Opinion: Norwood for mayor

From left, City Council President Ceasar Mitchell, mayoral candidate Mary Norwood, former Mayor Shirley Franklin and former mayoral candidate Peter Aman attend a press conference announcing endorsements of Norwood’s candidacy. (AJC)

Our nation’s increasingly tribal approach to politics has inflicted a very high cost, not least of which is the presence of a clearly unqualified, racist and perhaps deluded man in the White House. But some of the worst damage has come in ways that we haven’t yet noticed.

Take, for example, the impact on state and local politics. Party affiliation has always mattered at that level, particularly here in the South during decades of Democratic and then Republican control. But what we see today is something different in both scale and intensity. In our current environment, politics at every level has become so subsumed by the conflict in Washington that party identification is literally the only thing that matters.

As a result, voters have become increasingly unwilling to cross party lines, even for an office in which ideology or party play no role. They act as if a vote for a highly qualified Republican or Democratic candidate for dogcatcher, say, might be viewed as an endorsement of that party’s approach to politics at the national level, or even worse, that it’s somehow an act of tribal betrayal to vote person over party.

So local or state campaigns that ought to be about a candidate’s competence, experience, vision and honesty instead become mere echoes of the national argument. Local issues aren’t debated or explored because they aren’t deemed to matter. Good candidates from both parties get ignored, while bad ones get elected solely on the basis of party.

As a rule of thumb, in fact, those candidates who are weaker in terms of competence or honesty tend to lean most heavily on party identification. Case in point: The U.S. Senate race in Alabama, where Roy Moore refuses to debate issues, ducks policy questions and interviews and is relying solely on his Republican label to get elected.

Unfortunately, we’re also seeing a version of that play out here in the race for Atlanta mayor between Keisha Lance Bottoms and Mary Norwood. By her resume, knowledge of issues, demonstrated commitment to public service and integrity, Norwood is easily the better candidate. Bottoms has had an undistinguished career on the Atlanta City Council, and has survived into the two-person runoff almost solely due to the heavy-handed and intimidating sponsorship of outgoing Mayor Kasim Reed. You get the strong sense that it’s not just legacy that’s driving Reed, but hopes of maintaining control and influence after he has officially left office. That’s dangerous.

If you’re interested in the better person for the job, look at the record of those two candidates, and look at who knows them best. There’s a reason that most of those who competed against Bottoms and Norwood in the first round of the mayoral race — Ceasar Mitchell, John Eaves, Peter Aman, Cathy Woolard — have come out in support of Norwood, and that former Mayor Shirley Franklin has joined them.

Not surprisingly, then, the main thrust of Bottoms’ campaign has been to try to call upon partisan loyalties even in this nonpartisan race, to paint Norwood as a closet Republican in a heavily Democratic city, with a clear subtext in some quarters that “Republican” is a code word for white.

By law and by logic, none of that should matter. My guess is that Norwood may be more centrist than the city that she seeks to lead, but at the local level, the level where roads are paved and cops are hired and water is treated and goods and services are procured — where competence and integrity matter most — she can be the leader that Atlanta needs.

Reader Comments 0

465 comments
Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

I'll admit to knowing very little beyond the superficial campaign soundbites, commercials, and what-I've-heard on these two candidates. What Jay says about them seems sensible enough.

And he makes some good points about how partisanship does sometimes paint people into corners. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out.


/Capt. Obvious

Robert1959
Robert1959

Black/Hispanic/Asian/Native American/LGBTQ/Christians/Muslims & Jewish  Americans should say "Thank You" Donald "birther" Trump, 1st white nationalist/alt-right POTUS for taking off the sheets and hoods and revealing the hatred, fear and bigotry that still exist in the 21st century 2017. Nobody could have imagined the surge of hatred, fear and bigotry unleashed against President Barack Obama,1st Black American President of the United States of America 2008-2016. White Americans are having there own little "civil war" when 68% of white males (7 out of 10) and 55% of white women (5 out of 10) over 65 million white Americans voted for white supremacy and Trump in 2016. How pathetic and deplorable.
The good news is the majority of the American People (70%) reject Donald "birther" Trump, 1st white nationalist/white supremacist POTUS. Only (30%) approve of Trump.

https://www.mediaite.com/online/twitter-mocks-tiki...

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

@Robert1959


 "Donald "birther" Trump, 1st white nationalist/alt-right POTUS"


Every time I read it I laugh so hard.  LOL

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

@Infraredguy @StraightNoChaser @Robert1959 I said both of you are, there fixed it for you.  It does not matter what the topic is, you throw in a dumb a$$, not funny at all, black racist joke that stereotypes black people.  You just can't help yourself, it's what you are. 

Robert1959
Robert1959

@Infraredguy @Robert1959 If congress passes this "tax reform" bill giving the rich 1% a "tax cut"  white Americans the "face of the poor" will demand "emancipation" for white Americans.  How about 40 acres and a mule.....

WDE
WDE

@Robert1959 what were the percentages of Blacks that voted for Obama ? Where they all motivated by racism ?  

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

@WDE @Robert1959 How many years have blacks been giving their vote to all white candidates?  Were we racist then or just racist because we voted for Obama?  It's not a new concept that black people vote for black and white candidates.  Can you say the same?    BTW, I won't be voting for Bottoms and I am a black person, am I still racist?  GTF outa here clown.

Robert1959
Robert1959

@WDE @Robert1959 President Barack Obama made "American History" by becoming the 1st Black American President of the United States of America 2008-2016.  American Historians have recorded that President Obama won93 percent of Black Americans, 71 percent of Hispanic Americans, and 73 percent of Asian Americans voted for the Democrat in the 2012 presidential race.

Robert1959
Robert1959

@StraightNoChaser @WDE @Robert1959 (Today) Democrats still promise "unlimited federal assistance" and Republicans promise "free markets, low taxes, and less regulations that we believe will create more jobs."
Rand Paul's explanation may be couched more elaborately, and more respectfully, but at its foundation it is merely a reiteration of Mitt Romney's infamous "47 percent" argument: Black Americans, Hispanic Americans and other minorities vote Democratic because their loyalty has been purchased with taxpayer money. In its most blunt expression, that becomes the "plantation argument," with black voters being kept fat and sassy on the Democratic plantation because they dare not try to fend for themselves.

Because we are all suckers for stories that let us blame our troubles on somebody else, that argument has a natural appeal to Republicans. It allows them to believe that they are absolutely blameless for the abandonment of their party by black voters.

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

Trump re tweeted a white supremacist video from the U.K. Stop lying and saying most people agree with disgusting white supremacist group, tell the truth and say you agree with the video IFG.

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

It's climb not "clime". You just proved my point, trees, black folk and monkeys. Your usual go to. How long before Jay catches you? Tick, tock, tick, tock....

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

@Infraredguy @StraightNoChaser Liar again, you are always posting about trees, then sometimes you throw monkey in there.  Everyone know that I am black and that your post are racist.  You are always posting something that stereotypes a black person. Don't try to hide from it now.  I am not scared of you and I don't give two sheits about you.  Can't wait until Jay kicks you off this blog. 

Kamchak
Kamchak

@Infraredguy

Maybe you should "clime" up off the ground after that face-plant.   

Brosephus
Brosephus

I have no dog in this race.  I don't know enough about either one, but if I were voting, I would vote for Norwood simply to break ties with the current mayor's administration.

As long as either one can work with other metro mayors to help the area, I'm good with either of them.  It's time for the metro area to work together as one unit instead of a bunch of closely located individual city-states.

justaniceguy
justaniceguy

@Brosephus Norwood would have a better chance of working with mayors and county governments on the northside for sure... 

RantNRave
RantNRave

@Brosephus


Hmmmmmm


Deja Poo?


That's how you got the Trailer


Trash In Chief.


Don't fall for the old OKEY  DOKE


AGAIN.


K

gotalife
gotalife

We lost all professionals at State.


Just more destruction of America.

Starik
Starik

@gotalife When all this is over, professionals who stick around for the duration of Trumpism should get a medal. 

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

@MaryElizabethSings 

One has to adjust?

That's exactly what I had to do once my preferred GOP candidates began to drop out of the race. Couldn't bring myself to vote for EITHER of the nominees so i threw my vote away on a write-in.

Try not to project how your mind works onto the minds of others.

Where did I do that, MES? It's one of those rare moments where jay and I share common ground.

Don't rekindle your lecturing ways with me, MES.

It will not serve you well. 

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@FIGMO2 @MaryElizabethSings


Figmo, you should know by now that I am not affected by intimidation and threats.  Your aggression is showing forth, again.


FYI, you are not the only poster who projects your own intentions onto the minds of others.  My words were meant for all who have a tendency to do that unknowingly.


I do not believe that Jay Bookman switched his support from Woolard to Norwood because to paraphrase your words, "Atlantans did not support his (first) choice."  That was a put down of how Jay Bookman thinks.  Do you not recognize that?

Kamchak
Kamchak

@FIGMO2

Did you get ME's permission before bouncing an insult off her post?   

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

@MaryElizabethSings @FIGMO2

"Atlantans did not support his (first) choice."  That was a put down of how Jay Bookman thinks.  Do you not recognize that?

Nope!

Here's the facts YOU need to acknowledge, MES.

Did Woolard win during the primary? The answer is no.

Why did she not win?

Had she won, would jay be voting for Woolard?

It's very likely he would since she was his preferred candidate.

As it is now, he's left with choosing one of two alternative candidates

Sometimes things aren't as complex as you need them to be, MES..

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

@MaryElizabethSings @FIGMO2

I don't think so, MES.

Let's take the questions one at a time, shall we?

Did Woolard win during the primary?

You've already acknowledged she was jay's first choice.

kitty72
kitty72

@MaryElizabethSings @kitty72 @FIGMO2 Fair comment, MES. You are being fair minded. I just don't give a damn about being fair minded when conservatives are not coming out LOUDLY about Trump and his crap.