Saturday, December 10, 2005

More raking to do

I've just got a couple loose ends to tie up with respect to the Rakes Coup of 2005.

The first is Republicans' belief that David Rakes voting for Chris Merdon to be council chairman is the harbinger of massive shifts in political landscape of this county and state. From the Sun:

Howard M. Rensin, the county Republican Party chairman, said that because Rakes is African-American, his move could mean more support among black voters for Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele's U.S. Senate bid.
And the Post:

"I'm excited," said Republican Chairman Howard Rensin, who said he hoped Rakes's support of Merdon might entice other black County residents to the Republican Party. He said Democrats have long "taken the African American vote for granted."

I hate to be a nattering nabob of negativism, but I think they're overstating the significance of this. Just a wee bit. Sure, Rakes' vote was great for Merdon and bad for Guzzone, but I think the political implications of it don't extend far beyond the five seats on the dais of the George Howard Building's Banneker Room. I actually think they're making themselves sound silly by suggesting this.

Moreover, the Republican's seem to be looking to Rakes as new member of their coalition and the linchpin in their dreamed majority status. A dream, however, is all it is. Rakes is nothing if not inconsistent--just ask Guzzone--and to think he'll stand by them on a regular basis is kind of funny (and kind of sad). See:
Rakes said his decision to back Merdon over Chairman Guy Guzzone (D-Southeast County) had more to do with management and leadership style and less with party ideology. Rakes said he plans to seek reelection as a Democrat and doesn't portend alliances with Republicans on issues.

"That will be on a case by case basis," Rakes said.

Perspective, boys, perspective. Take a step back and enjoy this one. Or, as they say in football, don't look downfield until you catch the ball.

The second issue I'd like to mention is that of Rakes' motivation for this vote. He tries to maintain that the vote was not meant to be vindictive toward Guzzone and Ulman for them not supporting him during his previous, um, issues. But this quote from the Sun pretty much busts that myth:
...Rakes said he was offended at the council's July 28 meeting when Ulman criticized his vote on a moderate-income housing issue on which Rakes reversed himself and sided with council Republicans. At that meeting, Ulman accused Rakes of failing to understand the legislation and said his constituents "should be embarrassed for him."

"It was very condescending. I took it very personally," Rakes said. He said he voted for Merdon to be chairman because "I think the chairman should have stepped in and worked that out."
Well, "abolish" might be an overstatement, but it's just crazy to think that revenge was not a significant factor in his decision making process.

Man, I am going to miss having Rakes on the council after next year.

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