Monday, March 12, 2012

Another nice guy finishes last

In her column this week, my boss Sandra Clark offers her take on what voters said in last week's local elections.

Of the close win by Eighth District school board member Mike McMillan over Carter activist Conley Underwood she says, "Nice guys really do finish last."

I tend to think I'm the exception to that rule. But I digress.

We ran a front page photo (not the one here) from Underwood and McMillan's "debate" earlier this month at Gibbs High School. Looking directly into the camera, Underwood, smiling broadly, reminded me of former Minnesota Sen. Hubert Humphrey, the perennial nice guy who lost to both Jack Kennedy for the 1960 Democratic presidential nomination, and to Richard Milhous Nixon in the 1968 presidential election.

Sandra's comment made me think of a documentary I saw last year on Humphrey and Kennedy slugging it out in West Virginia during the early portion of the 1960 campaign. There was Humphrey, an honest-to-God liberal crusader, pressing the flesh but losing in the end to the bronze warrior Kennedy, who was financed by his daddy's rum-runnin' money. Kennedy, later, used dirty tricks of his own (aka the dead voting in Chicago) to win against Nixon.

Now, let's get one thing perfectly clear (to quote a favorite pol): Mike McMillan ain't Jack Kennedy. He isn't even Boss Tweed. Or Boss Hogg.

But McMillan's backers played hardball. They followed Sandra's second rule: Politics is a blood sport. They reportedly flat-out lied to neighbors, telling them if McMillan lost, the new Carter Elementary School would never be built. They reportedly violated school board policy, politicking on school property.

It was a close vote, but it was enough.

I don't have a dog in this fight. I live in the Seventh District, don't know Conley Underwood (but I adore his aunt Shirley) and have known and gotten along with McMillan for years.

But, I do know that Conley Underwood worked his butt off for a new Carter Elementary School. Even after his kids moved on to middle school, Conley kept up the fight. Didn't have to, but he did. I can remember sitting through soporific, mind-numbingly long school board meetings, only to perk up when Conley approached the podium. He was sincere. He spoke from the heart.

Hubert Humphrey's optimistic grin went down again last Tuesday, this time to the bare knuckles, back rooms and deep pockets of the Knox Vegas good ol' boys.

A nice guy finished last in a very bloody sport.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

You will never know how very heart warming and refreshing it was to read the TRUTH about the 8th
district school board race. To see in print that they actively lied and lied and lied to get McMillan elected takes away a lot of the pain I felt for Conley when the votes were counted. Conley Underwood was definitely the best, in fact, the only candidate who would represent all those who live in the 8th district and he is not "beholding" to anyone. He is a loving husband, father and a good Christian man. Thank you, thank you thank you, for what you said in your blog.

12:22 AM  
Blogger Jake Mabe said...

You're most welcome. I'm just ignorant -- I don't know any better than to tell the truth...!

12:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nobody wants to mention the cheating that was done by Saint Conley as some in the media would make him out.

Yard signs were handed out in a first grade classroom at Carter Elementary. At least two emails were sent to all school system employees supporting Underwood and attacking McMillan including one by Underwood's biggest contributor's daughter, Wendi Mullins. A whispering campaign in 8th District schools was started by certain school system Underwood supporters. His campaign treasurer illegally used a government email address for communications during the campaign, a prosecutable offense should McMillan choose to pursue it.

As to these supposed "rumors" that Carter Elementary would not happen if Underwood was elected, that did not come from McMillan or his campaign, and Mayor Burchett said it wasn't true either. The janitors local union decided on their own to support McMillan because of his support during the outsourcing issue and nobody from the McMillan campaign authorized them to campaign at the schools and told them to stop as soon as he found out about it.

The only political "machine" that exists in the 8th District is the one that tried to get Underwood aka "Roy Mullins Jr." elected. Aunt Shirley was Roy's second in command and the Mullins machine has controlled the 8th District School Board seat since 2000 - electing do-nothing Jim Williams and endorsing Bill Phillips. Yet Underwood ran on undoing the "politics of the past" meme.

Underwood and the rest of the bunch got what they deserved - a good ole 8th District dog whipping, just like they did when McMillan beat Mullins to finish poor ole Bill Phillips' term.

Allow this post, Jake Mabe, if you dare. Or is it only the "Saint Conley" posts that are allowed? Are you a real journalist or someone who can dish it out but can't take it back?

10:00 AM  
Blogger Jake Mabe said...

Of course, I will allow the comment. But I don't think I'd get too high and mighty since you didn't even have the guts to leave your name. I put my name on everything I write.

10:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for allowing the comment but based on your rather one-sided post, I didn't think you would.

I was also responding to the anonymous comment by your previous poster. If you don't want anonymous comments, you should turn that feature off.

10:22 AM  
Blogger Jake Mabe said...

I'm more than happy to allow the post. This is a big ol' world with plenty of opinions. My blog post was one-sided, as you say, because it's my blog, not a piece of journalism, which means I get to say what I think. I just regret you called out my journalistic integrity; therefore I pointed out the fact that you didn't even sign your name to your comment. I do appreciate you reading, though, and thank you much for your comments.

10:26 AM  
Blogger Brian Hornback said...

Nothing like a gloating winner. But let's go back to the Bill Phillips campaign of 2008. It wasn't just Mullins and Everett that supported him. Big ole Steve "I have a famous brother" Hunley endorsed and worked for Bill Phillips. It wasn't until after that that Hunley started trying to separate himself from Phillips

11:52 AM  
Anonymous Conley Underwood said...

Enough is enough. The lying must stop. No signs were handed out on Carter Elementary property, ever. I would not allow it..I would never put myself or the school administration in that situation. The whispers about the potential cancellation of Carter Elementary were started by Alvin Taylor, and told to one of my relatives directly by Alvin, and to another close friend of mine, again directly by Alvin, who was calling everyone in Thorn Grove and Carter on Mike's behalf. My treasurer only replied to emails he received from outside sources, and his email was only listed on our finanacial disclosures for the election commission contact: in my opinion these were "set-up" for him to be slandered like I have been. I will never apologize for my relatives, and especially for Shirley Underwood. And when was a "dog whipping" 5%? And while RM wss a contributor, I had 4 others give just as much, and close to 100 total donors. How many did Mike have? Oh, only 3! I will never understand why some have to belittle and demean the work I have done in the community... in a normal world, a simple "Thank You" would be sufficient, not being called names and having a reputation torn apart. These have to be the most miserable people in the world to have to be constantly tearing others down to their level.

8:48 AM  

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