I recently added a link to the Arizona Daily Star’s forums to my right sidebar. I think that such a place could be a useful for community discussion of important public issues, and some candidates for public office are posting there regularly. I chose to recieve daily updates of new forum postings, and one of the posts which caught my attention was one by CD 8 Democratic candidate Dwight Leister.
I certainly agree with his underlying premise – that money is corrupting our political values – but I suspect that Dwight may be taking the give and take of politics rather too personally. Certainly, he needs to focus on things like grammar when addressing the public in an open forum. I haven’t met him personally, so I am not going to form any firm opinion of him based only on a forum posting, and I urge you not to do so either. But I will say that Mr. Leister needs to be concerned to present an air professionalism that does credit to what I am sure is an earnest and informed desire to serve the public welfare.
Oh, and if you are going to call Gabby Giffords a political whore who is frolicking on a bed of special interest money, just come out and say it Dwight; it serves no one to thinly veil one’s imprecations under a barely plausible veneer of deniability. After the jump, Dwight’s post without editing:
Despite the ideological trope that capitalism is somehow the natural state of human economies, and that any government regulation risks causing the ‘invisible hand’ of the market to bitch-slap us all, the truth is that capitalism depends entirely upon a very complex body of law and social norms. Without the proper legal incentives to channel self-interest into benefiting society, Wall Street begins to behave like La Costa Nostra with better tailoring.
In the aftermath of the massive corporate failures that have characterized the past several years, it is easy to overlook that those failures where not due mainly to criminals doing illegal things, but to ethical people doing business as usual. Enron, WorldCom, Tyco, Global Crossing and other now infamous business failures were only the rottenest apples in a bad barrel; not aberrations, but an extreme example of what we have allowed to become quite representative examples of the massive and widespread failure of corporate governance.
Last week I interviewed Patty Weiss, former Southern Arizona newscaster, and currently a candidate for the Democratic nomination for the Congressional District 8 seat being vacated by Jim Kolbe. I have to confess to a staggering feat of amateurism; my tape of the interview came up blank. Luckily, I have a good memory, took some notes, and Patty was kind enough to review my notes to ensure that they accurately reflect her positions. As a result, the responses I attribute to Patty on the issues I raised are at best paraphrasing, not quotes, though she did sign off my recollections.
My impression of Patty was that she is a very intelligent and articulate person, the sort that might overwhelm less active intellects, and garner a certain reputation from the envious or less able. She is well-spoken, as one would expect from a professional communicator, but I never got the feeling she was just stringing together talking points, though, of course, there was some that, naturally. There were also moments when she was less guarded than any professional politician would have been and that could, unfortunately, cause her some embarrassments in the future.
It is obvious that Patty is not just ‘interested in politics’ (a quote that has been used widely to cast her as a dilettante); rather Weiss is possessed of a well-considered viewpoint on the issues. Anyone who thinks that Weiss is a less than serious candidate, or one who will turn off the electorate upon greater exposure is in for a rude awakening. She looks great on TV, and has charisma. The wildcard may be how she fares in face-to-face retail politics. I suspect that she will be better than most. In my opinion, Weiss is likely to exceed expectations upon greater exposure and develop into a formidable political contender. Her wide name recognition could very well translate into wide electoral support as voters come to know her and like her in this new role.
UPDATE 2/28/06: Blue in AZ at Daily Kos attended several panels with the candidates and transcribed their position statements on the Iraq war. There have been comments on this post that Patty’s previous statements about what to do in Iraq differ from how she answered me. I’ll let you review the record and decide for yourself whether that is the case or not.