Sunday, October 18, 2009

Enquirer Endorsements

The Cincinnati Enquirer published its endorsements yesterday. Congratulations to Amy Murray, Leslie Ghiz, and Charlie Winburn for receiving that recognition.

The Enquirer chose to endorse our current Mayor for a second term. That decision has drawn a response from the Hamilton County Republican Party. The letter I submitted via e-mail this morning is printed below.

Enquirer Made Wrong Choice in Mayoral Endorsement

The Cincinnati Enquirer did our community a disservice on Sunday with its endorsement in the Mayor’s race. As the GOP leader in this city, I am disappointed in the decision for obvious reasons. But the editorial board's basing its decision on criticism of the Republican candidate for his “gentlemanly” attitude does a disservice to the public and to our community for three reasons. First, it apparently advocates for a negative campaign from Dr. Wenstrup aimed at the Mayor. Second, it will certainly have a chilling effect on any person who wants to enter public service without what the Enquirer deems the requisite amount of “political” experience. Third, it demeans the public service of a Major in the United States Army who received commendations for his courageous and meritorious service.

Time and again, pundits and critics of politics take issue with the negative tone of political campaigns. When Dr. Wenstrup, a man of core decency, intellect, and integrity, decides to manage his campaign in a manner consistent with his professionalism--the Enquirer criticizes him for an “inability or unwillingness to sharply attack.” If politics is to ever change from “sharp attacks” and focus on the key issues, the Enquirer’s criticism of Dr. Wenstrup is nothing short of irresponsible.

Second, many fine people in the private sector look at politics and cringe at what they see. These successful, bright, and committed citizens see a political culture where “sharp attacks” and a failure to truly lead is rewarded. The criticism of Dr. Wenstrup for being “gentlemanly” will discourage any talented person who wishes to enter public life and do it professionally and respectfully.

Third, and bordering on being offensive, is the Enquirer’s assertion that Major Wenstrup may not be prepared for the “bare knuckles politics of City Hall.” On this point, one is left laughing. Dr. Brad Wenstrup won the Bronze Star Medal given to members of the armed services for bravery, acts of merit, and meritorious service in a war zone. He also was awarded the Combat Action Badge for his service in an area where there is hostile fire. Dr. Wenstrup served in an area where mortar fire would occasionally cause him to hit-the-deck and he routinely wore full body armor for protection. Yet, the Enquirer asks, “What could happen to him in the bare knuckles environment of city hall politics?” Is the Enquirer serious? Perhaps Brad will receive a paper cut from a sharply worded memo from a political foe. I think he’s up to the challenge.

What will Brad Wenstrup do when the “bare knuckles” of the childish backbiting begins at City Hall? He will draw on his real-life experience of persevering through much greater challenges to lead and to get the job done.

The current Mayor’s “get out of the way” style of leadership is recognized by many, but praised by none. Nevertheless, the Enquirer sees fit to offer him a second term at a time where our city faces enormous deficits and real challenges, and a vacuum of true leadership. The fact that it chose to do so while criticizing a man of valor, integrity and character for being a “neophyte” and a gentleman is regrettable.

The Enquirer missed a chance to encourage people to enter politics based on skills they bring from the private sector. I am concerned about the long term impact of getting good people into government as a result.

Alex M. Triantafilou
Hamilton County Republican Party