Deference to the Mayor? Why? For What?
Last Sunday the City County Observer first reported in our IS IT TRUE column that Mole#3 had confirmed from a highly placed informant that Rick Davis will be announcing his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for Mayor of Evansville. We went on to report that the announcement will be taking place at 6 PM on November 11, 2010 at the Soldiers and Sailors Coliseum. At this point in time Mr. Davis’s plans have been widely reported and the Democratic Central Committee’s Fall Festival Booth Removal crew is spinning like a whirling dervish again.
This Monday, Mark Owen, chairman of the Vanderburgh County Democratic Party, said he preferred that Davis had shown “deference” to Weinzapfel. Owen has consistently asserted that “deference” is expected from prospective candidates for the Democratic nomination for Mayor of Evansville. Chairman Owen believes that aspiring candidates should wait until Mayor Weinzapfel makes his intentions known to challenge his supremacy. Owen is quoted as saying that “There is a certain level of respect due to the incumbent mayor”.
Davis said he will run for the Democratic nomination without regard to what Weinzapfel’s timing or intentions may be. Davis went on to say that, “no one is entitled to any position in the Civic Center”. The City County Observer agrees completely with Mr. Davis that there are no nobles of rank, title, or entitlement in the American electoral process, the City of Evansville included.
The dictionary defines deference as “respect and esteem due a superior or an elder; also: affected or ingratiating regard for another’s wishes”. Is any sitting elected official such as a Congressman, Governor, President, Dog Catcher, Magistrate, Assessor, or Mayor actually due the level of a respect of a superior or elder? If these people are truly superior beings with elder status shouldn’t they be running unopposed and enjoying near unanimous approval ratings?
We are somewhat relieved that this call for deference came from the mouth of the Chairman of the Democratic Party as opposed to from Mayor Weinzapfel himself. Clearly there is a bit of hero worship and adoration for Mayor Weinzapfel behind Chairman Owen’s words. For any candidate to personally express such a sense of entitlement and superiority would constitute an extreme case of arrogance or narcissism.
Does Chairman Owen want to see a Democratic Mayor of Evansville take office on January 1, 2012? If he does then he should not take actions that undermine the pool of candidates that are starting to come forward and throw their hat in the ring for the nomination. Rick Davis is the first but he probably won’t be the last. This primary is shaping up to be a spirited contest with or without Mayor Weinzapfel on the ballot.
From what we hear the Republican primary will be contested as well. That is the way it should be. There really are more than two people in the City of Evansville with the ability to govern and the more ideas that get introduced the better our governance will be. The election for Mayor of Evansville in 2007 was basically Mayor Weinzapfel against a completely unqualified person that won the Republican primary because there was no truly strong Republican candidate. In spite of the fact that the Mayor’s opponent was widely recognized as not ready for prime time, the challenger still got 15% of the vote. Mayor Weinzapfel went on to his second administration with a sense of mandate. Is it possible that this sense of absolute power contributed to the decisions and actions that have led to his fall in popularity?
Chairman Owen has undermined the democratic process by his insistence on deference. What will he do if Rick Davis wins the primary? Will he support a winning candidate from the party that he has the responsibility to lead or will he give a half hearted effort to a candidate whose every effort he has tried to blunt. First it was the childish removal of one of the Democratic Party’s booths at the Fall Festival and now it is a call for “deference to the Mayor”. What will the next effort to undermine Mr. Davis’s efforts be? Perhaps a phone bank to undermine Mr. Davis’s candidacy will come next. We certainly hope not.
This is the United States of America not the Soviet Union. We do not shuffle our Komrads into and out of power positions based on party allegiances and deferring to others. Americans do not wait our turn to lead. Americans seek leadership position when their ideas and their desire to serve inspires them to do so, not when the head of the Politburo grants permission to do so. This country is better because all people are able to file their papers and run for office when they choose to do so. That is what Rick Davis has done. The Chairman of the Vanderburgh County Democratic Party continues to attempt to blunt his ambitions. Chairman Owen may rest assured that the Republican Party will not be showing any deference to Mayor Weinzapfel.
If Chairman Owen is to lead the Democratic Party, then he needs to do the job that he was chosen to do and stop treating that job as though it is the Chairman of the Mayor Weinzapfel Entitlement Committee.