Mayoral candidates have to demonstrate self-control and avoid impulsive anger; at the same time, newspapers have a responsibility to cover all electoral candidates, not just the 'stars'.
By Rene Gauthier
Published May 18, 2010
It seems that Hamilton Spectator columnist Andrew Dreschel and Hamilton mayoral candidate Mahesh Butani have a bit of a disagreement. It began with a small paragraph put into Dreschel's column, to which I will defer the details to my fellow blogger, Cal DiFalco.
I will take this opportunity to pass some of my now famous words of wisdom to all of you about this most unfortunate situation. I will begin by stating the obvious. In this case, Mr. Butani's apparent attempt at getting some publicity for himself just blew up in his face. I'm sorry, Mahesh, but that's the truth.
It is important to an aspiring politician to avoid impulsive anger at all costs. It is important to be in control of your emotions and your words and to avoid looking like a loose cannon. I hate to say this, Mahesh, but you did sound rather unhinged, angry and vitriolic.
All that he did was point out that you have a long way to go to be known as a credible candidate and that unless you do something, you won't have a chance. You should have taken that as a signal that you need to get your name out. Otherwise, the people who matter will not know that you even exist, short of a name on the ballot.
As far as Andrew goes, I have to say that he was out of bounds on this one too. When credible candidates do step up and put their names in for nomination, these guys should be honoured, not scoffed at.
I think the greater insult here is that Dreschel dropped credibility-challenged Michael Baldasaro's name well before he mentioned Butani's, making the mayoral race one in which the more credible candidate has to overcome the less serious candidate before he will even get credibility from the media.
It was almost as if he wasn't even in the gates when the horserace began. What's worse is that the incumbent mayor still has yet to submit his nomination papers.
But the insult doesn't stop there. Cartoonist Grame MacKay had a depiction of the mayoral race in a sparring metaphor where Eisenberger is taller than both Baldasaro and an even smaller Mahesh Butani. A door opens and a large Larry Di Ianni is entering the ring.
So yes, it is easy to see why Butani was rather angry and frustrated - but he cannot be absolved of such a major campaigning faux-pas.
From this point on, I would suggest that Butani accept that he acted impulsively and try to take back what he said, otherwise his letter will haunt him for the rest of the campaign. Getting on the wrong side of the media early in the campaign will not help his chances.
This essay was first published on Ren's website.
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