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Amusing, but minor candidate wackiness degrades debate

With the likelihood that any of the challengers to Gov. Bobby Jindal could defeat his reelection less than that of the Earth reversing its rotation and its axis of rotation shifting to east-west, since these marginal candidates that in any other contest with more substantial candidates would be ignored almost totally can find much more spotlight, expect their oddities to emerge into full view. Take, for instance, the ranting of one Adroniki “Niki Bird” Papazoglakis.

The social worker running as a Democrat sees a politicized vendetta against her because her nonprofit group, after being considered last month to land a $5,000 stipend to produce a speaker for a seminar sponsored by the state’s Department of Children and Family Services in January, recently was told none would be forthcoming, after she had qualified to run. The unmarried and childless pending graduate degree holder worked as the policy director of the group and was informed budget constraints nixed the offer.

That may be true, but the department additionally stated that the group lacked the proper qualifications to get the award in any event. And, legally, Papazoglakis’ filing for office may have alerted department officials that she disqualified her agency from any kind of participation, as the state ethics code bars that kind of relationship of state government with an elected official who is a principal with an organization receiving such a payment – which, yes, if the Earth’s tilt and spin changed, she could be by early next year.

Just to make sure it’s all on the level, Jindal asked his inspector general to look into the matter. Papazoglakis since has resigned her position, staying in which probably would hamper her campaigning in any event.

For the group, perhaps that’s just as well, because Papazoglakis shows signs of delusion that may not make for the ideal policy director. That she would think Jindal considers her candidacy a threat to his reelection bid, much less that he even knows her name, demonstrates she has little real understanding of political reality.

Worse, she showed signs of megalomania when she proclaimed that the failure to deliver a contract, which then prompted her resignation, indicated this meant the group’s “work and these issues are just too important to be maligned by my opponent, so until this election is over with, if Bobby Jindal needs a target, he won't be able to aim at children or the sexually abused anymore.” This belief that without her employment by the group and its funding by the state represents irreparable harm caused by Jindal, a father and backer of recent legislation against sex crimes some of which has been challenged unconstitutional because of its rigor, and that she and the group are so crucial to the welfare of these individuals, reveals, if not an exceptionally and dangerously inflated sense of importance, at the very least poor analytical skills and judgment.

That kind of temperament doesn’t exactly endear her to serious voters searching for the state’s chief executive, although the publicity from its display relayed to the knee-jerk anti-Jindal crowd might double at some other candidates’ expenses her vote to two percent from what she might otherwise have gotten. But that’s the way it will be in an election where the best that can be offered to contrast with the incumbent range from those with well-intentioned but sometimes eccentric and unworkable ideas, to the cursorily-informed tax-and-spenders, and to perennial office-seekers, among others.

The good news is that the peculiarities of these minor candidates will make for entertaining, if not amusing, coverage that in other years would go largely, perhaps totally, unreported. The bad news is that it degrades political discourse into daytime TV talk show territory that encourages the replacement of substantive debate with vapid non sequiturs that distract more than inform, as in this instance.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I would respectfully submit that you have missed the most disappointing and newsworthy point of this story.

It is, that after three and one-half years of governance, one of Bobby Jindal's executive branch agencies is apparently still paying $5,000 of tax-payer's money to get some one to speak at a seminar or conference.

Some things never change.