Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Right-wing rancor, aimed at Skorman

Posted By on Tue, Apr 26, 2011 at 2:39 PM

It’s always a pleasure to read opinion pieces by Gazette editorial page editor Wayne Laugesen, not to mention those by his predecessor (and former City Council member) Sean Paige. Such elegance! Such incisive reasoning! Such sublimely ideological conclusions!

Sean Paige

Like Robert Silver and Barbara Epstein, who founded the New York Review of Books in 1963, they determine the party line for true believers. Silver and Epstein gave the fractious liberal intelligentsia of 1960s New York an authoritative, informed, argumentative, and often censorious voice. NYRB's pages reflected the excitement and tumult of the times, featuring carefully reasoned, beautifully written, and sometimes comically wrong commentaries.

It’s a measure of our city’s delightful eccentricity that Paige and Laugesen have become the Susan Sontags of the Springs, keepers of the flickering libertarian flame and defenders of the holy writ, as first revealed by St. Ayn the Righteous and St. Harry the Publisher.

So when Sean and Wayne join together to condemn Richard Skorman’s campaign theme (Don’t hand over the city to the rascally developers!), you know that something’s up.

In an e-mail touting his blog, Paige asked, “Was anyone else struck by the irony, evident in the first mayoral runoff debate, that it was the supposedly-open-minded, supposedly-tolerant, supposedly-unifying Richard Skorman that came off looking like a divisive, nasty, narrow-minded jerk — a left wing mirror image of Ed Bircham?”

Piling on, Laugesen went after Skorman, suggesting that he, not developers, bears primary responsibility for the city’s sprawling growth.

“The annexation and development plans were caused entirely by a past City Council, but are blamed on evil developers — people who have developed barely a sliver of the (Banning-Lewis Ranch) because of scarce market need for new homes at this time.”

Forget the content what’s the meta-content?

To misquote some dead white guy, “Methinks the opinionators doth protest too much.”

This election should be Bach’s to lose, given the conservative cast of our city. The strident tone of the Paige/Laugesen screeds suggests that Bach may be in trouble otherwise, why bother to beat up Skorman?

And here are a couple of factoids to support such a view.

- In the past couple of weeks, Skorman has outraised Bach by a 2-1 margin. Between 4/07 and 4/20, Skorman took in $118,106, while between 4/11 and 4/24 Bach raised only $64,760. And even that total was inflated by four $5,000 contributors: Gary Loo, Kathy Loo, Gary Erickson, and Stephen Clark. Skorman’s overall total is now $393,574, compared to Bach’s $284,313.

- And has anyone noticed the curious behavior of three conservative former mayoral candidates? Brian Bahr, Buddy Gilmore and Tom Gallagher have been as silent as the tomb, endorsing no one. Does it mean anything? Probably not, but it’ll be interesting to hear what they have to say, should they decide to weigh in.

And as for me, I’ll continue to read Paige and Laugesen … just as I read Sontag.

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