A newspaper ad has run over the past week in the Fairmont newspaper, the Times-West Virginian. It’s a political ad by one of the minor Republican candidates for the open Senate seat, Kenneth Culp, a CPA. (The subject of whether we should be having such a special election may be for another day.) This fellow has virtually no chance of winning. One advantage that kind of uphill fight is that the candidate can pretty much say anything they want and anything they believe, hope that their message “goes viral,” and they pull off a miracle. They don’t have to worry much about killing sacred cows or offending people. Sometimes, once in a blue moon, really, this tactic works. (The national example that comes to mind is Jesse Ventura as governor of Minnesota.)
Mr. Culp’s ad was OK by my standards. Here are some excerpts:
“I remember what it was like to work my way through college because my parents were poor. I know what it’s like to have to go to work every day to feed my family . . . to buy food, clothes, gasoline and make a mortgage payment . . . to have to buy used cars because I can’t afford a new one. . . . I remember what it was like to work 70 to 80 hours per week, 52 weeks a year to build a successful business. * * * I am the only candidate who has a comprehensive plan for getting our economy back on its feet. Once we have stopped Obama’s radical, socialist agenda we need to get back to a fairer income tax system that rewards success, not punishes it. * * * Don’t be fooled by all the slick ads running on TV. It’s going to take an outsider to fix these problems.” [Not that my grammar is great, but I didn't fix any of his, either.]
Oh, by OK, I do not mean that I agree with Culp’s politics or positions, just that he is stating them, which is unheard of. Mind you, this isn’t Lincoln-Douglas debate material, where the candidates spoke for 3 hours at a time, but it’s lots more than “Vote for Smith, the People’s Choice!”
Unfortunately for candidate Culp, the ad is terribly ineffective. (I also think some of it is a little zany and patently absurd, but those are political opinions rather than opinions about politics.) Candidate Culp mentioned his real opponents by name - a TERRIBLE idea. Culp acknowledges the good points of the two most prominent candidates in his race – so essentially he bought them a little bit of advertising space. “John Raese is a fine gentleman.” [Even some Republicans disagree with that one. John Raese is rich, handsome and wields power indiscriminately with an ax.] “I especially respect Mac [Warner] because of his 24 years of military service." Warner has a conservative/golden boy/military image which most politicians would sell their mothers into slavery for. His ideas are those of a dogmatic conservative “true believer,” which is always somewhat chilling. And finally, Culp fills about 12 column inches with 6 or 7 point type explaining at length his positions and beliefs. In a responsible nation with a responsible electorate, those lengthy explanations are precisely what responsible candidates need to be doing. Is it any surprise that this is so ineffective in America? Other than generally oppose Barrack Obama, I have no clue what any other Republican candidate plans to do.
Oh, the Democratic primary will be a runaway by Governor Manchin. His chief opposition is from Ken Hechler, a former history professor, Congressman and Secretary of State who is pleasant, pleasantly quirkly (drives around in a red Jeep) and 95 years old. To make a statement, Governor Manchin really needs to pull about 80% of the vote.
Addendum, Sunday, 29 August 2010:
1 - Governor Manchin took 70% of the vote, which is a touch worrisome.
2 - John Raese polled 71% in a 10 person field, but only one other strong candidate was running. Considering the money he dumped into ads, that's not a total shock.
3 - A press account this morning of "person on the street" opinion states: "Raese’s TV ads were enough to convince **********, a 69 year-old from Morgantown, to vote for him. Though he’s a millionaire businessman, he appears on camera in jeans and a denim shirt, his sleeves rolled up, talking about the jobs he’s created." He appears on camera. Can you believe it? This individual expressly voted because of how he appears on camera. St. Patrick with Rattlesnakes, welcome to the New America, Land of the Superficial Appearances.
But a Bigger Problem . . .
I reminded LaJ in the car tonight that “Tomorrow is the election.” Her reply: “What election?” In this season of haphazard and ad hoc decision making (which isn’t over - most likely, there will be the Governor’s chair to fill), it is hardly surprising that lots of intelligent people who do not have politics in their blood are wondering just what the hell is going on. Of course, this inures to the rich and well known.
Mi Casa Ain’t Su Restaurante
At least in the Mid-Atlantic area, Mexican restaurants seem to be named with random Spanish words which have been picked, probably, because Americans in this region know that they are Spanish words. Two Mexican restaurants in the Fairmont area (both excellent, by the way) are La Casa & Mi Pueblo - but I doubt that locals would name a restaurant “The House” or “My Village/Town.”
Note to Fairmonters: No Wings Olé is not a Mexican Restaurant. The closest it gets is that some crockery was probably made in Mexico before the wholesaler outsourced manufacturing to China.
General note on regional cuisine: I have a client, a very pleasant Hispanic gentleman from Arizona. He’s an American born & bred, but has relatives on both sides of the border and is fluent in both languages. While he longs for home, he has been seriously enamored of the cookery at the Bob Evans Restaurants, an Eastern chain that is a pure Midwestern country theme, the sort of place that serves breakfast all around the clock. (He also has a killer recipe for sopapillas.)
The current cover of Time shows a star & crescent in a stars & stripes theme with the legend “Is America Islamophobic?”
If you take the “phobic” part to mean general dislike, the answer is yes, and that’s OK with me.