Monday, July 09, 2007

KC Blue Blog: WTF (Wildly Trashing Funkhouser)

While I think the KC Blue Blog is one of the top 5 political blogs in the area, its writers have been in a petulant funk ever since the voters of Kansas City dared to elect Mark Funkhouser to be our Mayor, ignoring the KC Blue Blog's endorsement of his opponent. Since that time, the KCBB has been frothing in its hatred of Funkhouser, which is sad but not unusual for the losing side in an election, even those who advise that after an election we should "move into a united community of progress".

Lately, though, the anger has spilled over toward those of us who dare to voice or write supportive things about Funkhouser. I attracted the ire of the KCBB for pointing out that I'd rather have Joe Miller assisting Funkhouser than a snake oil salesman like Steve Glorioso (a pretty noncontroversial position that KCBB found necessary to misrepresent before attacking). This morning, Star Columnist Mike Hendricks drew the fury of voter-scorned KCBB for his column making the similarly noncontroversial point that Gloria Squitiro, like Nancy Reagan, Hillary Clinton and other political spouses, has the ear of her spouse. Yeah, really, "they" did it. (KCBB writers have adopted the royal "we" as a mark of their superiority.)

To work themselves and their Brooks-supporting dead-enders into a frenzy, "they" once again misrepresent the point of Hendricks' column. Laughably, "they" claim that mentioning Gloria Squitiro in the same column as Nancy Reagan and Hillary Clinton means that Hendricks is somehow claiming that there are no major differences between the three women. "They" then go on to claim that Hendricks is comparing Funkhouser to Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan. Of course, he makes no such claims, but KCBB has a strange need to be angry about anything which is not hateful about Funkhouser, so the truth is sacrificed on the altar of false reading. KCBB builds straw men, and burns them to make the sacrifice complete.

It also seems that KC Blue Blog has fallen victim to a sad lack of humor - a common malady of the self-righteously indignant. Despite Tony's frequent warnings that "TKC is a joke/humor blog", KCBB misses his humor and claims that Mike Hendricks rips off Tony's posts. Some bloggers have a vastly over-inflated sense of blog influence. The fact that the Kansas City Star writes about current events in Kansas City does not mean that they are ripping off blogs which are also writing about current events in Kansas City. Of course, no Kansas City Star journalist would get away with making such a goofy charge without even a citation, as KCBB has allowed itself to publish.

The political world is not always gentle, and I understand that even intelligent and good-willed people can have their feelings hurt by a candidate who dares to succeed where they have intoned that they will fail. But, really, it doesn't do one's credibility any good to attack Mike Hendricks for "pretending to know a single thing about politics" for writing a column mildly supportive of a candidate you predicted would lose.

Criticizing Funkhouser where he is wrong is certainly justified. Personally, I have disagreed with his selection of Semler for the Park Board, and I pointed out that accepting the Honda was not the smartest thing he could do. I called his appointments outside of the application process "a bonehead play".

But there is a line between legitimate criticism and constant, irrational slamming of a new Mayor who is getting his feet underneath him. Please, KCBB, get over your disappointment and move on. Right now, you and Tony (again, a joke blogger) are distinguishing yourselves in your unrelenting attacks on Funkhouser and anyone associated with him. At least Tony is trying to be funny.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your defense of Funkhouser is relentless. The Mayor cannot go a week without some kind of controversy.
The criticism is to be expected. Funkhouser has alienated the very same people that supported him, he doesn't listen to anybody and he makes no apologies for it.
Not a day goes by that I don't regret voting for him.

7/09/2007 10:17 PM  
Anonymous Heidi said...

Haven't followed the KCBB bit, which sounds like it would just make me yawn. But tangentially and fyi (fwiw), the Prime Buzz posted earlier that you are one of the "mayor's newly formed 'Kitchen Cabinet' of unpaid advisers."

"The cabinet also includes some of those closest to Funkhouser during the campaign and others, such as labor leader Bridgette Williams, who supported another candidate. Also joining the inner circle is Dan Ryan of the blog Gone Mild.

"Ryan was featured in an example that Squitiro gave of her influence, which she believes has been inflated by her critics. She said in last Tuesday's inaugural cabinet meeting that she noticed Ryan had not spoken up. She said she passed a note to her husband to suggest that he ask Ryan for his thoughts, and Funkhouser obliged."

7/10/2007 12:55 AM  
Anonymous What was I thinking?! said...

I was one of those Funkhouser supporters who now has buyer's remorse. It saddens me to say but it appears the mayoral couple is using their post to extract retribution for every perceived slight they have received over the years.

Dan you have zero credibility with me for posting Gloria-like "poor us" screeds and then having it come out you're in the inner circle. I do find it poetic that you were sitting back like a scared little boy and mama Gloria had to step in and make sure the other kids let Danny play too.

Has anyone read Kansas City Magazine this month? OMG! Gloria says Funk doesn't take bribes because he doesn't know what it's like to be "raised Italian."

7/10/2007 8:35 AM  
Anonymous I didn't vote for her said...

Dan, since you are in the "kitchen cabinet", please illuminate us:
What does Ed Wolf do to earn his big bucks other than babysit Gloria?

7/10/2007 9:48 AM  
Anonymous What was I thinking?! said...

Ed Wolf does the same as every other emasculated male on the 29th floor, whatever Gloria tells him to do. Don't you remember Funk's campaign motto? "Gloria is going to do what Gloria is going to do."

There's a distinct lack of testosterone in the mayor's inner circle. Ed Wolf, Dan Ryan, Joe Miller, Kendrick Blackwood. If a baby started crying these guys would lactate.

7/10/2007 10:33 AM  
Anonymous Heidi said...

To round this out a bit: no buyer's remorse here yet, even though I have dished out some criticism. It's been a little over two months. I've been annoyed and angered by some of the Mayor's actions (Ed Wolf's exception/salary, the Honda, handling of the Semler appointment), but four years is a long time. I don't think the first two months will doom his administration, and it's hysterics and wishful thinking on the part of some to try to paint it that way. Of course, I wish it had all been handled better to start, and I don't want it to continue that way, but I am content to let it go for longer than two months before freaking out.

Give me a break with using the meeting example trying to make Dan out to be a baby. Dan isn't making his comments by hiding under "what was i thinking?!" online. I don't have a problem with that description of the meeting. I posted the whole excerpt to let Dan know in case he hadn't seen it and didn't read it as a negative. Some people (and I am one of them) don't babble their way through meetings. I don't know Dan, but I can appreciate a number of scenarios why someone might not automatically spout off in a meeting. But that's not a black and white snipy personal attack, so that might go over the heads of some political commenters.

7/10/2007 10:59 AM  
Anonymous the nitwit said...

Now that's moxy Dan. KC's most reluctant critic of Funk (next to Gloria, perhaps) is ripping on another blog for having a bias? And you of all people are going to call someone else out for exhibiting "superiority"? Golly.

The complaint that many voters in this town have isn't that Gloria has Funk's "ear." Of course she does. But she also appears far too involved, and you might try being honest enough to recognize that she appears to be steering him in the wrong direction because like him, she's a political neophyte.

The big deal with Ed Wolf's hiring was supposed to be that Funk would have a competent navigator to help keep his ship off the rocks. But even if he is giving good advice, it's obvious that Funk's not hearing it. Either Wolf's talent is being wasted (drowned out by Gloria?), or he's not the experienced hand Funk needs.

Now, here's my unsolicited fifty-cent advice to Funk: First, the Gloria story won't go away until you make a change. Give her a specific issue portfolio: put her in charge of developing a women's and children's health initiative or outreach with the public schools. Limit her focus, and allow Wolf to do his job. She can still contribute, make an impact, and be a key player on your team.

Second, show some leadership. Put forward an easily achievable but meaningful initiative that you can get passed quickly and that will have as immediate an impact as possible. Speak out on it, make a huge push, and win. Nothing erases criticism like success, but so far we haven't seen ANYTHING tangible coming from the 29th floor but a series of mishaps. You can turn that around with an easy slam dunk that the public will embrace.

Finally, don't accuse your critics of being sexist. Nothing reinforces a person's position against you more than being insulted. If the Funks' genders were reversed, then NO ONE would say it was sexist to criticize a first husband being so involved in so many missteps. You see, Dan, Gloria isn't being like Hillary. She's being like Dick Cheney.

7/10/2007 12:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gloria says Funk doesn't take bribes because he doesn't know what it's like to be "raised Italian."

Is this really true?

7/10/2007 1:02 PM  
Anonymous MidtownMom said...

I think that KCBB did a great job posting on this. Dan seems to be one of a few people that honestly do not think there is a problem at City Hall. Talk to anyone, including Funk's staff, and you will know that floor 29 has no idea whats going on.

7/10/2007 2:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anonymous 1:02PM,

Directly from the magazine, in referring to Gloria's father being "unable to comprehend why Mark didn't take bribes" and bragging about how her grandfather harbored immigrant mafioso.

"We could be sitting real pretty right now. But Funk's not like that. He wasn't raised Italian. He doesn't understand that world."

Apparently Gloria doesn't understand "that world" either. As the old saying goes "those that talk about the mafia don't know, and those that do, don't talk."

7/10/2007 3:04 PM  
Blogger Stephen Bough said...

Dan - you've got me. I will shut and watch. Funk is our mayor for 4 years. I want him to succeed. I want Barnes' economic development to succeed. Didn't know that you were on the "kitchen cabinet."

7/10/2007 3:56 PM  
Anonymous the nitwit said...

This really begs the question, does Gloria request police security for Funk whenever he visits the "Italian part of town" too?

7/10/2007 3:56 PM  
Anonymous Take Care of Tower Park said...

I agree with SB in wanting this city to succeed. I also think that KCBB has been an excellent job reporting.

7/10/2007 4:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok, Dan. So how do defend Gloria stereotyping of Italians?

We could be sitting real pretty right now. But Funk's not like that. He wasn't raised Italian. He doesn't understand that world.

Gloria is coming off as more of a nut everyday.

7/10/2007 9:02 PM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

I know, Anon at 9:02 p.m., I cringed when I read that.

I cringed when I read "the black part of town" before Funk was elected.

Every time she opens her mouth, Funk has another problem.

And the biggest problem is that, as well-meaning as Gloria truly is, she's causing so much harm that true animosity is building up - amoung Funk supporters and detractors and with her - that's going to make things get very ugly, I unfortunately suspect.

If Gloria wants to truly make her husband successful, she should step down. She's becoming the democratic local version of Cheney in the Funk administration.

Except she wasn't elected, wasn't appointed, isn't being paid....

7/10/2007 9:28 PM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

You know, I have a succesfull, strong-willed, gorgeous wife who is by anyone's standard a femi-nazi. She doesn't take crap off of me , much less any one else. She's a self-made, successful female and proud of it.

She told me that of she ever utters the words "I wasn't raised eye-talian" I can feel free to tell her to shut up, in front of a crowd.

In any other context, I would lose a limb.

7/10/2007 9:35 PM  

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