Saturday, August 25, 2007

Randy Hubbard and the headlong flight from ideas.

Is there anybody in there?
Just nod if you can hear me.
Is there anyone home?

-- Roger Waters/Pink Floyd

We’ll forgive you for thinking that it has been hot this August, because on the local political front, matters finally seem to be heading toward the anticipated pre-election autumn boil.

Hubbard’s refusal scuttles IUS debate, by Eric Scott Campbell (News and Tribune).

IU Southeast’s proposed mid-October debate between New Albany mayoral candidates Doug England and Randy Hubbard is off the table after Hubbard declined the invitation.

You’d be more surprised at the “unexpected” outcome of a professional wrestling match than with Hubbard’s debate duck ‘n’ cover, and in today’s Tribune, a letter to the editor by Todd Bailey (a self-professed supporter of Democratic candidate England) offers a response:

Late in the game” and scheduling conflicts do not wash with me, nor will it with other voters. If Mr. Hubbard wants to be viewed as a credible candidate he should not hide behind such empty excuses …

… I support Doug England for mayor as I believe that Mr. England has the interest of the community and its citizens at heart. Mr. England supports progress, fiscal responsibility and an overall better New Albany. Mr. England has made this clear by outlining his agenda and stance on the issues at hand to the citizens of this community. To my knowledge Mr. Hubbard has made no such attempt which is unfortunately consistent with his refusal to debate.

Almost from the moment that Hubbard, a former Floyd County Sheriff, was nominated by the Republican Party to run for mayor, he has been curiously unwilling to display visible enthusiasm for his campaign. Rather, he has struck a pose of lofty detachment, suggesting that his candidacy owed not to any burning commitment to principle or eagerness to serve, but instead came about because concerned citizens scaled the imposing peak of his disinterest and earnestly petitioned him to make a bid.

Maddeningly, Hubbard has offered virtually nothing of substance with respect to issues or a platform, and when asked for specifics, he has deferred to outdated platitudes or asked for more time to seek from others the answers to questions that he apparently hasn’t yet considered.

Granted, it can be theorized that when one’s opponent spends most waking hours talking – Doug England’s garrulousness is legendary, entertaining and also substantive – a comparative reticence might prove quite useful in positioning oneself as the strong, silent type, and yet Hubbard seems to have strayed from opportunistic caution into verbally uncommunicative territories formerly occupied by Harpo Marx, Marcel Marceau and Rigor Mortis.

Apparently Plan A is the hope is that England will commit an unforced error capable of being exploited for electoral gain. There seems to be no Plan B. In the interim, Hubbard’s attempted gravitas seems increasingly less plausible than what is almost certainly the non-spinnable reality: A comprehensive absence of platform content, grasp and ideas on the part of a reluctant candidate desperately recruited by his own party for the sole reason of warding off an expected insurgency emanating from the upstart outsider residing at the Admiral Bicknell.

Casting aside what may or may not have been in political terms prior to the present day, it is at present virtually impossible for me to imagine a scenario in which Hubbard would make a better choice for mayor than England. All of us know that England has baggage carried over from two previous terms, and furthermore, we know that at some point, he’ll utter something that is politically incorrect. He will ally with people we find odious. If elected mayor, he’ll make mistakes, just as he did before.

But it is just as obvious that England possesses in abundance a character trait that the city of New Albany needs desperately, and needs right now: He will do something, as opposed to doing nothing.

Until Randy Hubbard, currently stuck at “cipher” and plunging, identifies his own something, his candidacy for City Hall simply cannot be taken seriously.


John Manzo said...

I'm getting to the point that I think it may need to become mandatory for candidates for ALL offices to participate in debates where candidates have no control over the questions or the formats. In watching Presidential debates over the year it has become almost laughable that any hope of learning something, anything, is almost impossible. Interestingly enough the "You Tube" questions were better than most because they were actually real.

Should they debate? Yes, absolutely. I think that the voting public has a right to hear their perspectives on a wide range of topics. Frankly, if you put yourself 'out there' to run for office you need to be in forums where voters have an opportunity to ask questions and hear your answers.

The thing is this. It often helps candidates. Solid people tend to give solid answers. Of course, it doesn't help people who aren't solid. Running from debates leaves people a giant question mark.

G Coyle said...

Disappointing indeed. At least England is willing to show up... I think I might agree with John that we need mandatory debates. It is the single best way to size up the competition.

Christopher D said...

I can to express how shocked I was at this, seriously shocked. It appears so out of character for the Hubbard I have known for decades.
The longer the silence continues, the more and more hesitant I become to suppport his campaign, and that is a rather troubling for me.

The New Albanian said...


I know that's tough for you. I think we're all currently in a position of puzzlement with regard to it. Quite frankly, the only thing I can guess is that he must not really be interested in the job, and that we shouldn;t underestimate the GOP establishment's eagerness to avoid a Bolovschak candidacy.