Sunday, November 1, 2009

Of the People, By the People, For the People


Tuesday is election day. Toledo has now slogged through an astounding sixteen years under its so-called strong mayor system. For twelve of those years, Carty Finkbeiner has been mayor. Next year he will not be. All Toledoans may now sigh in relief.

It's worth just a moment to recall how Carty became mayor in the first place. He beat Mike Ferner in a squeaker. The polls all showed Mike ahead. By a lot. But the Blade, which had originally urged Mike to run, went all out for Carty with a front page endorsement and days of ad hominem attacks on Mike.

In any event, Carty won. then he won again. Term limits required him to sit out a term and Jack Ford became mayor. Four years ago, Carty beat Jack. This time he didn't run.

The primary is over. Opal Covey was once again defeated. So were the more plausible Ben Konop and others. It's down to Mike Bell and Keith Wilkowski.

Today is endorsement day. All Toledo waits to see who the Blade will endorse and who, for two days at least, it will savage.
Were these two candidates individuals with disparate capabilities and qualities, we might suggest that voters suffering from a strong case of what we'll call "Finkbeiner fatigue" simply choose the candidate who is most unlike the incumbent.
But of course that would be the most backhanded of endorsements, and the Blade won't do that. It is, after all, as it reminds us daily, "One of America's Great Newspapers." And great newspapers must lead. So today's endorsement is:

They can't decide.
I'm fine with that. I already voted, but I'm not endorsing anyone, either. Then again, I'm not a newspaper that traditionally (that is, always) does. More to the point, I accept the fact that in our system its the choice of the voters that counts. I'm happy with that system, even if I'm rarely all that happy with the choices the voters make. But the Blade?
And so we reluctantly defer to the electorate.
"Reluctantly"? There's a truth for you. The Blade hates letting the voters decide.

You, too, of course. Don't you just hate it when the tyrant says the people can choose?

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