Tin Shop Tartan - Randolph County Alabama's Own Snarky and Surly Scot Gets All Native

Blogging from the suburbs of the Tin Shop community, Captain Plaid brings Progressivism, and a share of Quixotic angst, to the ridges and hollows of Randolph County, Alabama. Hardly a booster yet rooted here enough to fight, Plaidsters can perhaps find like cause in trying to build local solutions to global concerns. Education, environment, economy, entertainment, engagement ... Trust the Tartan!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Grandma, Tell us about whipping the Dino!

I missed Jerry Rutledge's "Back to 'grandma' for now : Benefield deals with real life after winning nasty primary election" in Thursday's Columbus Ledger-Enquirer so I'll post now. I'm still smiling about our Kim sending Gerald "Dino" Dial back home! To think about her playing grandma and tooling about her yard when Dino is likely licking his wounds is a good image to carry me through these hot and humid days.

In a related matter, The Randolph Leader is right in expressing hope for less negative campaigning yet as the editorial correctly offers, the reality is that it usually works. As I've told people that expressed concerns about the tone of the advertising for the primary race for the 13th, Kim got in this race a little late and was going up against a well-entrenched and incredibly well-funded two decade plus incumbent. The 13th is an especially spread out district. My conversations with some armchair consultants, and that's all I have access to, for better or worse, seemed to have some agreement that delivering a hard shot in the ribs to Dino first thing was the right call. As The Leader points out the Bu$hCo machine demonstrated the ability to define your opponent before they can really do the same is hardball politics that works rather well. Thinking that at times the end does justify the means I'm figuring this was worth it.

Additionally, while Joseph Goebbels' Nazis, as does most facist movements, did employ attack politics and the like, my understanding of American history is that negative techniques have long been used before this "Minister of Proganda" arrived on the stage. Goebbels' "big lie" approach is I'd argue more about mass message propaganda that an actual political operation such as a Alabama Senate District with garden variety old school American/Southern mudslinging. Some comparisons maybe yet I'd certainly want to scratch a little deeper than Wikepedia for our authority. It is not a terrible resource yet not great either.

Most of all, I'd also save the assignment of guilt or shame for something much more certain than what we witnessed in this campaign. Comparing Kim's conduct, or even The Dino's, to that of Goebbels struck me as rather extreme. While I'm pleased to see somebody local considering facism (My favorite blogger and author on the rise of facism is David Neiwert posting at Ornicus) one thing I think I've learned about challenging facism is to be very careful with words and certainly blame. While I often think Bu$hCo has refined the "big lie" to its modern incarnation, I'm even hesitant to use Goebbels or Nazi analogies (beyond an occasional snarky reference to the Reich Wing) against this cabal. If Godwin's Law (See, Wikipedia can be used for the basics.) suggests discourse generally ends when a Nazi analogy is served up then I'd surely hate to try to start a discussion with this especially strained and certainly serious comparison.

I'd also ask if in fact anything Kim offered up on Dino was actually or even partially incorrect? My understanding of her claims were that they were accurate or at worst based on genuinely defensible positions, the same not always coming back from the Clay Combover. Dial had a record and connections to attack and if Kim had not exploited those opportunities she'd have been silly. We can even accept that special interests and consultants were likely involved on both sides of this fracas yet still I'd think most folks would prefer having Kim, rather than Dino, down in Montgomery.

If Kim Benefield makes it to Goat Hill I'm certainly going to lobby her over issues that I think matter to the branch heads. I am confident that Kim will listen more readily to regular folks than most of the Montgomery crowd. If she takes this office I'm optimistic that she can be a part of the start of reforming the mess that allows Big Mules to control so much in Alabama. After a term she'll have a record to run on if she chooses another term and she'll not need to fight her way into the Good Old Boys Club.

I for one feel mighty damn good about the winner of this primary and hope to help her carry the general this fall. Grandma can then help all the grandkids of this state! Peace ... or War!