Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Familiar Refrain to Re-Elect All Incumbents

One thing that you can count on in every campaign is that incumbents -- desperate to hold on to their jobs, salaries, and retirement benefits -- will always say the same simplistic things. They will pass off some jingoistic version of "Don't change horses in the middle of a stream," "Keep a good thing going," or "Stay the course." Then they will tell you that only the person holding the office has any relevant experience, and every opponent is a risky bet. They do not use words like "change" or "new ideas," or "we can do better."

It is amusing but not surprising, then, to see this line repeated by those who have sipped the Kool Aid. Someone named Lillian Pictor offered up a warmed-over serving of it in today's Northwest Arkansas Times that the editors titled, "Why gamble with a sure thing?" That sounds better than "Just more of the same."

Here's how it goes, "If you elect one of the other candidates, you are gambling because they talk big but haven’t been tested. If you elect one of them you are going to change everything, and perhaps not in a positive way. We would be starting at the bottom and in unknown territory. As far as economic concerns, I am certain that the present administration is very aware of the need for good city services and is considering these issues as well as others."

Lillian was talking specifically about the office of mayor, and she said, "Being the mayor is being the mayor; it is different than [sic] being on the council or any other position. I don’t think you would truly know what it’s like until you are actually there." Well, duh! Under that pseudo-logic, every incumbent is always more qualified than any challenger for every office.

George Bush and Dick Cheney have more experience in the White House than Barack Obama and John McCain combined, so "why gamble with a sure thing?" Why even bother having an election? Maybe because some citizens think that eight years is long enough to accomplish your goals or become stagnant and that it is time for energetic new leadership with fresh ideas?

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