Thursday, October 12, 2006

Sheehan on the PRD

Ruth Sheehan has an excellent analysis in today's N&O of the depressing choices facing Durham County voters on November 7. She compares the situation to the former Soviet Bloc states, where the quality of candidates is often so poor that the ballot line of "'none of the above' has become a force unto itself -- coming in second or third in several races." She suggests that perhaps Durham should retitle its name to "People's Republic of Durham." (The city is, after all, looking for a new slogan.)

The column makes three especially compelling points:
  1. Nifong "won a tight primary in a Democratic town just as criticism of his handling of the Duke lacrosse mess was starting to heat up." The implication (which I share): if the election had occurred a few weeks later, enough would have been known of the extent of Nifong's misconduct that Freda Black might have garnered the 888 additional votes she needed to win the primary.
  2. Write-in candidate Steve Monks "would do everyone a favor by quitting his campaign." Since he is "sure to siphon off some of the 'anybody-but' vote, Monks' biggest secret supporter might be Nifong."
  3. "A goodly number of the people who have been critical of Nifong, including [Sheehan--and me], don't live -- or vote -- in the People's Republic of Durham."
Item 3 is perhaps the clearest connection to the "People's Republic" status: the lack of public dissent against Nifong, while characteristic of the fear of criticizing those in power in the former Soviet bloc, is stunning in this context.

This inexplicable silence especially applies to the city's African-American leadership. Does anyone seriously believe that after having engaged in massive procedural fraud in the lacrosse case, a re-elected Nifong will suddenly transform himself into a bastion of civil liberties when his office pursues charges against local African-Americans?


Anonymous said...

Thanks again KC!

It looks like it is easier to agree than to disagree when you post.

Hopefully, that will be the case with all the media, as the tide turns.

Dan Irving said...

"People's Republic of Durham."

That name is already taken by a little town just south of Durham. Of course it's more common to place the name before the descriptor so it should read: "Chapel Hill, The Peoples Republic of"

Otherwise good coverage KC. Drudge has a link to a CBS article on the 60 Minutes segment covering the Duke fiasco.