Monday, February 11, 2008

Carty's political party

This is part of James Taranto's Wall Street Journal column Best of the Web (subscription may be required) in which he notes (as my husband did on Saturday morning) that the political party of Mayor Carty Finkbeiner seemed to be missing in news stories about his refusal to allow the Marines to do urban training in Toledo.

"Man Without a Party

Another American city has declared war on the U.S. Marines, reports the Toledo Blade:

A company of Marine Corps Reservists received a cold send-off from downtown Toledo yesterday by order of Mayor Carty Finkbeiner.
The 200 members of Company A, 1st Battalion, 24th Marines, based in Grand Rapids, Mich., planned to spend their weekend engaged in urban patrol exercises on the streets of downtown as well as inside the mostly vacant Madison Building, 607 Madison Ave.
Toledo police knew days in advance about their plans for a three-day exercise. Yet somehow the memo never made it to Mayor Finkbeiner, who ordered the Marines out yesterday afternoon just minutes before their buses were to arrive.
"The mayor asked them to leave because they frighten people," said Brian Schwartz, the mayor's spokesman.

We got to wondering: To what political party does this Carty Finkbeiner belong? The Blade does not tell us, so we tried checking some other sources. WNWO-TV, the local NBC affiliate, didn't tell us. Neither did the Fox station, WUPW-TV, or the CBS outlet, WTOL-TV.

Maybe the Toledo press corps figured everyone locally already knew Finkbeiner's party, so it wasn't necessary to mention. So we tried the media in Grand Rapids, Mich., where the Marine company is stationed. But neither the Grand Rapids Press nor WOOD-TV sought fit to mention the mayor's affiliation. Neither did the Associated Press.

But wait! The Toledo Blade came through in the end. In a second-day follow-up story, we find the following in paragraph 13:

Mayor Finkbeiner, a Democrat, said yesterday that he ordered the Marines out because he did not want a repeat of the last time the Marines' battalion trained downtown in May, 2006.

This isn't the first time Finkbeiner has found himself in a nationally noted kerfuffle. In 1994, the New York Times reported that the newly elected mayor "suggested at a staff meeting that a way to resolve complaints about airport noise would be to move deaf people into the neighborhood." Even back then, the paper did not see fit to identify his party.

Contrast this with a Times book review from just this past weekend. The paper doesn't even wait until the first paragraph to tell us the party ID of its subject: The headline reads "R, North Carolina." The subject is former senator Jesse Helms and his backward views on race. How much do you want to bet that the Times never has and never will use a similar headline for a biography of Theodore Bilbo or Ben Tillman or Robert Byrd?"

For those keeping track, Carty used to be a Republican, when he first entered politics. He was then an Independent for a while but has been a Democrat for years.



jrs said...

Funny that you bring up his party & the media's lack of mention of it. I've spent a good part of the afternoon in a futile attempt to make others understand the potential power of party affiliation in this case. Carty claims to be a Democrat - Lucas County, Ohio, whatever. Where are the big Dem guns taking a postion on this ? Redfern ? Brown ? Kaptur ? Bueller ? Hats off to T. Fedor for being unafraid to put an opinion out on this.

Wasn't there a time when a Party policed itself, phone calls would have been made, wrists slapped, advice given, ultimatums issued ?

Maggie said...

I usually don't agree with Theresa Fedor's political positions, but she's a vet and understands the implications of this. But the other elected officials, especially the leadership of the Democratic Party, should be all over should the GOP.

Unfortunately, I think this will be used more as a club for the A-Teamers with the B-Teamers circling the wagons. Sad.

Right Wing Toledo said...

Funny, I remember when another political figure faced difficulties - of a legal kind. Despite the fact that Tom Noe was not an elected official, the fact that he was a Republican was blasted into every sentence possible.

In order to be balanced, the Toledo birdcage liner ought to put the picture of every Democrat Carty has ever come in contact with on the front page.

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