Hack or Buffoon?

Reposted from the old TfK.

Part of the reason Harry McDonald lost a his Board of Ed. race against incumbent John Bacon was the 10% of the vote that David Oliphant siphoned off. Suggestions that Oliphant's run was intended to weaken McDonald's showing have swirled since Oliphant entered the race, and the Pitch Weekly asked Oliphant some tough questions. I put the whole exchange below, but let's just pull out a few choice quotes.

First, he demonstrates his innumeracy and total lack of interest in the race by getting a simple inequality wrong, and being unable to either add two numbers or remember the results of his election.

Asked about his lack of fundraising (he spent only $425 he gave himself), and how he could get his name out if he didn't spend more than pocket change (and didn't show up at candidate forums), he replied "Well, that's the way it goes sometimes."

That it didn't have to be seems to have escaped him. Asked about who he would have picked of his two opponents, he utterly fails to see the contradiction in backing John Bacon while thinking that Bacon's science standards are the top educational problem.

Here's the interview:

The Pitch: Are you responsible for John Bacon winning the primary?

Oliphant: No. If you add mine and the other guy's together, it still comes out less.

Q. Really?

A. Yes. I didn't exactly do the exact math. John got 62 percent, if I remember right.

Q. I don't think that's true. [TfK- It isn't. Bacon got 49%, McDonald 40%, and Oliphant 10%]

A. I'm just sort of going off what I remember vaguely from that evening. And the other thing is, it's pretty presumptuous to think that all of my votes would go to either candidate. I mean, that's not even something I'd consider as a possibility.

Q. Your campaign didn't raise any money beyond the $425 you donated yourself. Does that suggest a lack of effort?

A. No. I chose not to accept any money. I didn't want to be beholden to anybody but the voters. [TfK- Like the ones who would have been donating?]

Q. But how were you going to get your name out? Obviously, that effort was insufficient.

A. Well, that's the way it goes sometimes. I definitely didn't want to take any money from the NEA. John's backing was pretty wrapped up and tied. So I just felt that someone needed to run representing parents.

Q. Did anyone ever talk to you about dropping out of the race?

A. Well, I actually had been asked to drop out a few days after I signed up. I said that I'm not a quitter, and I thought the voters ought to have the option of choosing who they wanted.

Q. If you couldn't win, would you have rather seen Bacon or McDonald win?

A. Me, personally? Simply because of the way he ran the campaign, I thought I would have much rather seen John. I thought he ran a much more professional and honest campaign and tried to keep it centered on the issues.

Q. But you stated that the state's top education problem is the board's decision on the science standards.

A. Right.

Q. Yet you would rather see Bacon win as opposed to McDonald?

A. Well, McDonald definitely did not represent parents. McDonald represented professional educators. Never once did he ever really talk about parents having input in their child's education. In fact, his position was that if you weren't a professional educator, you weren't competent to make a decision in your child's educational future. I can't support that outlook at all.

It barely seems worth observing that John Bacon is always "John," while Harry McDonald is always McDonald.

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