Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Jim Suttle: Paradigm for Democrat Leadership for Nebraska

Even before taking the oath office Omaha Mayor-elect Jim Suttle has confirmed our worst fears. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, he's incompetent. Thanks to a quality, albeit belated, piece of investigative reporting by the Omaha World-Herald, we now know that the individual Suttle tapped as his co-chief-of-staff was accused of having sex with a 14 year-old boy who later committed suicide. Thankfully the aide has apparently stepped aside, but some lingering issues about the forthcoming debacle to be known as the Suttle Administration remain:
  • Suttle acknowledged to the World-Herald that he had heard "embarrassing rumors" about the aide, whom he first employed during his 2005 bid for the City Council. So far, Suttle has refused to say what the "embarrassing rumors" were. What did Suttle know, and when did he know it?
  • Suttle initially told the World-Herald that he did not run background checks on the aide or anyone he has hired, saying such checks were a "suspicious, punitive system, and that's not something I build on." How can someone run a city as large as Omaha without a basic business background and understanding that pre-employment background checks are standard into today's modern workforce and sometimes legally required?
  • What does it say of a person's leadership and organizational skills if he believes it is efficient to name not one, but two, chiefs-of-staff? While sports analogies likely escape Suttle, one should ask how many football teams have succeeded on the two quarterback system.
  • What does all of this say about Sen. Ben Nelson? Recall that Nelson endorsed Suttle, in part, because of his "wisdom." Wisdom?
  • Is the person most damaged by all of this Democrat State Sen. Tom White? Nebraska Democrats are coming up empty in their attempts to find any credible Democrat to challenge Governor Heineman, Attorney General Bruning, or the rest of the Republican constitutional officers. Liberal activists are pushing hard to focus all of their attention on just one major race rather than spreading their scarce resources, and by some accounts they are hoping for White to challenge Congressman Lee Terry. But 2010 is a mid-term election, and the party in power in Washington historically does very poorly in mid-term elections. Plus, Congressman Terry continues to demonstrate his ability to work with Republicans and Democrats in Washington. Thus, White, a liberal trial lawyer described by many as the most "divisive" member of the current Legislature, is a significant underdog before he's in the gate, let alone out of it. With Suttle occupying the mayor's office, White will have to explain to voters why Democrat "leadership" as modeled by his fellow Democrat Jim Suttle is what's needed in Washington.

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