Don’t conservatives and tea partiers just love to run around in concentric circles shouting “less government” until the very second when more government serves their stilted self-interest or promotes their exclusionary purpose?
Though there are a plethora of possible examples, in this particular instance we’re talking about an Elgin City Council nominating petition challenge in which, ironically, one conservative is doing her damndest to knock another conservative off the ballot on the merest of technicalities.
Now, my long-time readers know just how much I abhor petition challenges because most of them are so bleepin’ silly. They’re typically based upon egregious errors like a missing staple, an errant political term, a missing page number, or a small clerical problem and they serve no purpose other than to rig the electoral process and force a challenger to focus on everything but campaigning.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s certainly something to be said for dispensing with candidates who can’t get the paperwork right. When a young man recently ran against St. Charles Republican Precinct Committeeman Nabi Fakroddin, not a single one of his signatures came from within the precinct, so it was truly time for him to go.
But blatantly bad blunders like that one are rare. Meanwhile, I’ve sat through a couple of petition challenges where the difference between the terms “county board member” and “county commissioner” was the main bone of contention.
But let’s get back to this specific challenge which was filed by Elgin OCTAVE member and failed city council candidate Roy Chapman on behalf of former OCTAVE board member and current city council hopeful, Julie Schmidt. Chapman’s objection claims Kyle Scifert’s petition cited April 7 as the possible primary date when it should’ve been February 24.
Be still my beating heart! This can only mean that Kyle cuts those tags off mattresses and provides accounts of Cubs broadcasts without the express written consent of Major League Baseball. The cad!
Not only that, but this mistake is immaterial because Elgin ain’t even gonna have a primary. Of course, the really sad thing is, had Kyle simply run his paperwork by anyone with half a political brain (like me for example) they would’ve caught that error.
Better yet, had he engaged the educated eyes of fine folks at the Ancel Glink law firm, whatever small monetary amount he’d have been out is nothing compared to the time and effort he will now expend defending a petition challenge. But I digress.
“I just feel that if you’re running for city council, you should be able to fill out the paperwork correctly,” Chapman said. Translated, what that really means is, “Scifert may be a fiscal conservative, but he’s not our fiscal conservative so we’re going to knock him off the ballot to give our candidate a leg up.”
By the way, OCTAVE actually stands for Operant Conditioning to Achieve Voter Expectations which apparently includes giving voters as few choices as possible. And whoever came up with that strange Skinner-esque acronym really oughtta hang onto their day job.
Yes! Just like Sheldon Cooper, the OCTAVE folks want you to engage in the political process unless you’re not doing it right.
But the worst part of this petition challenge sham is Schmidt’s complicity. It may be true that she’s a conservative ideologue who doesn’t stand a chance in hell of winning, but the best thing about ideologues (if there is a best thing about them) is that they tend to embrace a rather unyielding and unevaluated consistency.
They don’t disappoint you because you know exactly what to expect from them and it ‘s usually something that’s disappointing.
So for someone who just told reporters that, “Local government needs to be downsized. Its focus should be limited to public safety and health emergencies, public works, business development and parks and recreation,” it’s kinda disappointing to watch her team bring the full weight of that very government down upon an opponent who made a very minor error.
The least she could do is amend her statement to include that government should also throw folks off the ballot. And by the way, had she been on the receiving end of a similar challenge she’d be screaming holy hell and invoking all sorts of sacred conservative stipulations.
But this is exactly how it is with conservatives – even the local ones. They’re completely enamored of their constitutional rights until it means that two guys can get married. They love their freedom of speech until someone says something they don’t like. They chastised liberals for “disrespecting” George W. Bush only to turn around and level the kind of vitriol against the current president that makes moderates cringe. They don’t want to be tread upon, but they can’t help peering through bedroom windows. They want the government to keep their filthy hands off of their Medicare and finally, they don’t want less government, they want a lot more of their government.
In the end, Mr. Scifert will likely survive this challenge, but I’m hoping that Elgin voters won’t forget this particular brand of conservative hypocrisy when they go to the polls on April 7th.