I devoted precious coffee time on Sunday morning to surveying the social media feeds of local political officeholders of the Democratic persuasion. Most are on holiday, communications-wise, and have been for a while, but you never know.
While respectful of their positions as inhabitants of a severely listing ship, one that probably needs scuttling to qualify for salvage, it remains that hard times like these are those most in need of something approximating leadership from what we’ve always been taught is one of two major political parties in America.
So far, not much of this quality is on display, although maybe conditions will change once the shock wears off, assuming it ever does.
Happily, 3rd district councilman Greg Phipps has been quite prominent on social media since Tuesday’s reeking debacle. However, much of what I’ve seen emanating from him is long on bombastic agitprop and short on road maps toward a coping mechanism, as with this meme:
However, perhaps this rumination begs a larger question: If the Democratic Party is to be considered the “legitimate” local political opposition to Trumpism, loyal or otherwise, then whose hand is on the damned wheel?
At times like this, aren’t we supposed to look to the calm, measured wisdom of elder statesmen-and-women?
Wait, there’s a statement coming through from the down-low ether …
Are there any elder states-persons still aboard the wreck? Politically, Chuck Freiberger is damaged goods, having now lost three of his past four campaigns (the most recent for County Commissioner, and twice previously to Ron Grooms for State Senate).
Freiberger might have been considering another race for state office, but preferably from a position of electoral strength, and to say the least, this no longer is the case.
In a post at Fb, Freiberger thanked those who’ve supported him during 28 years in elected office, and there’s the rub. He’d have commenced a career in politics at the age of 26 or 27; today, party chairman Adam Dickey’s bench is thin and the farm system barren.
It has long been rumored that Jeff Gahan also is desirous of the State Senate seat held by Grooms, who persistently has been rumored to favor retirement, with former Floyd County Commissioner Steve Bush waiting in the wings as a formidable candidate with power bases in both Clark and Floyd Counties.
Megalomania aside, the mayor’s in a bit of a pickle. With C. Pralle Erni excepted, New Albany usually doesn’t reward those seeking three consecutive mayoral terms, though Bob Real and Doug England managed it non-consecutively. I still think Gahan will go for Grooms’ seat in 2018, because if he loses, there’d still be time for Plan B in terms of the mayor’s office in 2019, though he’ll likely receive a stiff primary challenge in the spring as well as a stronger Republican opponent than ever before if he makes it through to fall.
Given its steady hemorrhaging in the city, what’s to come for the Floyd County Democratic Party without major surgery beginning right now?
In lieu of Dickey’s ongoing unfitness to keep his job, are we to consider Gahan as the de facto “leader” of the FCDP? After all, Gahan is the highest-ranking local office holder in the party, and with Freiberger’s imminent departure and Dan Coffey’s declaration of independence earlier this year, he’s now the one with the most experience (two city council terms preceding his tenure as mayor).
Will Gahan take this opportunity to cashier Dickey, whose status has been downgraded to junk bond, and seize the levers for his own Anchor the Mud Flats Movement?
Perhaps the reason why we’re hearing nothing but dead air from the Democrats is their seclusion deep in the bunker, behind those perennially favored closed backroom doors, sharpening stilettos for prospective duty.