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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Troy Mayor Janice Daniels shows how to be vulnerable to a scandal

Crazy Eddie does a great job of bringing together all the kooky scandals of Janice's first two months.

Troy Mayor Janice Daniels shows how to be vulnerable to a scandal

In my previous post about Troy, I discussed the rejection of federal funding for the Transit Center. There was something else in the report from the New York Times I quoted.
The transit fight is not Mayor Daniels’s first brush with controversy. Earlier this month, it was revealed that she posted a message to her Facebook page last June, after New York State approved same-sex marriage, stating, “I think I am going to throw away my I Love New York carrying bag now that queers can get married there.” In an interview, she said she regretted the online comment.
This quote plays right into a narrative that opponents of the Tea Party in general and Janice Daniels in particular already have for Tea Party candidates. In fact, combined with the rejection of the money for the transit center, it satisfies many of Nate Silver's criteria for a good political scandal. Let me walk through Nate's questions and their answers for these two outrages.

1. Can the scandal be reduced to a one-sentence soundbyte (but not easily refuted/denied with a one-sentence soundbyte)?
In the case of both events, the answer is yes. For the Facebook quote, it's "Troy's mayor makes homophobic comment about New York on Facebook." For the transit center decision, it's "Troy makes man-bites-dog choice by turning down federal money." Neither of them can be refuted in a sentence. Both happened. For the Facebook status update, the response was that Mayor Daniels was sorry she used the word "queer" and deleted the status. Yeah, but that's a non-apology apology, as she didn't disown the homophobic anti-marriage-equality sentiment of the entire comment. Also, she was still running for mayor at the time and should have known better. As for refusing the federal money, she's turned that into a statement of principle. In programming terms, she considers it a feature, not a bug. That's not a refutation at all.
2. Does the scandal cut against a core element of the candidate's brand?
Yes to both. Turning down the federal money undercuts the case that the Tea Party's ideas about fiscal responsibility will be good for business and local economies. As one could read in the New York Times article, they're not. In the case of the Facebook status, it undercuts the idea that the Tea Party is primarily about fiscal issues, not social ones. Both of them also reinforce the next point.

Read more here.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad to support your efforts and thanks for linking to my post.