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Vote for Me: I'm Endorsed by Kids!

I came home last night to a big stack of mail, almost all of it fliers for candidates in the Sept. 12 primary elections. The verbiage in these ads is not exactly notable: I learned that candidates variously

--want "to make our government more responsive,"

--"helped save taxpayer money,"

--have "real-world experience,"

--champion "real change,"

--have "been a leader,"

--are "putting families first,"

--have "a real plan,"

--"will fight for public safety,"

--and are "getting results."

But we knew all that. What stood out as I pored through the stack of fliers was the number of candidates who thought it would be awfully helpful to voters if we could see photos of the candidates surrounding themselves with, sitting with, and being stared at by...children.

Judging from the looks of the kids in all these photos, few if any of them are actually related to the various candidates. Nor are they likely to be registered voters, though in the District, at least, you never really know. These children do not appear to have parents nearby. Rather, the kids seem to spend their time with political candidates, watching the candidates page through books, point at computer screens, or sign documents. The kids, rather unlike my own offspring and their friends, seem utterly captivated by these activities. I have decided to suggest to my kids that next time they offer that they are "bored," we should ring up some political candidates, who will be only too happy to pop over and stand around and smile with them.

At first, I was cynical enough to think that perhaps hanging around with random children was not exactly the activity I was looking for in my next mayor, council member or member of Congress. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that these are indeed the candidates I should punch my ballot for: These are the politicians who will not waste their time and my money passing new laws, taxes and other restrictions on the behavior of citizens. No, these are the politicians who stand ready to solve our nation's child care problem. If elected, they will take kids off the dangerous streets and enrich their lives with long days of smiling in semi-circles, searching for empty classrooms in which they can stare at blackboards together, and sitting down to examine large stacks of documents.

My mail helped me so much: I am now prepared for Election Day. And this time, I'm bringing the whole family to the polls--hey, maybe my candidates will be there, ready to take delivery of the kids.

By Marc Fisher |  September 1, 2006; 7:28 AM ET
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No politician in America ever lost a vote by advocating more money for kids or education, because, as we all know, "they're our future!"

Posted by: Stick | September 1, 2006 9:44 AM

Pity the children of D.C. The real story is that during both Fenty's and Cropp's tenure their so-called leadership still has not substantively changed D.C.'s low educational achievement, unaffordable housing rate, expanding homelessness, rising HIV-AIDS infections, more random violent crime, increasing joblessness, middle-class displacement and expanding population of poverty-locked D.C. citizens. All of this heavily hurts the kids they use as props. At the quality and rate of achievement that Cropp and Fenty operate from, we won't see any major improvements in D.C. before the next ten years or generation of D.C. kids. Forget the campaign hype. We need real change and action now. I value my vote with a better and more intelligent choice:

Posted by: Keepitreal | September 1, 2006 10:30 AM

Mr. or Ms. Keepitreal...
Bravo...Ditto...and Amen to all that!
Using kids as human political shields rings as phony and very wrong...candidate integrity is what counts...and few or no DC candidates get my vote on that point.

Posted by: Cleveland Park | September 1, 2006 10:52 AM

Of course it must be mentioned that some of the candidates' ads, at least, do display their own families, which include children.

Keepitreal: if you do pity our children, I expect that, in addition to supporting a single-digit candidate, you also apply your free time to something like: Volunteering at a local school or library, mentoring or tutoring a child, working to improve environmental health issues like air or water quality, improving pedestrian safety, or closing neighborhood drug houses.

Really, there are endless practical hands-on opportunities to make a difference, and they aren't limited to the duration of a campaign cycle.

Posted by: Mark | September 1, 2006 11:26 AM

I was at a MoCo candidates forum in Bethesda this week and every candidate stood for better schools, health care, and public transportation (except if the public transportation came close to some country clubs, then some people were opposed.) I'm voting for all of them,who is going to vote against any of those things? I also noticed that the bulk of the audience was over 70 and they probably don't have any kids in public schools - but they sure get out to vote. Thank goodness someone does.

Posted by: MoCo | September 1, 2006 11:30 AM

Who or What is this "Moore for the People."
He or she is not on the ballot under a Party designation in the September 12 primary. Nor did this Moore pick up petitions (nor file any petitions by the August 30 deadline) to run as an Independent in the November 7th election.(Source: DC Board of Elections and Ethics). At best this person is a write-in who didn't have the means, interest or desire to qualify for the ballot.
Like the unreal JR Rees of Ward 3--just ignore the rants from this poor soul and his imaginary supporters.

Posted by: Ghostbusters 2 | September 1, 2006 11:50 AM

By all means, bring the kids. My dad brought me into the voting booth with him until I was 8 or so and got embarassed by it. All parents ought to do this.

Posted by: Josh | September 1, 2006 12:51 PM

I plan on running for office one day... it's why I only keep friends that are grade school teachers who will get me an endless supply of kids to look enthralled at my every move as if I was David Copperfield or David Blaine, or hang on my every word as if I was telling them a dirty joke they want to hear but their parents would never let them. I hear that's how candidates get the kids to look so engaged - the word 'poop' to six year olds in a classroom will seal the deal for capturing all the great photos I'll need to be elected the 47th president of these united states.

Posted by: corbett | September 1, 2006 2:55 PM

My little boy has yet to endorse a candidate for Ward 6 Council Person. So far he's only gotten to review the literature from Leo Pinson and Tommy Wells. He "helped" sign a petition for Will Cobbs. Petition signing was the least fun, because it was brief and he didn't get to hold on to anything in the end. I think the literature will go further in landing his endorsement. Well's brochure was tastier. Pinson's flier was thicker and felt different from the usual household offerings. Hard to say where his endorsement will land.

But, hey, if anyone actually cares we'll be sure to keep you up to date ;).

Posted by: potomac ave metro rider | September 1, 2006 4:06 PM

What I liked, earlier this week, was when the Paul Strauss pollsters read their into and said he had three children. I said to the woman who called, "Really? Tell them congratulations, his wife didn't look pregnant when I saw her last week"!


And Bill Rice's claim, "Only I can fix the schools". I believe he has the skills to talk about whoever does fix the schools, but as a former spokesman and press flack, I am not sure where his claims of experience are drawn from.

The Ward 3 race is simply surreal.

Posted by: Luke | September 1, 2006 5:03 PM

"Ghostbusters 2" is way off the mark regarding Republican mayoral candidate Dennis Moore, and is obviously a very amateur political analyst and historian. Genuine Republicans don't file petitions and switch political parties just to get elected. Any principled Republican candidate runs on or off (write-in) the ballot staying true to the party's 152 year legacy. Statistically, in D.C., gathering support and signatures from a diminishing population of District Republicans is a feat next to impossible. Getting attention from the Democratic front-runner-focused D.C. news media is a cruel joke. Any Republican, in a nearly 90% Democratic controlled city, needs great courage and strategies to take the journey of a candidate for public office against these odds. It takes no courage or intelligence to be a critic. As an Independent, I admire Moore's tenacity, and what he stands for as presented on his website. If he hangs in there, Mayor Moore will have my vote in November.

Posted by: Democrasee | September 1, 2006 10:30 PM

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