Monday, March 15, 2004

Character is Important

None of us would want to be judged based solely on our failings.

Yet that is exactly what Rick Pearson did in his March 14th Tribune article on the candidates in the Senate primary. He has done Tribune readers a great disservice by leaving them with the impression that, because the candidates in the Senate primary are such a sorry lot, it doesn't matter who wins.
That is just wrong. There are good candidates. It matters who wins.

Mr. Pearson could have focused on the substantive qualifications of each candidate -- or even just the front-runners on each side – and helped the voters make a thoughtful and intelligent choice. Instead, Mr. Pearson decided that "character" was going to be the main story of this election, even though character was/is an issue for only a tiny minority of the candidates.

Mr. Pearson's own story is the best evidence that, although it is the theme of his story, a shortage "character" is not the issue of this campaign. Despite his best efforts to somehow tar each candidate with the "character" brush, Mr. Pearson was unable to identify ANY character issues for most of the candidates.

Just look at what Mr. Pearson attempts to pass off as "character issues" among the Democrats:

Mr. Hull is a neophyte loner.
Mr. Hynes lacks passion.
Mr. Obama missed a vote because he was with his sick daughter in Hawaii.
Mr. Chico pays some of his organizers.
Ms. Pappas' ads are ineffective.
Ms. Skinner is just a talker.
Ms. Washington ran for a meaningless constitutional office.

These are barely issues, much less "character issues." And most of the Republicans provide Mr. Pearson with no more potent ammunition.

But because Mr. Pearson's campaign theme of failed character would not have worked had he merely limited himself to focusing on a couple of Republicans and single Democrat, he was forced to try to magnify the insignificant into the substantial. While he did not succeed in doing so, he did succeed in conveying his personal belief that the outcome of the race for Illinois junior Senate seat just doesn't matter.

If the readers of Mr. Pearson's article are left with the impression that there are no meritorious candidates in this Senate primary, it is due to a lack of character.

But not on the part of the candidates.

No comments: