Tuesday, April 1, 2008

More Jeers than Cheers for Woody

Two days ago, I praised Woody Myers' ad campaign for multiple references to his highly-trusted vocation - physician. They're back at it!

If you go to Dr. Myers' website, or look closely at his yard signs now populating the city, you will notice a stethoscope in the logo. That's as "un-subtle" as it gets, and it's smart marketing in theory. Unfortunately, in an effort to "cutesy up" the dot next to the word "Dr," somebody made the stethoscope "tube" in the logo "penetrate" the hole in the "e" in "Myers." Study that for a second.


The men reading this know the LAST thing any man over thirty-five wants to be reminded of is a certain medical procedure that requires something to be inserted somewhere he's not accustomed to ingressing traffic. (But, hey, the blog title is "painfully" objective, so I'll force myself to probe further on the Myers' candidacy).

I have a confession. I bought all the "conventional wisdom" on Dr. Myers, which among democratic precinct committeepersons tended to be, "Woody who?" The short version is that Dr. Myers was a rising star, disappeared to make money in California, and rolled back around thinking he could buy this because he'd given so many dollars to to so many Democrats. His list of political friends is, indeed, long. http://query.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/qind/.

I decided to make my mind go to a "blank slate" and review what Dr. Myers was all about. So I went to his website.

The "issues" section of Woody Myers website has four issues: our economy, our healthcare, our schools, and ending the war in Iraq.

I click on "Our Economy."

This is what it says, in FULL. I am NOT making this up.

"As a major Midwestern commercial hub, Indianapolis gets hit hard when our economy struggles. We need a representative in Washington who has the experience to make things happen."

Okay, I say to myself, he's "Dr." Myers, not "PhD from the Kelley School" Myers. I'm sure the economy section is light because he's had to reserve all the space available on his website to record the sum total of his decades of expertise in health care and administration and distill it into some manageable "diagnosis" for what "ills" our healthcare system while providing some "Hoosier homegrown remedies." THIS, I tell myself, will be his opus.


"Mend our health care system - As one of our nation's top experts on the health care industry, Dr. Myers would allow Indiana families to play a central role in the debate on how to fix health care and reduce prescription drug costs."

THAT'S IT?!?!?! Are you freaking kidding me?!? The guy is a DOCTOR, and that's as in-depth as it gets? I understand that most candidates (mistakenly) believe nobody reads websites, so maybe it's not the main focus of the campaign. But I'm not expecting regression-model analysis like a Brookings Institute study. I would just like SOMETHING. When I look at the website, I can't shake the belief that Dr. Myers has given very little thought to how he would govern, and great thought on how he will run.

In fairness to Dr. Myers, I went to Andre Carson's website. It's somewhat better, but with more typos. Don't these folks have staff? We apparently need "tax releif" for working families. Also, Andre switches to either a caveman dialect or a non-parallel sentence when he says: "Finally, I bring leadership on the issue, build on what's already working at the state level, and make sure everyone has health care."

Are all websites this bad?

I bounce to Carolene Mays' website. http://www.carolenemaysforcongress.com/
Her statement on healthcare is this:

"Simply put, the healthcare system in the United States is broken leaving forty-seven million uninsured. Many Hoosiers are struggling to pay for basic services as healthcare has become unaffordable and inaccessible to many. In addition, the inability to pay medical bills continues to be the leading cause of personal bankruptcies and the rising costs of medications leave many skipping medication doses just to get by. Health directly impacts quality of life- whether it is through Medicaid, Medicare, CHIP, private insurance, or private payer, every citizen deserves care. In a nation as rich and technologically advanced as the Unites States, it is one of Carolene's top priorities to ensure that every American has access to quality health care."

It concerns me that a newspaper publisher lets such free use of punctuation pass on her own website. If you can't find the mistakes, take remedial English, folks. No wonder our kids don't do well in school. Even our professionals do not get it correctly. Okay, here's ONE clue: ,
Repeat as needed.

Finally, I go to David O's website, http://www.orentlicherforcongress.com/

The website has three rotating photos, one of which features an irked-looking toddler who affirms what some of David O's law school students have told me: "If I hadn't paid to be here (or gotten a sucker), I'd be out the door." This is the tragedy for candidates of "substance." People never elect wonky types unless they can ALSO "move" crowds. A plan of action without the ability to mobilize is meaningless because it will never get enacted. Without the "energy," all that's left is a steaming pile of substance.

And David O. has that, hands down. Read David O's website, and tell me it isn't more "substantive" than the other three combined. I'm sorry, but you just can't and keep a straight face. It might also be more wrong for the 7th District than all three combined BECAUSE it's more substantive. But nobody can say David O. didn't care enough to actually study some core issues while providing insight into his thought process and a road map of his goals.

Contrast that with Woody's statement that "We need a representative in Washington who has the experience to make things happen." Like what? He doesn't say! Vote for Woody, and there'll be bottled water for everybody living along Fall Creek, chuckholes filled with gold in your neighborhood, and a personal butler to mow your lawn once a week!

I promise on all things I hold dear that I wanted to keep an open mind so that I could compliment the campaign Dr. Myers ran, even if I did not vote for him. This is only because of a courtesy that was made by the Myers campaign to communicate with me directly. But I see nothing yet to suggest Woody Myers is even as ready as the man he accuses of being unready.

Actually, that's not true. When I did a search for "Carolene Mays," the sponsored link that popped up on the right side of my screen was for "Woody Myers for Congress. Nice! Put yourself where people who want to know more about the candidates you're running against are, and you've got a great chance they'll go to YOUR website as well, which is a great thing...

Unless your website only says you "can make things happen."

Anything less from the good doctor than an intensified campaign regiment from now until election day will likely result in the side effect of (ED) -- electoral defeat.



Anonymous said...

Well Holy Cow! How many grammatical errors were in your summary statement?

"Anything less from the good doctor than a intensified campaign regiment from now until election day will likely result in the side effect of (ED) - electoral defeat."

I count more than one.

Chris Worden said...

You share and I will! This way we'll all be better writers, and we can pass that on to our kids! How about it?

If you mean "a" intensified instead "an" intensified, and the fact I only have one dash instead of a LONG one (can't figure out how to do that), then I've already got that. It's anything else that has me perplexed.

I know I make mistakes. I'm one guy who does this as a hobby. I'm not running for Congress. BUT even saying that, if you think I mind your critique, I don't. I heartily welcome it. We need to do this for each other.

By the way, you need a comma after "Well," and there's no capitalization in "Holy Cow."

Anonymous said...

very solid job and nice analysis of the depth (or lack of it) of candidate web sites and their positions. Was a little surprised at how poorly written Mays policy pronouncements were, and I found the utter lack of depth and simplicity of Woody Myers positions just astounding. Carson's positions' were about what I expected. He is truly a joke.

Anonymous said...

No, I was talking about your "campaign regiment." I'm sure you meant regimen. Regiment means a military unit of ground troops consisting of at least two battalions, usually commanded by a colonel. Regimen means a systematic procedure (often implies medical or health regimen or governmental regimen). Yes, a comma would be appropriate after "Well, Holy Cow!" However, it is entirely correct to capitalize the "H" and the "C".

With regard to the dash, em dash and en dash, below is how you use them and also how you can make the em dash (elongated dash) on your computer. If it's boring to read, that's OK, but I found it interesting.

Distinguishing among the Three

The hyphen is the shortest of the three and is used most commonly to combine words (compounds such as "well-being" and "advanced-level," for example) and to separate numbers that are not inclusive (phone numbers and Social Security numbers, for example). On typewriter and computer keyboards, the hyphen appears on the bottom half of the key located on the top row between the "0" and the equals mark (=).

In many instances, correct hyphenation can be a complicated issue. We have addressed it partly in an earlier tip (go to the tip archive on this Web site and find the tip on hyphenated adjectives), and we will discuss it in greater detail in a future tip. Today, however, our focus is on the two kinds of dashes.

Remember, though, that when using the hyphen, the en dash, or the em dash, you should put no space either before or after them. The only exception is with a hanging hyphen (see, for example, the word "nineteenth" in the phrase "nineteenth- and twentieth-century literature"). By definition, a hanging hyphen will have a space after it but not before it.

The em dash is the mark of punctuation most of us think of when we hear the term "dash" in regard to a sentence. It is significantly longer than the hyphen. We use the em dash to create a strong break in the structure of a sentence. Dashes can be used in pairs like parentheses—that is, to enclose a word, or a phrase, or a clause—or they can be used alone to detach one end of a sentence from the main body. Dashes are particularly useful in a sentence that is long and complex or in one that has a number of commas within it.

When we confuse the em dash with the hyphen, we make a sentence virtually impossible to read. Notice the sentence containing dashes in the preceding paragraph. If we had used a hyphen in place of each dash, it would seem as though we had hyphenated two pairs of words in the sentence: "parentheses-that" and "clause-or," neither pair of which makes any sense.

The en dash is slightly longer than the hyphen but not as long as the em dash. (It is, in fact, the width of a typesetter's letter "N," whereas the em dash is the width of the letter "M"—thus their names.) The en dash means, quite simply, "through." We use it most commonly to indicate inclusive dates and numbers: July 9–August 17; pp. 37–59.

Many people were not even aware of the distinction between the en dash and the em dash until the advent of word processors, when software programs enabled us to use marks of punctuation that once had been available only to professional printers.

Typing the En Dash and Em Dash

Our typewriter and computer keyboards lack individual keys that display either of the dashes. (The symbol above the hyphen is an underline, not a dash.) Before word processing, we had to type an em dash by typing two hyphens. Now, many word processing software programs will automatically turn those two hyphens into an em dash (if we correctly leave NO space before or after them).

We can also choose en and em dashes from a menu of symbols that do not appear on the keyboard. In Microsoft Word, for example, we can pull down the "Insert" window, click on "Symbol," and go to the "normal text" window. The en and em dashes appear on the bottom row.

In any software program that handles text, the em dash can be typed on an enhanced keyboard as Alt + 0151—that is, hold down the "alternate" key and type, using the numerical pad on the right side of the keyboard, the numbers 0151. The en dash can be typed as Alt + 0150.

Crossed said...

The thing I notice most about Woody and Carolene's signs are that they are all illegally placed in the public right of way. I have not seen one of their signs in an actual supporters front yard. How are they electable if they can not follow the law? I know, they were not the first to do it. Julia and Andre and Jon all have done it as well.