Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Turn out the lights, Warner. The party's over

IT DIDN'T TAKE long after the polls closed Tuesday night to learn that Warner Mendenhall's drive-by drill team had been drubbed by the voters. Word spread quickly around the packed rally crowd at Musica downtown that Mayor Plusquellic had not only survived the farcical recall election but also did so with such overwhelming 3-to-1 authority that perhaps only Mendenhall and the night gab-guy on WNIR would sulkingly still consider it close enough for a recount.

Actually, still on his white horse after the final vote was in, Mendenhall emerged at his base, the Country something-or-other restaurant, to declare a moral victory by sending an important message to City Hall that would "change the future of the city" As he had during the entire ludicrous campaign against the mayor, he was still talking in riddles. What message might he be referring to? Was this the beleaguered football coach trying to incite his team to play harder after a 45-0 halftime deficit?

On the other hand, I didn't find a single Plusquellic supporter who had anticipated the wide margin of victory. When Dave Lieberth, the mayor's right-hand man and factotum at City Hall, was asked if were surprised, he could only nod that he was, while adding that he believed the mayor would survive, but added cautiously: "One never knows." County Executive Russ Pry and City Council President Marco Sommerville, also appeared to be sorting out the impressive showing by the mayor. Pry said the Mendenhall campaign was a "speed bump" when government should be concentrating on the more serious business at hand. "When you go through a campaign like this, it takes a lot of energy and time," Pry said. Sommerville handed the challenge back to Mendenhall, asserting: "The people have spoken. He (Mendenhall) says he listens to the people. We'll see...."

But it was the mayor himself who wrote the campaign's epilogue, reviving his plain-spoken cut-to-the-bone ways as he addressed the throng. He slashed at the "false statements" from the other side while conceding that he could be wrong on some issues but would never retreat from his commitment as a determined leader "to continue to be strong and continue to fight for the citizens of Akron."

Several people mentioned that one of the problems with the Mendenhall assault is that a mayoral recall election was the first in the city's history and nobody had any experience in addressing it. In some ways it was a a grimy underground protest campaign, word of mouth, full of sound and fury in certain precincts, , and as the Bard of Avon once wrote, "signifying nothing." Mendenhall cost the city's taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars, some of it in time spent by city workers to research records sought by his forces. And what did he prove by all of this? Only that there was nothing to be proved.

Get over it, Warner. You lost, doubtless in a way that startled even you. Now try hard to become a good citizen like the kind that you want everybody else to be.

P.S. If you accomplished anything . Warner, with yesterday's numbers, you doubtless have made the mayor a much stronger candidate for his next election campaign. Sometimes you have to be careful about what you wish for, you may get it in ways that you never anticipated.


Mencken said...

As HLM once said, “The lunatic fringe wags the underdog".

fargo said...

It's never over for Mendenhall. Now we find out this whole thing was nothing more than getting Kelly Mendenhall some name recognition for her own Council At Large race...I am feeling very motivated to work against her.

Mencken said...

If name recognition was Kelly Mendenhall's goal, it would have been more cost effective and less damaging to her reputation to just have an affair with a noted Republican politician.