Someone pointed out today that the sudden burst of sanctimony we saw from Vice Mayor Rogers last Tuesday night bore a remarkable resemblance to what Columnist Rogers exhibited about Ted McConkey and his supporters towards the end of the quite heated 1999 election campaign.
As with Gordon, Rogers hated McConkey and wanted him out. Those who remember this campaign might also recall the last-minute banner stories in the Leader that supposedly confirmed Will’s longtime derogatory narrative about Ted and his supporters’ seriously damaged sense of moral clarity and proper behavior. Yes, long before Dr. Gordon arrived on the council there was another class of alleged hypocrites, nutballs, liars, fools, dirty hippies and whatever other vestige of the local unwashed this old Leader columnist could dream up as a target.
Outside of suddenly parading around a McConkey tax lien that hadn’t been any big deal four years earlier during his first campaign (Ted was temporarily broke because of his wife’s serious medical expenses, a fact that Will conveniently omitted from his striking Leader exposé), Rogers also made the exciting last-minute claim that McConkey and his minions had nefariously attempted to “thwart the will of the voters” by going around early one Saturday morning before the election and stealing copies of the Leaders’ endorsement issue.
The paper back then had chosen McConkey’s opponent David Laurell, who interestingly enough was also at the time one of their backroom employees. Naturally, according to Rogers, this meant that the “McConkeyistas” (his word for that imaginary group of incompetent naysayers, which also included Dr. Gordon) were so incensed at the paper’s noble action that they couldn’t help but reveal their true lack of character by suddenly going around town and robbing a couple of stacks of free newspaper copies. You should have seen his outrage.
The problem with Rogers’ claim back then though was simple: there was no evidence that Ted or anyone else had stolen copies of the local newspaper. There wasn’t even evidence that copies had been stolen in the first place. This of course didn’t stop Will from trying to parlay his scoop of a story into a master narrative about Ted and his gang of lunatics and stooges. Just like now with Gordon, they were almost all uncontrollable louts who lacked brains, character and integrity and this time they’d gone too far.
Some things never change. Rogers likes to take on Gordon for his grandstanding, but who’s the real scold? And which one’s more accurate?