Tuesday, February 13, 2007

So much for New Berlin politics getting any better

New Berlin Alderman Paul Gallagher is not a happy politician. Most politicians when they receive an invitation to speak in front of an organization with which they disagree merely send a polite reply stating that, gee, I'd rather go swimming with my toaster. Not Paul Gallagher. He responded to an invitation to speak in front of the New Berlin CRG with a pretty belligerent response, and then went public with the correspondence thinking it would embarrass New Berlin CRG. Instead it just made Gallagher look petty and small.

If I can pass along one happy little anecdote with some advice for candidates, it would be this. If I remember correctly what our mayor told me, Larry Nelson credits his appearance before the Waukesha Taxpayers League executive committee with his becoming mayor. He told me he honed his message in front of the group and, even though he knew they would never support him, he was grateful for the opportunity to speak and answer some very tough questions.

Let me just add, I think if I ever founded a committee of sarcastic freelance op-ed writers opposed to all taxes, and I invited Larry Nelson to come and speak, he'd probably show up ready with a smile and a handshake for everyone in the room.

I'm not suggesting every politician should accept every invitation. I'm not sure Gallagher should accept this invitation. Since he doesn't seem to be able to keep his temper in check, I would probably advise him not to go.

But sometimes when you get a civil invitation from the other side, it doesn't hurt to be civil back.