Friday, April 11, 2008

Supervisor Dunning: My, How You've Grown!

We're not the only ones to have noticed the political partisanship of the Democrat and Chronicle becoming not merely more pronounced in recent months, but more strident, on occasion to the brink of hysteria.

The good folks at Monroe Rising ran a piece today by Cincinnatus observing that three whole days have passed without the D&C denouncing Chili Supervisor David Dunning for switching from the Democratic Party to the Republican.

Cincinnatus asks what the D&C would have to say if a Republican switched parties?

Just a guess on my part, but I think their reaction would be totally different from how they view Supervisor Dunning’s switch.

Not only that, Cincinnatus, but we have a fair idea of what that reaction would be.   When Republicans change parties and become Democrats, at left publications like the D&C it's called it "growing in office."

Funny thing, though.   Are we overlooking something, or does it seem that most party switches by local office holders involves Democrats becoming Republicans, rather than the other way around?   For example, Greece Supervisor John Auberger began political life as a Democrat.   Senator Joe Robach made the same move more recently.   County legislators Charles Eber and Chris Wilmot both became Republicans while in office; former County Legislator Ray DiRaddo made the same switch earlier in his career, before being elected to the legislature.   So did current Republican Legislator Jeff McCann, who in his earlier incarnation as a Democrat worked for David Gantt in the State Assembly.   Former County Legislator David Proud switched from Democratic to Independent while in office.

On the other hand, the number of Republican political figures in Monroe County who switched to the Democrats while in office includes .  .  .   Actually, we can't think of any.   OK, District Attorney Mike Green was a Republican until denied his party's nomination for DA.   At that point there was only one other major party available to confer a nomination for District Attorney, and since they didn't have a candidate of their own yet .  .  .   But that was a tactical move of mutual convenience for Green and the Democratic Party, not the evolution in personal convictions that characterized the D-to-R switches we mentioned above.

We don't have any explanations to offer as to why party-switching by elected officials in this town involves one-way traffic only.   If any of our readers do (do you hear that, you two?) we'd like to know what you think.

Whatever other significance Supervisor Dunning's party change may portend, it has triggered yet another extravagant exposition of partisanship on the part of the Democrat and Chronicle.   Here's what the paper said in endorsing Dunning last October:   Dunning, it said,

.  .  .   promises to .  .  .   bring openness back to the process, to involve the town board fully in decision-making. He's bright, accessible and has garnered a lot of political experience as leader in the neighborhood fight against the Chili Commons project.

Dunning is the Democrat and Chronicle's choice to be Chili supervisor.

The rap on Dunning, of course, is that he hasn't held elective office. But he is a well-regarded manager at a local company who is used to handling budgets and personnel.

• • •

What Dunning has shown is an ability to connect with people and a willingness to allow the public a voice in government. He's not anti-development. But he wants to be receptive in every case to neighborhood concerns about business growth and traffic density.

He has the skills and the attitude to be the leader Chili deserves.

Note that the endorsement refers to personal attributes and experience of Dunning the candidate. It doesn't say that being a Democrat is what qualifies Dunning for office.

So now Dunning has a new party label.

And now were supposed to think that suddenly he's no longer "bright" or "accessible?"

That he never really "garnered a lot of political experience as leader in the neighborhood fight against the Chili Commons project?"

That he wasn't really "a well-regarded manager" and isn't really "used to handling budgets and personnel" and the D&C just made that up as a pretext to endorse him?

That he now, suddenly, has lost both his "ability to connect with people" and his "willingness to allow the public a voice in government?"

This from a newspaper, such as it is, that routinely pontificates against partisanship as a basis for making evaluations?

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