Thursday, June 19, 2008

People Power versus the Moolah, Part 2

marjorie says...

I couldn't help but notice D.R. Herrera's (who is he I wonder?) claim this morning in the Abq Journal that mailers to west side residents in March cost Dan Silva the election.

My understanding, coming from Dan Silva himself no less, is that Silva simply was out-peopled on the doors: "They worked on it day in and day out," said Silva, who sent out six mailings for his campaign. "I don't have the same number of people."

It's easy probably for people who have a lot to say after the fact to forget the intensity of political campaigns, especially a month out. Heck, as far as we know Herrera himself didn't knock on one door.

Contrary to what Herrera wants to believe, politics isn't always just about who has the most money to throw around at the media. People power still is quite effective. And Eleanor Chavez has a lot of that from years working as an advocate for lots of people.

Maybe it hasn't occurred to Herrera that the folks in Silva's district didn't feel all that represented for the past 20 years. And a fresh face with lots of experience working for people actually was compelling to the majority of them.

This is called "democracy."

Its highly speculative on Herrera's part to suggest that mailers sent out months before a campaign were the reason for Dan Silva's defeat. And it does a disservice to the Hard campaign waged by Chavez, who was faced with an uphill battle due to Silva's name recognition.

What a bunch of sour grapes. Does Herrera think incumbents should be in office for life? Is he Dan Silva's friend/surrogate? Personally, I thought Silva's acknowledgment the day after the election that Chavez had a stronger on the ground campaign was gracious. Perhaps as the weeks recede that essential aspect is being forgotten.

Maybe the main lessen out of all this is to incumbents: don't take your position for granted. You may need to actually get out and knock on some doors--you know, talk to your constituency directly--if you want to win. It's a privilege to represent people, not a right.

Now that I've said that, which is the crux of the matter in my view, let me address the mailers.

I do work for a non-profit that sends out voter education mailers. And has done so for many years. And I can't help but wonder how many other non-profits out there send out education mailers that we never hear about.

When you're a politician, I think you should expect to be scrutinized--especially when it comes to who's paying you and how you're voting.

It's undoubtedly true that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. In this case, complacent politicians not liking what a simple search of the Secretary of State's website shows about who gives them money, and how they vote...being made very public.

If they took the money and they vote a certain way, what do they care who knows it? Good question.