Thursday, June 02, 2005

Mayoral Candidate Brad Winter--or the art of talking without saying anything

Is Winter the GOP’s Phil Maloof?

There’s nothing quite as distressing as listening to a candidate who’s dragged into a race trying to convince himself it is the right thing to do. But that’s what I did when I tuned into today’s 4:00pm KAGM (106.3 FM) interview of Brad Winter shortly after City Councilor Winter announced his candidacy for the Albuquerque Mayors race today.

Listening to Brad, who I earlier wrote lacks substance, brought back visions of Phil Maloof -- the former State Senator who ran against Heather Wilson for Congress in 1998. Phil was a nice guy, good looking, personable, but had a difficult time with articulating his position on issues. The same could be said for Brad. All hair, no substance.

You see, Brad is the GOP’s last ditch effort to run a candidate against Mayor Marty Chavez. From accounts on this and other Albuquerque blogs, Winter was coaxed into the race by prominent Republicans. It’s obvious they chose this guy for his profile, not for his views (or lack thereof).

Right off the bat, early on in the interview, Winter was asked why he’s running. Winter said, because “I’m an option” for voters and “I’m viable.”.

An option? Is that all you have to say? What happened to coming out of the gate with a platform, a new vision for the city, an issue?

This is Winter/GOP speak for “I’m not Marty”

Listen, you can’t win a major race on the concept of “I’m not the other guy.”

Most candidates will rattle off a couple of issues they care about or talk about their big plans for the city. Not Brad, he doesn’t seem to have any.

Winter goes on in the interview to discuss the problems with the recently passed City budget that the mayor pushed through council. As many know, the Council allegedly failed to meet a deadline for activity on the budget which automatically made the Mayor’s budget law, in a sense.

Winter then went into detail about how he was disappointed in the process didn’t like the Mayor’s budget, etc. . . . Even after being baited by the talk show’s hosts to complain about the current administrations behavior during the budget, when asked if Marty’s Administration mislead the Councilman, Winter said, “no”

C’mon Brad! Show us some spine, some passion, some actual emotion to show that you really care about this stuff!

Nobody wants a pushover for their Mayor. Complaining that the current mayor doesn’t talk to you enough, doesn’t involve you enough and doesn’t kiss your ring enough, doesn’t fly. Winter seems to forget that he’s President of the Council and needs to show some backbone and stand up for something. Also, is the budget entirely the Mayor’s responsibility? What does it say about a Council President that appeared to be asleep at the wheel when the budget sat on his desk? Mayors are, by their nature, hands-on. They deal with water, sewer projects, paving roads, neighborhood issues. They aren’t US Senators or diplomats. People like their Mayors to be proactive and aggressive.

Not to mention about the last thing that wins you votes is the discussion about something that bores voters like the budget.

Winter complained about funding the Balloon Museum and the Chinese Pandas at the zoo. Winter clearly doesn’t grasp the concept that maybe people want these things and that’s why Marty asked for them to be funded. Think about it, Winter, what’s more interesting to voters: the City Hal intricacies of the budget process or getting a new museum or a couple of cute pandas in town?

Winter and the NM GOP don’t seem to understand that they are running a guy with vague positions and good looks against Mayor Chavez who is going to rattle off every improvement project he’s helped with during eight years as Mayor and talk about some concrete plans for the next four. How do we know that, because he’s already doing it, and Brad isn’t.

Some other great winter vague, non-positions:

“I think we need good water program” You don’t say, Brad. Think you might have one?

“I’m not sure where I stand” on Councilor Mayer’s voter id bill. Isn’t this the Republicans' giant, big-time pet issue and you don’t have a position!!

Finally at the end of the torturous interview, Winter was asked why he was running and why he announced for mayor and given one last chance by the show’s hosts to put out his message.

Winter said he had three reasons:

1. Because I have relationships with people and I can work with people.
2. I’m a Neighborhood Guy.
3. I’m honest

That’s it, I swear.

Pretty light stuff, Brad.

Finally, to demonstrate even more that Winter’s campaign is not what it is cracked up to be, winter’s announcement didn’t even make the KKOB-AM news at 4 or 5pm. Not a good sign.

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