Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Nattering Nay Bobs

The Voters of Dunwoody gave both Bobs, Wittenstein and Dallas and emphatic "NAY!" in Tuesday's run-off election. What are we to make of this?

The losers significantly out-raised and outspent the competition. Perhaps money isn't the deciding factor. Perhaps it was ill-spent and was a deciding factor, but not as the spender anticipated.

Wittenstein had incumbency giving him a record to run on and his opponent a record to run against. No councilman can do the job without finding themselves on the opposite side of some issues relative to some constituents. Nor will his successor. But it may be that the citizens of Dunwoody realize that with incumbency and "experience" also comes a certain comfort and complacency. A freshman councilor is not very likely to say "well, that's the way it's [always been] done", but is instead more likely to question the status quo and possibly probe for and arrive at a different and better answer to any given problem. In such a smart city with so many smart citizens it will take many election cycles before we've exhausted all our smart options.

Dallas is a bit more interesting. Whilst touting superior experience and qualification he seems to have spent a significant chunk of his funds on a campaign advisor. Perhaps this is why, in the later days of the campaign, his message went decidedly negative and he went so far as to inject alleged party affiliation into a non-partisan race. This expenditure was clearly ill-advised, but thankfully it was his money, not ours.

One would like to think that most citizens of Dunwoody would have been intellectually offended by these tactics and that alone would turn the tide. Perhaps it was and perhaps it did. But on the matter of party affiliation, it is a sad day when mere association with a party is as blemishing as a leper's sore. It is also of interest that the smearing allegations are offered with citation--county voting records--from which one infers that what really happened is his opponent "crossed-over" in a primary. (It is unlikely even DeKalb county would publish an individual's actual votes on specific ballot items, not because they wouldn't, but because they cannot figure out how.) When the Republican north was dominated by Democrats to the south, how many erstwhile Republicans didn't cross-over to vote against Cynthia McKinney? Would a "smart" voter not take the opportunity to have their voice heard in the opposing party primary if they know that their candidate, no matter how well qualified, simply will not win in the general election, or would they squelch themselves so they can claim a party affiliation as pure as the driven snow? And which action gives them the greatest representation in their government?

Regardless of their real motivations, and there are probably as many as there are voters, Dunwoody has done itself proud.