Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Opinion

Ruth: Democratic Party chairman's folly a gift for David Jolly

Memo to Pinellas County Democratic Party chairman Mark Hanisee: Betcha the Rev. Manuel Sykes is looking downright FDR, JFK and Barack Obama-like right about now.

With Tuesday's withdrawal of the party-anointed beefcake boy of the stump, Ed Jany, to take on incumbent Republican Rep. David Jolly in the District 13 congressional race, local Democrats are pretty much faced with recruiting "Vacancy," "Occupant," and "To Whom It May Concern" to get into the arena.

Oh, and let's not forget "Sacrificial Lamb."

There's losing. And then there is surrendering faster than the fleeing knights in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Memo II to Hanisee: Perhaps you can find a wooden badger to run against Jolly.

There's also losing with some self-respect, a commodity in short supply within the sweat lodge of the Pinellas County Democratic Party. Sure Sykes was likely to lose to Jolly. Sure he can be something of a loose canon. But in Sykes, at least Democrats had a candidate who would have aggressively taken on Jolly, fought for his core beliefs and represented the ideals of his party.

That's not so bad. Instead Hanisee gave one of Pinellas County's more prominent Democratic voices the bum's rush out of the campaign threatening the minister that he would henceforth be "persona non grata" within the party if he persisted in his race against Jolly.

Memo III to Hanisee: If being persona non grata under your "leadership" is the price to pay for running against Jolly, what's the downside?

Instead Hanisee got all weak-kneed and dreamy at the thought of a Jany candidacy against Jolly. After all, Jany was an ex-cop and a soon-to-retire U.S. Marine officer. What could possibly go wrong?

Okay, sure, Jany couldn't run as a Democrat because he was too recently registered as a Republican — a problem under state law. A mere trifle. And then there was the minor annoyance he hadn't even made plans to move into District 13 yet. A simple bump in the road.

Then came disclosures Jany fudged his resume noting he had a degree from the University of Minnesota. He didn't. Tut-tut, a slight oversight. Oh and his claim of successfully matriculating from Madison University was very impressive until one learned the school was unaccredited, with no classes and no campus.

Or put another way, Jany was quickly becoming a one-man opposition research operative for the Jolly campaign.

Memo IV to Hanisee: Have you considered groveling?

In his statement announcing he was dropping out of a congressional race he had barely entered a week ago, Jany explained he had no idea how time-consuming the race would be, especially since he is still doing security work for the upcoming World Cup soccer tournament in Brazil this year.

Really? It never dawned on Jany that running for office is an immensely demanding exercise requiring long hours on the hustings pretending to care about people, eating bad food and showing up for debates? He didn't know that? Manuel Sykes does.

Forgive a pinch of cynicism, but don't you suspect Jany realized he was about to become a self-inflicted punching bag for Jolly and executed a strategic retreat?

Memo V to Hanisee: Since you've managed to turn the District 13 congressional race into a House of Shards, why don't you run for the job yourself. You'll lose too. But we know you're good for a few laughs.

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