Tuesday, April 26, 2005

The Mayor & the Cheerleader

by Kyle Michaelis

Omaha's mayoral candidates, incumbent Mike Fahey and challenger Dave Friend, held their one debate of the campaign Thursday afternoon. Seems to have been an altogether dull event, fitting for this rather lopsided and uneventful campaign. Fahey came out of the primary with a 20% advantage and hundreds of thousands of dollars more in cash, and Friend's got nothing to run on to make up the difference. This is painfully evident when his fallback position is his repeated desire to be "the chief cheerleader of the city."

As far as cricisms of the current administration go, I'm afraid saying Fahey's not good with high-kicks and bullhorns just isn't a strong enough case for change.

The simple fact is that Fahey's done a good job reducing the friction in Omaha government, creating a much-needed spirit of cooperation and progress. Omaha is in a better place than it was four years ago, and Friend's claim to being the "energetic" candidate has nothing to counteract that.

His further attempts to pass blame onto Fahey for the Elkhorn annexation and any number of other issues have failed to gain traction because they're so blatantly opportunistic, as Friend's been complretely unable to detail what exactly he would have done better.

The problem with running as an empty suit like that (a la President Bush) is that an empty suit needs to be stuffed with a lot of cash to win an election. Friend doesn't have that cash and doesn't have the issues, so he doesn't have a chance.

Today's World-Herald reports on an attempted Republican rally last night to help out the flagging Friend campaign:
Dave Friend says that if he is going to unseat Mayor Mike Fahey, it will be with voter turnout numbers of about 45 percent - almost triple the level of turnout in this month's primary election....

"The way we're going to turn that around is by networking," Friend said.
Good luck with that, Dave. I'm afraid in city politics just being a Republican isn't going to be enough. It was great while it lasted. Surely with all that networking, you'll hear that fat lady singing soon.


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