Full Re-Integration (Ages 75 — ) Although you no longer actively participate in any Halloween activities (e.g. decorating house and providing candy to Trick or Treaters), you have become a person about whom children hear scary stories in their neighborhood (Stage 1). Terms like Witch, Ghosts, Haunted House, Razor Blades, and other Halloween related story telling subjects get associated with you as your primary connection to Halloween.