Your election year scorecard
the giant scissors in the ribboncutting photo for the new school that he voted against.
Ms. “I’m only here for the food.” She’s the city councilperson or school board member who never asks questions, and rarely offers any ideas or solutions. She does, however, enjoy the free catered lunches, and will never miss an out-of-town conference to expensive hotels and restaurants.
Mr. “I’m not a politician.” He always insists he’s only a good ol’ boy, just one of us. He once helped coach a little league team, so he lists himself on the election ballot as “John (Coach) Doe.” He doesn’t really keep up with the issues, but he pats everybody on the back, volunteers at the concession stand, and will pay for your lunch. He has never lost an election.
Mr. “Doesn’t stand a chance.” Nobody ever sees or hears from him. We’re not sure if he lives in the district, or even in the state. But as sure as daylight becomes dark, each election year, he shows up and runs for something. He’s usually attempting to settle a score, like when the sheriff locked him up for DUI on a lawnmower. He’s never gotten more than thirteen votes, but he sure loves to see his name on the ballot.
Mr. “Let’s Make a Deal.” He’s part of that grand political tradition: What’s in it for me? After being on the city council or county commission for a few years, people begin to notice. He has a nice home, a new car, and he wears fine clothes. What he doesn’t have, is a job. Someone once made the accusation that he could be “bought.” He took offense, saying, “That is outrageous! I cannot be bought!” After a short pause, he said, “But I CAN be rented for a few days…”
Ms. “Now you see me, now you don’t.” During campaign season, she’s on full display. Her signs are everywhere, and she accepts every invitation to speak. But when a controversial tax increase is being debated, she is suddenly very busy. She dodges reporters with the skills of an NFL running back. When it’s time for the big decision, she votes “Yes,” and then quietly excuses herself, leaving early through the back door. But just like birds that migrate north each spring, she’ll be back in time for the next election campaign.
Mr. “I was confused.” He votes against a complicated proposal, and when there are unpopular repercussions, he pleads confusion. “I thought I was voting FOR it,” he explains, demanding a re-vote. Oh yes, he will be re-elected.
Finally, Mr. “No Comment.” The most frustrating one of all. Despite the fact he was elected by, and is paid by the people, he will refuse to answer questions from reporters, or even his constituents. Try that with your boss, and see how far you get. “Excuse me, did I just see you taking money out of the cash register?” “Uh…no comment!” Goodbye job, hello, unemployment line.
All this political talk reminds me of a story. A congressman was on the campaign trail, giving his stump speech. He closed by saying, “So go out and vote for me on Tuesday!” An elderly man jumped up from his seat, and yelled, “Not me! Not me! I wouldn’t vote for you if you were St. Peter himself!” The congressman looked him right in the eye and replied, “No sir, you wouldn’t. Because if I was St. Peter, you wouldn’t be living in my district!”
David Carroll, a Chattanooga news anchor, is the author of “Chattanooga Radio and Television,” and “Volunteer Bama Dawg,” available for $23 each on his website, ChattanoogaRadioTV.com, or by mail. You may contact him at 900 Whitehall Road, Chattanooga, TN 37405 or 3dc@ epbfi.com.