Anybody care about the mayor’s race?

Hello? Hello?

I’m perplexed as to why, after over 24 hours, there are NO comments on my last post. Is it me? Was it badly written? Or is it the topic? It’s me, isn’t it? I knew it. I’m ugly and my mother dresses me funny. Boo-hoo.

Seriously, I’m not just whining that no one is paying attention to me here. There’s a serious point. I’m still figuring out this blog thing, and trying to understand why some posts will get over 60 comments, and others none. I thought this one, with just a few days left to filing, would be a talker. Lord knows I get plenty of mail and phone calls from people who complain about poor ol’ Mayor Bob. Thing is, no one with a chance ever runs against him. You’d think people would be interested if someone with even a slight chance (and I’ll admit, he doesn’t have much of one) stepped forward, or was thinking about stepping forward.

Maybe lots of people read it, had nothing to say yet, and are waiting to see whether Mr. Fisher actually runs. Or maybe they’re not interested.

So please respond to this one, and tell me, so that I might serve you better: What sorts of topics interest you most? What would be more likely, in your opinion, to get a good debate going among a wide variety of people? I’ve pored over the posts that get the most comments and the ones that get the least, and I have yet to discern reliable patterns that I can put to practical use.

Of course, there are some topics that need to be discussed whether they have high market value or not. So here’s a corollary question: How might I approach local politics in a way that would engage more people?

Thanking you in advance for your advice…

16 thoughts on “Anybody care about the mayor’s race?

  1. Mike C

    The mayor’s race seems, er, inconsequential. Whether he’s strong or week, as long as he’s not corrupt, the mayor and the city council don’t seem to have a big impact. Maybe it’s because those folks are not too whacky or too greedy.
    I don’t mean to sound impolite, but do they run the schools? They don’t run my sewer district, water delivery is fine — I like minerals, and lead is a mineral, — so what do they do that affects us? Municipalities get a small piece of the sales tax, a larger piece of property taxes, but aren’t schools sucking most of that money up? Policing is adequate; I forget, has the city recognized the gang problem, or is it still just the county? The gorilla in town is the university, and it’s got its own pocketbook to push the city around should it so choose.
    You may label it ennui, but I really don’t care…
    It’s above the city level where the excitement seems to be. That’s where all the appointed districts are, and the counties are, well, run by committees with sheriffs to keep the peace, but then there’s the state. That’s where the action is, where the real money and influence-peddling are.
    Oh, and I guess it’s time we told you: the rest of us have been playing poker and drinking beer while you’ve been posting. We all got together and decided to see how long it would take before you noticed. Lee brought the charcoal and some cigars, Herb got some wings and drumsticks, Mark made a killer sauce, Laurin got celery and other munchies, Dave and Steve set up the benches and fetched the hash, Capital A and bill hauled in ice and condiments, and I brought the beer. We’ve been at it for almost 48 hours straight, with Herb and Laurin the big winners — I got cleaned out after 27 hands.
    But you’ve suffered enough, so we’ve decided to come clean. Hmmm. And we do need to get cleaned up ourselves…

  2. Herb

    I live in Lexington, work out of my home, that is when I don’t have to travel (which I don’t particularly like doing, but somebody has to do it — in this line of work, that is). I’ve seen the Mayor once; at the city-wide prayer breakfast two years ago. And — I’ve made a new year’s resolution to curtail writing about things I know nothing about, which includes the mayor’s race in Columbia.
    Anyway, I’m busy trying to figure out how to spend all that money I won on poker the last few days.
    By the way, Brad, you could try a commentary on Thomas Friedman’s piece today; I bet that would set some folks going.

  3. Mike C

    Herb –
    There are those of us who refuse to pay the $50.00 annual fee to penetrate the TimesSelect pay-wall, even though others of us might be willing to pay more under certain conditions. As a result, Thomas Friedman’s pearls are case before fewer swine on-line. The State‘s hardcopy subscribers can read it, but none of the NYT‘s subscriber newspapers may put it on-line.

  4. Herb

    I belong to the State’s hardcopy readers; older generation, I guess, but I like to have some things printed on a page. Besides, someone needs to support the advertisers.
    Anyway, all the more reason for Brad to fill everybody in on the State of the Union a la Thomas Friedman, at least I assume he can give the gist of it and not break any copyright laws. The anti-tax crowd here will probably have heart failure.
    By the way, we just made friends at church with a couple who recently moved here from Florida, really nice people. They said that The State struck them as nice “little ol’ hometown newspaper.” Take that as a compliment, more or less; I think it was meant that way.

  5. Mike C

    I too am a hardcopy subscriber of The State. What I failed to get at was that Friedman’s influence has waned a bit. At one time all of blogdom commented on his utterances; now, there is silence.
    While I’d not cast aspersions on journalists’ intelligence, I will fault them for ignorance. Few have an understanding of economics, mathematics, or science in general. They therefore don’t grasp the notion of principles (theorems, axioms, and other notions of foundations upon which larger concepts rest). They are unable to provide context, unable to fathom the range of contending views might be.
    Their inability to analyze is of course true of religion. I went to some pains in this post to accurately reflect the long-standing Catholic view since my research indicated that it had been misrepresented or misunderstood in the popular press.
    One excerpt from the article you referenced seemed to express surprise that B16 did not mention “abortion, homosexuality, contraception or divorce” in his first encyclical, as though Il Papa would break new ground or something. The writer seemed ignorant of the fact that there’s a vast body of theological work that the pope and Catholics in general rely on for guidance. I wonder what the writer might think of the walk some folks took earlier this week and the response they received. I didn’t see much reporting on it.
    Moreover, when journalist report the remarks of this or that politician, they often seem unable to find readily available contradictory remarks.
    Not a whole lot of that happens locally, which is The State’s focus. You and I are interested in national issues, for it does seem that we live in interesting times. At that level one finds pundits / journalists who report selectively. Friedman is one, as are Nicholas Kristof, Tim Russert, Bob Woodward, Bob Novak, and everybody associated with the Valerie Plame kerfluffle. Some of these folks have inside knowledge that they’ve not disclosed as part of the way they make their living: journalism. Why?
    Also, as I know, and perhaps as you do too, there’s a war within the DOD over the army. I work with former Army O-7s and above, some of whom are beside themselves over what’s happening to “their Army.” I’m not talking about the recent brouhaha over how much it’s stretched, but over its organization, mission, purview, and, yes, politics. For example, while Knight-Ridder’s military correspondent Joseph L. Galloway is quick to call Vice President Cheney a liar, he’s been silent about the root causes of the some of the army’s former leadership’s concers, which he, as a bronze star recipient, should know well. Galloway knows why, instead of some active duty general, Pete Schoomaker was called out of retirement to serves as Army Chief of Staff. He knows why Marine Corps General Peter Pace was selected as the sixteenth Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, und so weiter. But he can’t seem to fit these and other uncomfortable, for him, facts into his reporting.
    I don’t care that Brad is a raging heterosexual, that The State’s staff meets frequently with known pedagogues and flagrant thespians and in fact employs some, that when you dial extension 666 on The State’s internal phone system you get Mike Fitts, and that Lee Bandy once voted for a Republican. I really, really don’t care.

  6. Dave

    There is so much going on in the world right now that the Cola. mayoral race would be very low on my list, in part because I don’t have residence there. Just back from a work trip overseas gives me more of a global vantage point than I would normally have. No time to post links but Tony Blair has proposed to drastically reduce UK pension and welfare benefits. The UK is suffocating under the weight of promised benefits and once again you see that socialism just cannot get it done. Meanwhile, Ireland (The Republic of) is booming with new construction, new jobs, new business but the complaint there is the native Irish cannot afford to live there anymore. Land prices are off the charts unless you have Bono’s money. A pint of Guinness is now fetching $6 US. So, for me, I am more interested in what comes out of Davos than Columbia, SC, but ultimately we exist in the same global village.

  7. Mike C

    Well, Kerry came out of Davos to do his Donkey Hohtey thingy on Alito while Clinton is complaining about global warming and everybody else is talking about China and India. No mention of Iran, though… I say what happens in Davos should stay in Davos.
    I just read that the Brits were almost at 50% of GDP as government. That’s way too high and means that they’re strangling their economy, sucking the lifeblood out of it.
    I also saw that Brits are complaining about their nanny state. It seems that the Brit government is the third largest advertiser in the country, surpassed only by Unilever and one other consumer conglomerate. The run ads about picking up one’s gum, not eating too much, not drinking too much, not smoking too much, but they probably do push condoms… The US gummint is the 22nd largest advertiser in the US. The Brits even have a Government’s Chewing Gum Action Group. Antisocial behaviour orders now are used to keep folks from wearing sweatshirts with hoods.
    Yes, the Irish. With a population of 8 million in 1840, 4 million in 1990, and 5.7 million today, they seem to have skipped heavy industrialization and moved into the information age. It’s a lesson for Maine and the Palmetto State. (In fact, SC has had some success in turning its technical colleges into handmaidens of industry, part of the reason for BMWs settling here.)

  8. Brad Warthen

    And I just bought a hooded sweatshirt over the weekend! So should I leave that at home when I go to Britain? Maybe it would be OK if I just left behind the balaclava helmet I got to go with it. But then, an ensemble just isn’t complete without the accessories…

  9. Dave

    This is an interesting article from the British Sun Telegraph. Here is the link to the article Couch Potatoes Beware, NHS Lifestyle Trainers on the way!

    If you cant read the whole article, here is one excerpt about the state of National Health Care in the UK. Excerpt —” A more immediate problem is hospitals cancelling operations because they say they have run out of money. How can it happen when the NHS now has a bigger budget than the GDP of 155 UN member states? Even Gordon Brown says enough is enough.”
    For all the naive who think the Brit system is our solution for health care, think again as most Brits would opt for the US system in a minute.

    So now Cindy Sheehan wants to run for the US Senate. With her face, dog catcher may be a better place to start. She could scare the mutts with that mug. The term Coyote ugly applies with her.

    Now if Angelina Jolie wanted to run, we would have beauty but no brains in this candidate. She and Brad Pitt are jetting all over the world, burning tons of jet fuel, while whining on and on about the environment and “those people” who refuse to conserve energy. But at least she is pretty when she says it….

  10. Tim

    I took a few days off from reading blogs to restore my sanity, but here’s my thought. Nobody commented because nobody in their right mind can take Kevin Fisher seriously.

  11. Herb

    For all the naive who think the Brit system is our solution for health care, think again as most Brits would opt for the US system in a minute.

    I’d like to see links here. You may be right, but I’d like see proof. I know a lot of Brits, and most were enamered with the German system; they were not impressed with the American one necessarily.
    I’d just like to know if there is substance behind this statement, or it is just an American saying what he thinks a Brit should be saying.

  12. Lee

    Bob Coble is trying to get on the high-tech bandwagon. He says he doesn’t want manufacturing jobs for Columbia. What are his plans for all the uneducated public school dropouts to make a living in his “information buzzword economy”?

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