Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A Few Thoughts On Clarke's Re-Election

[Updated, Wednesday, 1:15 p.m.] I'll offset the update in a different font:

I've had a few hours to think about Sheriff David Clarke's re-election, as have others, and will add this: 

It's pretty early to be talking about the 2016 Mayoral election when the votes are still being certified in the elections just completed.

Clarke's base is in the suburbs, where, not coincidentally, right-wing talk radio's base is, too. His far-right Tea Party/gun-obsessed, fear-inducing statements and persona resonate farther there than they would within the city limits.

And having managed budgets with overruns - - despite his denials of red ink - - Clarke has shown little interest in the broader, often-boring-nuts-and-bolts machinery of local government - - beyond his own brand of law and order - -  that define municipal responsibilities and take up most of a Mayor's time.

Clarke is a career law enforcement officer. He wanted to be Milwaukee Chief of Police when Arthur Jones won the job.

I would say if you think there has been friction in the past between Mayors and Chiefs of Police, imagine being Chief under a Mayor Clarke, who be more than the de facto Chief.

And it would be hard to convince the electorate that you are making a serious bid to run a unit of government, with multiple obligations, when you are identified with anti-government beliefs and activists.

Like people talk about being freed from state and national "tyranny" who give you their Sheriff of the Year award.

I'm not minimizing crime as a reality and an issue. I'm saying Clarke comes across as awfully ideological on the issue.

It's the same problem that has saps Cathy Stepp of credibility as Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources. She had been such an over-the-top critic of the agency, and of a legitimate government role in resource management and environmental protection (which requires regulation)that her actions are widely seen as regularly biased, hollow and insincere.

So, after a half a day of relection I think it's a) too early to talk and speculate much about b ) something that probably will not happen - - a Clarke Mayoral bid.

Though I will add that if he were to run, he could tap into millions of right-wing dollars, and with his talk radio team at the ready, Clarke wouldn't exactly be starting from scratch.

But before 2016, there's the unfinished business this November.

Offering no excuses. Just observations.

1.  It is hard to defeat an incumbent with probably 101% name recognition.

2.  And if that incumbent is running where crossover voting by the other party is allowed.

3. And if that incumbent gets more free publicity on multiple AM radio talk shows than anyone except Scott Walker.

4.  And if that incumbent has just enough urban and suburban appeal in an off-year election to stitch together a winning coalition.

5.  And if that incumbent is backed by the NRA, whose members vote, and a majority of the rest of the voters do not vote.


Anonymous said...

isn't your last statement sad,

NRA members do vote and other do not.

real sad

Anonymous said...

Imagine a debate with both Donavan and Clarke. Tom Barrett could just sit back and laugh.