Sunday, May 24, 2015

Way To Stay Classy, Allender.

     Just when it looked like Steve Allender's campaign for mayor of Rapid City (SD) was going to stick to its commitment to run an issues-based campaign, along comes this:  A display ad in
Allender's Pitch
I'm Not Sold On The "Real" Part
(photo from www.blackhillsfox.com)
today's Rapid City Journal, paid for by the Allender4Mayor campaign, references his opponent, incumbent Mayor Sam Kooiker, as "Kookier."  Yes, "Kookier."  A printer's mistake?  I doubt it because Kooiker's name is correctly spelled 4 times in the body of the ad. The stakes are too high to call this a typo.  I think it rates a major OMG.

     Unreal is another way to put it because Allender's "Real Leadership, Real Integrity" theme just got self-contradicted, big time. Mockery like this is utterly inconsistent with the aims of "real leadership" because "real leadership" starts out from a position of respect, not openly expressed contempt in the form of mangling an opponent's name for the purpose of putting him down.  If a Mayor Allender materializes, is he likely to use this kind of immature ridicule as a political weapon against the inevitable roster of enemies and opponents that will build up during his tenure?  Given his past history of making racist and ethnic jokes, I'd say you have to wonder.  According to Allender, he's outgrown his propensity for finding humor in other people's backgrounds, but apparently he hasn't expunged his urge to mock others publicly when it comes to mutating their given names into derogatory variants.

     If this is Allender's "real leadership" style, I'd ask, who needs it?  This reeks of a bullying tendency that will not suit the mayor of Rapid City.  More to the point of the campaign, it only draws
sympathy to Kooiker, whose physical disability, a holdover from a childhood bout with cerebral palsy, already draws admiration because of the way the Mayor has had to overcome the many obstacles it posed over the years.  I've been quite contemptuous of Kooiker here and have never been a fan of his, so I was hoping that during this cycle a strong opponent would come along and take
Kooiker's Pitch
Nice Slogan, No Message
(photo from www.standwithsam.org)
Mayor Kooiker out.  I thought Allender had the makings, but at this point I'm having my doubts. He's been snippy with me here (note the conclusion of his reply to the post) and I note that Journal reporter Seth Tupper writes in today's RCJ that during an interview in Allender's home, 
when Mr. Allender does a mocking interpretation of Kooiker's "I love serving people" mantra, his wife Shirley "hears him launch the attack and calls out a sharp, 'Steve!' in admonishment," By itself the vignette says much about Allender--but considering that the candidate exposes himself to the mainstream media via a major interview the incident calls Allender's judgement into question.
     The coarse put-down of Sam Kooiker with that name-mutating headline in today's campaign ad probably answers that question.  Allender's judgement is not the best, nor is it becoming of a mayoral hopeful.  There's an emerging pattern of Allender's insensitivity and lack of awareness that voters need to consider when they go to the polls on June 2. 
     I invite Mr. Allender to comment on this.  



And here's the ad itself, supplied by a reader via facebook, in this morning's Rapid City Journal:  


17 comments:

  1. Hey, John! Can you snap a photo of that misspelling and post it?

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    1. Don't know how to do that, Cory. Try one of your other correspondents out here. It's sitting on my table right next to my laptop, though, clear as day, the headline is: "Kookier Quotes." In the body of the ad, Kooiker is spelled properly 4 times.

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  2. Sorry, John, but that "Nice slogan, no message" caption is almost as bad as the Allender campaign accidentally (perhaps) misspelling the Mayor's name. It's a yard sign - you expect a "message"? When voters look back at previous posts to this site by both campaigns, they will quickly see which candidate has addressed issues, ideas, and solutions.

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    1. Does Kooiker's campaign have any signs, yard or otherwise, that project a message other than "stand with Sam?"

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  3. Thanks, John! It's very instructive to see the misspelling in context. Could it be that Allender isn't mocking Kooiker but rather striving for a little satire? "Kookier Quotes" refers to three complimentary statements Kooiker made about Allender. Take the words at face value, and Allender is saying Kooiker's praise of Allender his "kooky." Could the real meaning be, "Boy, for all his criticism of me now that I'm running for office, Sam sure thought I was a good leader when I worked for the city"?

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    1. "Kookier" has a long history as a derogatory mutation of the mayor's name, going back to his days on the city council. Its use here strikes me more as mean-spirited than satirical.

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    2. On further reflection, I think "satire" itself is perhaps the most mean-spirited form of humor, generally exposing its target to derision and contempt. I suppose in that context that the ad does indeed have satirical intent, though the accolades accorded to Allender were directed at his performance as an appointed official, not an elected one. There's nothing inconsistent about praising him as a police chief and criticizing him as a potential mayor.

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    3. Good historical context on the language, John, and good analysis of the difference between what Allender claims the quotes mean and what they may really mean. But the quotes themselves focus on "leadership", not "performance as a public official." If Sam Kooiker has said those exact words about me, I'd use them in any campaign—heck, any job interview—to say to people, "I'm a recognized leader." This usage puts Kooiker in a position where, if someone asks and he responds, he has to say something like, "Yeah, I said he was a leader, but what I really meant was...." That opening to a sentence never sounds good. Allender's use of those quotes is fair game and good debate strategy.

      That said, there are numerous headings Allender could have chosen other than an obvious play on Kooiker's name that, as you say, has been used derogatorily in the past. Using "kookier" in the heading leaves Allender stuck acting like the kid who wears a "Big Cock" t-shirt to school and smirks that he's talking about pheasants. "Kookier? My stars, no, I'm not making fun of anyone's name. I'm just using the word kooky."

      But then as Bob points out below, Steve labeling Sam's praise of him as "kooky" is satire too subtle by half, as it invites exactly the scorn Bob offers. The ad would have been more effective with a heading like, "Even Sam Stands with Steve on Leadership...."

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  4. It turns out that the quotes really were "kooky," given Allender's derision of three quotes from Kooiker that were complimentary of Allender. This is one of the weirdest political ads I've ever seen.

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    1. It's right up there with the weird ones I've seen over the years. Gratuitous and mean.

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  5. I really find nothing particularly "kooky" about the Mayor commending his Chief of Police. If he had said "He did that job so well, he could probably do mine," that would be noteworthy.

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    1. Agreed, Curt. Why does Allender regard all those plaudits as "kooky?"

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  6. The Mayor's race has become an insult to Rapid City citizens! Hopefully, each of these candidates will use these last few days of the campaign to share with us their positive accomplishments instead of wasting time putting each other down. In my opinion, this ad reinforces Mr. Allender's critics who accuse him of disrespecting other people. It is time to show "real leadership" skills, not more hatred, racism or discrimination. Robin Page

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  7. John, and others: It is a typo. I proofed the ad on my mobile device and didn't catch it. There was nothing meant by it and I will apologize to the Mayor.

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  8. In the following post from Allender's blog, while he was still a cop, claims that Colorado and Washington "legalized criminal behavior" when they stopped putting people in jail for merely trying to feel better.

    http://chiefsview.com/2012/11/13/the-legalization-of-criminal-behavior/

    One wonders if he would have characterized the abolition of slavery as "criminalizing legal behavior."

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  9. I get it, now. Even Allender realized that Sam was being facetious with all that praise.

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  10. South Dakota begs for real "None of the above" option.

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