October 29, 2006

Come back Mike, all is forgiven

Just when you thought it had hit rock bottom, the Rock Island County sheriff race has, amazingly enough, continued to devolve further into farce.

The latest, revealed a couple days ago, was candidate Mike Huff filing some sort of grievance with the county ethics panel about his opponent Kraig Schwigen's supposed use of county computers to do some sort of research which Huff maintains was for campaign purposes. The complaint was dismissed, with Huff threatening to continue to pursue it and file again.

Somewhere and somehow in all of this came the statement that Schwigen's wife was in fear of Huff due to the fact that he'd whipped out his gun and pointed it at fellow officers sometime in the past, thus leading to an inference that serves as a milestone in just how far out into the ozone this contest has spun, namely, that one candidate's wife supposedly fears that the other candidate might shoot her.

The race is clearly more the public playing out of some bitter private conflicts with little or nothing to do with improving the Sheriff's department nor about who would do the better job. That seems to be an afterthought.

It's truly like two guys showed up for a debate and instead started wrestling in the mud like a couple 8th graders. All the public can do is stand back and watch in disgust and disappointment.

I'd feel much safer if both candidates and especially those who have contributed their whacky and vicious bile in blog comments would seek employment in some other jurisdiction.

I suggested this situation cried out for a "none of the above" catagory in a comment (posted as "Ick") on The Passing Parade, and subsequently, John Beydler wrote a piece on the idea complete with examples from other jurisdictions which actually offer that option.

As a matter of fact, I think the ugly comments filling up his stories about the sheriff's race and the truly dismal choice of candidates voters face this time around has prompted Beydler to look into the Green party in search an alternative option. Can't say I can blame him.

And after that, the D/A echoed the suggestion in an editorial.

Boy, did Mike Grchan ever take some beatings from commenters here during the primary.

But right now, faced with the prospect of one or the other of these candidates wearing the big badge, I think most people would be more than pleased if they could have Grchan back.

Beyond that race, voters are faced with:

- An installed product of nepotism, another mundane business as usual machine candidate that's so set up, connected, massively funded, and locked in that he's nearly untouchable and is protected from ever facing any real competition in either primary or general in the foreseeable future or as long as his family and alies can control things.

- A Dem party who reached out about exactly 1/8 inch to find a less than inspiring candidate, and his opponent a vapid talking head front person who is an empty vessel into which is poured conflicting and incongruous positions which she, ironically due to her media background, has difficulty getting across. She's found herself on the wrong side of political history in the past, this time's no different.

- Massively funded campaigns in the 71st with a lot of the challenger's dough going towards an unprecedented full-out negative smear campaign against Mike Boland to the point where it not only sours people on Boland, but splatters back on Haring, a guy who'd like nothing more than if voters would ignore his positions and the fact that he'd be a rubber stamp for the failed Bush agenda and whose views are not shared by a majority of district voters.

- No contest in the 72nd. Ho Hum. Do we even have a congressman there? Haven't heard much.

Add to that mix a Governor who's shaky at best facing a shaky opponent and voters can't be blamed for firmly holding their noses when they vote, that is IF they vote at all. It's factors like those above that leads to increasing voter apathy at a moment when voter participation is most critical for anything to change.

This is why discussions of third parties pop up more and more as well.

It's hard not to look at the slate facing voters this time around and have a wistful feeling that we surely could do, almost have to do better.

At least one loyal reader has taken me to task for not writing more often about local politics. The reason is all of the above. It's simply boring in it's negativity and ugliness. Who needs it?

So for the most part, I'll let the local swine wallow in the muck and wait for something less than depressingly predictable to happen. Until then it's just an ugly game.

Until the election, there's really not much more to say.


At 10/29/2006 4:10 PM, Blogger Rawk Eyelund said...

Well, we can write-in Grchan's name when we vote for Sheriff. I think I'll vote Green for IL governor.

At 10/29/2006 9:59 PM, Anonymous Political Geek said...

Blogs, newspapers, television news and radio are all too willing to push someone’s negative platform. I attended a political event last week in Davenport and negative campaigning was included in several speeches. Each one said that when negative quits being effective, candidates would stop using it. I didn’t hear one candidate that was in favor of it. It was necessary due to the overwhelming success it has on the voters. Before you degrade candidates for its use, point the finger in the direction of the average voter. You and I likely pay much closer attention to political stories and therefore see the offensive nature. For every one voter who is put off by it, several use it as a deciding factor. When voters change how they vote so will campaigns go. Vote AGAINST who starts it.

At 10/29/2006 11:27 PM, Blogger UMRBlog said...

Guns tend to add an unwholesome level of tension to a campaign.

At 10/30/2006 12:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No contest in the 72nd. Ho Hum. Do we even have a congressman there? Haven't heard much.
Your slipping Dope. These are State Rep races. Haring has nothing to do with Pres Bush. and the 72nd is also a State Rep race. They go to Springfield not Washington.

At 10/30/2006 2:56 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Ah... so Haring or any state rep will never deal with any issues pushed by the right and the White House, such as gay marriage, stem cell research (already done in IL), tax issues, prescribing morning after pills, etc.?

Didn't know that they were immune from national issues on the state level. Interesting.

At 10/30/2006 9:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wrote-in "NOTA" on my ballot for this race.

Regardless of the outcome, the RI Sheriff's office would be the last place I'd want to work starting next Wednesday.

At 10/30/2006 10:29 AM, Blogger Benton Harbor said...

Loved the description... "empty vessel."

At 10/30/2006 12:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

After 20 years, is the gun rusted shut?

At 10/30/2006 9:01 PM, Blogger Mike Huntoon said...

If your opponent goes negative and you don't respond, the voter's start to think the attack just might be true. Negative campaigns almost always force both candidates to "wallow in the muck" to an extent.

I'd say that my biggest mistake in advising Boland this campaign season, was not encouraging him strongly enough, or quickly enough, to fight back against the outright lies and distortions of his opponent.

I'm enough of an idealist to want to stick to a positive campaign, and I really liked the first two positive TV ads my boss ran. I sincerely wish we could have let the voters learn about Haring for themselves, rather than exposing his extremist right wing agenda and backers ourselves.

But . . . eventually even the nicest guys have to say - "Enough is enough!"

At 10/30/2006 10:43 PM, Blogger Tacky said...

The GOP knows that negative ads work. Example: Kerry's war record is completely turned around, and the AWOL guy is glorified.
There is a cetain percentage of people who dig dissing and they are the ones who are taken in by the negative ads. Propaganda works. TV Media actually make more money on these ads than neutral or positive ads. Latest TIME magazine shows what we buy daily, and most of these products are heavily advertised. TV ads work. Barnum was right.

At 11/02/2006 2:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is no way I want Mike Grchan back in office. That is why I voted out the guy. There is a lot of problems down at that dept. Not all created by Grchan, but he is the guy who runs the dept., it was up to him to get it straightened out. He chose not to. That is why he is no longer the Sheriff. We need to continue though to support the democratic candidate Mike Huff. Not this Schigen fellow. He just dosn't seem on the up and up.

At 11/03/2006 2:29 PM, Anonymous Smarter than you. said...

Watch for eleventh hour attacks that do not allow a timely defense. VOTE AGAINST everyone who runs an eleventh hour attack. This is the dirtiest of all.


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