Tag Archives: campaign rhetoric

The Emperor’s Nonexistent Clothes

I’ve been trying to avoid the dueling ads and other ephemera that inevitably accompany a mayoral campaign, so I didn’t attend the first debate between Mayor Ballard and Melina Kennedy. But now, three people (2 Democrats and 1 Republican) have reported to me that–in the process of defending his record–Ballard several times insisted that he was “the first Mayor” to do something: the examples reported to me were addressing issues in the police department and promoting the City nationally and internationally.

Excuse me? Can we spell hubris? Or perhaps cluelessness?

I served in the Hudnut Administration, so I had a front-row seat for Hudnut’s efforts to address issues in the police department. And those issues were considerably more fraught than today’s.

The assertion that Ballard’s junkets to international destinations were necessary because before that, few people had heard of Indianapolis, is not only delusional, it’s just plain offensive. (Hell, if nothing else, the Speedway put Indy on the map when Ballard was in diapers.) During the Hudnut Administration, we used to collect newspaper stories from around the country and world praising Indianapolis as a city on the move. Both Goldsmith and Peterson generated extensive media recognition for the city–far more than we have seen during the Ballard Administration.

Ballard isn’t even the first Mayor to sell off city assets and reward political supporters with government contracts. Goldsmith did that.

Mayor, if you want to defend your own record, fine. We’ll each decide whether we think it’s defensible. But if you really believe that you are the first mayor to do what mayors are supposed to do, if you are willing to ‘diss’ your predecessors in order to build yourself up, you don’t deserve a second term.

Those clothes you think you are wearing are invisible to the rest of us.