Thursday, November 12, 2009

Tew for One! Kennedy Picks Up Kip, iPOPA Quotes "The Wire"

Here's a message for my fellow Marion County Democrats.

Kip Tew, President Obama's state campaign chair, has shelved his mayoral ambitions and endorsed Democrat Melina Kennedy for Mayor. Kip states that Melina's work ethic and ability on the campaign trail convinced him she's the best candidate for the Democratic Party.

Embracing the Kennedy talking points, Kip notes, “Melina is an experienced job-creator, she is passionate about all of our families’ futures, and her vision of an Indianapolis that reaches higher is something--as a father--I believe in.”

While iPopa is a fan of Kip's mavericky ways, objectively, I knew his vocation ("lawyer-lobbyist") wouldn't bode any better for his candidacy than the media's labeling of Brian Williams as a "venture capitalist." (Yow! Way to morph a thoughtful idea man into a cigar-chomping, Republican archetype!)

By stepping out now, Kip furthers the coalescence that has been building around Melina among Democratic Party regulars since Joe Hogsett stepped out.

Part of being painfully objective means you give both sides of a story, even when it pains you. So here it is.

It will be difficult to convince me the Kennedy campaign operation isn't getting smarter. Her press release bio footer no longer starts with her employment at a (gasp!) big, Indianapolis law firm. Instead, it centers on Melina's job growth efforts, both as deputy mayor and as co-owner of what, for my money, is the best athletic shoe store in Indy. The bio footer also highlights Melina's notable civic engagement. While this footer should have been done from the outset, I'm fond of the saying, "Don't complain they showed up late to the party; celebrate the fact they got here."

On the downside, while Melina has an endorsement from the Laborers, I'm hearing that she's got some selling to do in the labor community (which wasn't all that eager to cough up for her prosecutor's race until an eight-hundred-pound gorilla-mayor sat on some folks). Also, I've talked to too many people who, while acting certain Melina is going to be our consensus candidate, do so with an air of startling ambivalence. It reminds me of a guy whose crotch is sideswiped by a football toss - he knows the pain is coming, and so he just accepts its inevitability.

I'm sorry, but I'm just seeing too much muted enthusiasm for my tastes, but what galls me is that nobody will express reservations publicly (or for attribution).

I'm praying I'm reading this all wrong because Melina is amazingly talented and prepared. She's legit, not faux mayor dressing. But soon it won't matter because the window will close on everybody who thought about saying the Empress has No Clothes but didn't.

To paraphrase Slim Charles from the greatest show of all time, The Wire:

"Fact is, we went to war, and now there ain't no going back. Once you in it, you in it. If it's a lie, then we fight on that lie. But we gotta fight."
If you think our best hope to reclaim the 25th floor is Brian Williams, Jose Evans, or Melina, get off the fence and speak your piece urgently because when this moment passes, whoever emerges (smart money says Melina) will need your full-throated support and donations.

And anybody who thinks Mayor Ballard will not be formidable is delusional. Look at his bank account. Too many people that spit on him four years ago have a vested interest in him now.

We can win the Mayor's office, but only if all the good soliders are ready for battle. If Melina is our General, are you?


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