by Chris Haire
People speak differently than they write. I for one talk in a mumbled mess of sentence fragments, unnecessary digressions, sentences that end in "but," and grunts. I'm the kind of speaker that reporters dread since it's next to impossible to get a usable quote from me. But on paper, I'm much better, although some may surely think otherwise.
Politicians, on the other hand, are supposed to be masters at the art of public speaking. They speak clearly and concisely, uttering one soundbite after another. The danger occurs when those choice nuggets are taken out of context.
Consider today's front page report in the P&C last night's mayoral debate. Now, the report is an informative read, but I'm not concerned with that sort of thing. I'm concerned with something much more superficial — the pullquotes that ran above the story on the front page of the paper.
Quotes from all four mayoral candidates were presented, and taken out of context, they're somewhat amusing, that is by amusing you actually mean being a petty asshole. (Wait, that doesn't really make sense either. Oh well.)
First off, Mayor Joe:
"We're going to make Charleston a biotech hub in the next four years, to make the jobs increasingly good-paying jobs...available for our children."
Hmm. Don't we have child labor laws against that sort of thing. Not that I find that to be a problem. The world could use a few more chimney sweeps.
Next up, perpetual candidate Marc Knapp:
"Whether you own a $4 million house on the Battery or a $100,000 house in West Ashley, your tax should be exactly the same."
Really? The exact same amount? OK. Not so funny. But, it's one of those simply impractical solutions that only someone who has never worked in government makes. Like the folks whose solution to fixing Washington is to simply kick all the bastards out and start over again. Life is not a video game; there is no reset button.
And then, William Dudley Gregorie:
"A Gregorie administration will end homelessness, and the way we do that is with a 10-year plan."
Talk about a ballsy statement. Gregorie must lugging around boulders in his BVDs to say something so patently absurd and deliver it with any sort of conviction. Ending homelessness? Geez. What's next, world peace? A funny Dane Cook movie?
And finally, Omar Brown:
"The city, under my administration, will make sure you are aware of any outside entity that wants to come in and give you cancer."
Wow. Just wow. I mean, can you just imagine a board of directors sitting around the sacrificial altar after a happy hour blood orgy plotting new and exciting ways to bring Cancer (TM) to the American people?