Friday, August 03, 2007

A Word About my Agendas

Frequent commenter Mainstream commented here yesterday with a complex analysis of the agendas and intrigue behind the David Martin/Beth Gottstein flap I wrote about yesterday. It was an impressive and partially accurate assessment of who supports whom and how an article in the Pitch about one subject is really a result of a different subject and how my criticism of the Pitch really means that I'm supporting Funk (yet again) because Funk opposed . . . At about this time, I had to stop reading because it gave me a headache.

Here's the truth, just so it is out there on the table. I like and support Funkhouser, which means that I criticize his decisions when I think they're wrong, but I object to criticism of him when he's not wrong. I like and support Beth Gottstein. Here's a shock - I like and support Jason Kander, too. I like a few politicians, I don't like a few politicians (as politicians, that is - I have no deeper feeling about them), and I'm on the fence about all of them.

I can assure you that I am in on no hidden conspiracies or media manipulation machines. (If I were, though, I suppose I'd probably deny it, but I think those who know me know that I'm contrarian enough to not go along with something like that.)

Here's the way all that plays out on this blog. I read the paper and blogs, and I see something negative on Funkhouser. 95% of the time, by the time I post about it, it has been sliced, diced, and processed by someone who has an strongly anti-Funkhouser bias, such as Tony's Kansas City or the KC Blue Blog. I'm trying to be fair here, but it's not unheard of that somebody will go far afield in writing about whatever the issue is, by exaggerating its impact, by screwing up the facts, or by just being outright mean and nasty. So my piece will usually be a response to one of those reactions, and we're off to the races, with the anti-Funk people thinking that I'm arguing that he's perfect, or that I'm transcribing copy straight from his press office.

Some confusion arises out of story selection. I don't write about every local story - only what catches my eye and seems worthy of comment. So, if someone writes something unfair about someone I don't admire - let's use Matt Blunt as an example - it probably won't catch my eye. Sometimes it does, and I will voice my opinion that criticism is over the line or whatever, but the truth is that I don't read it as critically. If someone writes something negative about someone I like, I do read it a lot more critically, and I might find something to write about. If David Martin has done his unsourced hatchet job on someone I don't like, I probably would not have noticed it.

Sadly, that's about all there is to the story of my agendas. I will criticize and have criticized Funk when I think he's wrong. Even if he's wrong, though, I will criticize and have criticized those who go crazy in their attacks. There's no chess game going on here - I'm just writing about what catches my eye. If I write a piece slamming or defending anyone or anything, it does not mean that Funk or Gottstein or Kander or anyone else agrees, or wants that opinion published. And even I reserve the right to change my mind. So, please, don't waste your time on venn diagrams and heavy analysis.



Blogger sophia said...


I think that you are committed to the success of certain politicians. You're open about who those politicians are. To the extent that anyone feels the need to call that an "agenda," well, I see nothing nefarious about what you do.

And everybody knows the most amusing agendas show up in the anonymous comments.

8/03/2007 9:33 AM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

Dan, I may accuse you of being many things, but I've never accused you of being manipulative.

In my way of thinking everybody has an "agenda", which is just a plan of getting from one point to another. And people can get from point A to Point B in a straight up manner, through obfuscation or through manipulation.

I made the mistake in my previous post of not clearly distinguishing your agenda as a very straight-up, honest approach to supporting your beliefs, which I believe to be true.

I apologize if you took the post the wrong way and I did not intend characterize you as being manipulative.

8/03/2007 9:38 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

No, Mainstream, you didn't say anything out of line at all, and I'm certainly not offended by your analysis in the slightest. And my first paragraph was intended to be a little fun at the complexity of trying to think through the varying and shifting allegiances in our local political landscape.

Shoot, I may need to start using emoticons to show when I'm writing something in a pissed off mood or in a light-hearted one! ;-)

8/03/2007 9:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Mayor takes a lot of heat because he has done a lot of stupid things since winning the election. I think this has come as a surprise to everyone.

Most of it has to do with involving his wife and daughter in government. It demonstrates a lack of judgment on the Mayor's part.

With regard to The Pitch, the Mayor's office (at least) egged on Martin to trash Gottstein to punish her for standing up against the Semler nomination. The impetus for the story came out of the previous week's column by Martin. Kander was using Martin at the same time to air dirty laundry, and Kander encouraged other sources to shovel (waste products)on Gottstein as well. I received a call from one of the players in this "drama" because I was a key staffer in a campaign that did not make it past the primary this year in the hopes that I would be a source against Gottstein if Martin called. It is my understanding that Kander was behind vetting people for that story, while maintaining plausible deniability. Then Kander went around town early this week trying to distance himself from the smell of what was shoved.

In my opinion Kander is too young and too immature to be given the credence some Democrats are willing to rest in him. He and his wife have no problem playing friends and allies off against each other when it serves their own purposes. He is cute about it, but sometimes too cute.

Dan, I really like reading your blog, but some of the people you like are doing some real damage to this community and the Democrats.

I am not saying "SHUT UP YOU" believe me, I really do like your blog and your posts on other blogs. Even when the trust you extend to some real operators makes me shake my head. But keep up the good work my blogger friend.

8/03/2007 10:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous -

If I really believed the kind of things you claim to know, I would have the courage to try to change them.

Your anonymous, unsourced, unproved, undocumented, illogical accusations are obviously false. It's flat-out ludicrous to suggest that Funkhouser would behave like you anonymously claim. Why would he trust Martin not to turn on him and write the larger story, which would be that the Mayor would be gunning for a council person? Why would Funkhouser even want to punish Beth, when he needs to work with her on far more important issues than Semler in the future? Do you really think he's hung up on water so far under the bridge, and on one person out of so many that opposed him? (I opposed the Semler appointment, and he's not had anything negative published against me, unless he's secretly behind the people at the KC Blue Blog, which seems just slightly far-fetched.)

As for Kander, do you really think that he's gunning for Gottstein now, as he is running for the general assembly and can't afford to alienate anyone? I'd say that he has more than maintain the plausible deniability you suggest - I'd say he has the protection of logical thought.

Jason wasn't even in the country during most of the time this story was being constructed.

Now, let me throw out a totally off the wall, bizarre hypothetical.

What if Martin wrote his story because he suspected that Beth's story was false? I realize that's wildly far-fetched, because it would mean that Martin's telling the truth, and nobody is lying or plotting elaborate schemes.

Ever hear of Occam's Razor?

8/03/2007 11:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Oh, how funny! I just trashed someone for anonymity, and accidentally hit the anonymous button as I was posting! The prior anonymous was me.

8/03/2007 11:02 AM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

When I read the anon post above, I called someone who told me pretty much the exact same thing -- just as the Lahr hit piece came out. I thought they posted it but they didn't. It was someone else.

I also know, as a fact, that Jason Kander had made, on at least one occasion, a comment to a certain individual prior to the release of the Gottstein hit piece disavowing his involvement in it.

Now, I don't have a horse in this race. Yet. But anon's statements and theories above appear to be, if not true, somewhat credible.

Now let's have a talk about honesty, then a quick chat about theorizing, conspiracy, and expecting the worst out of people.

On honesty - often times, as we all know, people are more honest with their enemies, or with the people who they are currently upset with. Think about it, and it's true. And posting anonymously allows people to be more honest as well. As we all know, with our real-world friends we are often times honest, and just as often not-so-honest, because we don't want to hurt their feelings. Anonymity allows us more freedom to be more honest, and to be dishonest as well. But it goes both ways. So don't bag on someone just because they're anons.

On theorizing conspiracies, Dan, why is it that you have absolutely no trouble believing the worst of motivations in the people you dislike (Bush, Cheney, Koster, et al) and treat the people you like as absolute angels? Either you have an incredible instinct for integrity, or you're maintianing a double standard.

8/03/2007 3:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mainstream -
So your argument is that because he disavowed involvement prior to publication of an article everyone knew was coming because the reporter was calling everyone he must have actually been involved?

Whew. Interesting logic. Sounds like he can't win in that equation.

And maybe I'm mistaken but was there anything at all in that article that he or anyone else would have fed to Martin? I mean, if the article had been a collection of mean stories or something, it might fit this crazy conspiracy you and the above anon are pushing, but the vast majority of the article is about a stupid exchange between Martin and Gottstein.

So it appears you're grasping at straws.

No matter which rumor you believe about Kander, it seems pretty well accepted that he's a smart guy and therefore doesn't do counterproductive stuff out of how in the world does it serve his interests to spend a bunch of his time going after Gottstein at this point? If he's as calculating and manipulative as you make him out to be, why would he waste time on such distractions?

I mean, maybe when his wife was on the Gamble campaign I suppose, but why would he do this now? Makes no sense to me.

Is it possible that the guy just disavowed involvement because he wasn't involved and is smart enough to assume people like you would probably assume that he was?

8/03/2007 3:25 PM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

Wow, anon at 3:25, you're way too defensive. I really don't know what happened, but I'm hearing a lot of very interesting things.

And grasping at straws?

Ummmmm NO. I'm theorizing because it's fun and at times enlightening.

And I did not say that Kander was in any way behind the Gottstein hit piece, what I said was I knew for a fact that Kander had made at least one pre-emptive statement ---something the other anon above said was true, so THAT anon may have an iota of credibility.

And he's not alone, there's a ton of talk, especially downtown about the Martin hit pieces that appeared in the Pitch two weeks in a row.

I don't have a conspiracy regarding the Gottstein hit piece just yet, by the way.

But if you're shopping conspiracy theories, I've got one for you about the previous Lahr hit piece. If you're interested. It makes a lot of sense to a lot of people.

8/03/2007 3:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"it seems pretty well accepted that he's a smart guy and therefore doesn't do counterproductive stuff out of spite"

he would if he had an opponent coming up

8/04/2007 3:56 AM  
Anonymous travelingal said...

Before this thread ends up in obscurity, I find I want to say something as well. Everyone has a right to their opinion as they say so here goes. I am opposed to illegal immigration and the resulting problems we have and no one can deny we have problems. The federal government has failed to enforce the laws and employers have been all too happy to hire cheap labor over those who work for the prevailing wage and we all know that labor is in large part illegal. Currently we in my small town are facing yet another bond issue which includes millions just to build a center for english learners who have failed year after year. I have good reason to believe the population is at least half illegal and I'm tired of it. It's costing me money. It hasn't cost me a job, but I know several people, primarily in construction, who are paying the price.

That leads me to the Minutemen and the accusations that they are racist, bigoted, etc., such accusations oftentimes found on this blog, generally in relation to Semler. I don't know this woman but to call her a racist because she belongs to this organization is flat wrong. She probably feels the same way I do and the majority of people in this country do, but she chose to do something about it in her way. I choose to do it through my federal legislators as do millions of other people in this country. If somebody wants to accuse me of being racist, well have at it because I know who I am and I'm not racist.

I've been seething long enough and I'm glad I got this off my chest.

Your faithful conservative.

8/04/2007 1:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll take the advice of conservative officials like Deb Hermann and Bill Skaggs who have spoken with her and have themselves been offended by her. I have seen what Minutemen Chapters and the national President do in other states, and calling them racists do not begin to describe how disgusting that organization is.

8/07/2007 3:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what's your take on the bachelorette thing?

8/25/2007 6:50 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

I like Beth and I think she's a fine bachelorette, but I'm not sure I would be reading Forbes for dating advice.

8/26/2007 10:19 AM  

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