The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, April 5, 2002



It's politics, stupid

You've got to be a little crazy to run for town office. Each year a few more people figure this out and each year we have fewer candidates. For slow learners this budget season provided yet another example that public service is not much fun. The selectmen, school committees, and especially the finance committee, spent endless hours in budget hearings ­ that could have been spent more pleasantly in front of their TVs ­ trying to shoe-horn "level services" budget requests into shriveled war chests. And even kids on the playground have pointed out to their peers that it's not cool to have a parent on the finance committee.

Since most people in Carlisle are smart, it was rather surprising to see three brave or naive souls sign-up as school committee candidates at the town caucus last week. What were they thinking?

At least one of them, Mike Fitzgerald, who has served on the board of selectmen and the finance committee for many years, should have known better. To protect him from making the same mistake again, a Carlisle phantom(s?) sent out an anonymous mailing implying that Fitzgerald has no business running for school committee since his wife is a teacher in the Carlisle school. (See "Candidacy prompts review of ethics laws,") This was clearly for his own good; a competent, long-serving citizen deserves a rest.

But maybe, after watching Hollywood's Academy Awards strategies, the phantom really had the opposite effect in mind. A whispering campaign, hinting that mathematician John Nash harbored dark sympathies, probably helped A Beautiful Mind win an Oscar.

As part of the Mosquito's celebration of its 30th anniversary, we will occasionally reprint some interesting items from our archives. The collection of quotes below, originally published in the March 22, 1985 issue, was culled by former editor Bonnie Miskolczy. For more on Bonnie's contribution.

'I Misquoted Myself'

The following is a reprint of a reprint. The legislative quotes below first appeared in the Rural Montana magazine in the summer of 1984. The Montana newspaper, Big Timber (MT) Pioneer ran them on January 9, 1985. We got hold of the clipping from Barbara Bennett whose son lives in Montana and had sent them to her. We pass on these chuckles as town elections and town meeting decisions approach.

•"Before I give you the benefit of my remarks, I'd like to know what we are talking about."
• "Now we've got them right where they want us."
• "There comes a time to put principle aside and do what's right."
• "Some of our friends wanted it in the bill and some of our friends wanted it out of the bill and Jerry and I are sticking with our friends."

• "I'm not only for capital punishment, but I'm also for preservation of human life."
• "I'm watching everything you do with a fine-toothed comb."
• "The chair wishes the members would refrain from talking about the intellectual levels of other members. That always leads to problems."
• "Let's violate the law one more year."
• "Mr. Speaker, what bill did we just pass?"
• "And in defense of this bill, I can say without the slightest fear of verification"
• "I misquoted myself."
• "I don't know why it is, but every time I take the microphone, some darned fool starts talking."
• "The legislature is entirely too laxative about some matters."
• "I think I know more about this bill than I understand."
• "Of course I'm a man of principle. I'm flexible."
• "The debate on this bill is a rat race and every time I think I'm winning somebody throws in another rat."
• "One of these days, we are going to swallow the bullet instead of biting it."
• "I don't predict that. I say it is going to happen."

2002 The Carlisle Mosquito