Wednesday, January 2, 2008

There's no virtue in being a bad politician

Lieutenant Governor candidate Dan Besse has a long record of fighting for clean air. When he was on the Environmental Management Commission he fought for stronger controls against air pollution and last summer he was a leading voice against granting power companies the right to pass all the costs of building new power plants onto consumers through the CWIP (construction work in progress) provision.

Yet in yesterday's Charlotte Observer, it was rival Hampton Dellinger who had a large news article devoted to his opposition to the proposed Cliffside coal-fired power plant on the border of Cleveland and Rutherford counties west of Charlotte.

Dellinger came out strongly against the proposed plant and contrasted his position with senator Walter Dalton, who has been leading by a small margin in the polls and supports the new facility.

On BlueNC a Besse supporter derided Dellinger and criticized the paper as naive for writing the story highlighting Dellinger's opposition after he sent out a press release about it, implying that the story should have focused on Besse's record.

Not getting any sympathy from me.

If there's an issue, like the environment, where you have a record that will appeal to voters in a Democratic primary you should work to get that out into the press instead of just waiting for them to come to you.

Besse didn't do that though, and Dellinger beat him to the punch. Besse was left saying 'me too' just as he was last month when Dellinger sent out a release contrasting his progressive credentials with those of Walter Dalton.

Dellinger and Besse both have progressive stances on the issues, but Dellinger has shown far more savvy in working with the media. Like it or not, that's a key part of winning a campaign. Besse's supporters seem to think Dellinger is opportunistic for getting his views out there on issues where their candidate might have a longer record, but when you're running for office there's no virtue in being a bad politician. Besse has little chance of winning if he continues to let a more aggressive Dellinger outflank him on key issues.

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