In literature, there is a type of character called “the antihero.” He’s a good guy who gets things done by doing things the bad way. Think Batman or Paladin or Sam Spade. He isn’t a hero that’s tragically flawed. He’s a hero who might just as likely be found on the other side, except for some flaw that puts him on the right side of the story.
In fiction, antiheroes are wonderful. Gotham is safer because of Batman’s disregard for such things as due process or Constitutional protections. The West is won due to folks like Paladin who are willing to throw down the shootin’ irons when necessary. Sam Spade gives people their just deserts…but he’ll help himself to a few womanly wiles and massive monetary rewards along the way.
Steve Sweeney must love this genre.
I could honestly care less who chairs the NJDSC. Wisniewski won his fixed election, but I don’t really think it matters much (can you tell I’ve grown cynical?). But what is truly telling is this little factoid:
As Wisniewski’s speech turned inward, probing and inquistive in a vowed quest for new ways of outreach, research and fundraising, Sweeney, and the seldom podium soul searching Cryan, scrappy as a tireless chairman who tonight received two standing ovations for his work, chatted audibly.
This is a huge FU to the incoming chair. It’s a de facto dismissal. Nothing the Wizzer was going to say would be important to Cryan – who is leaving public life (somewhat) – but Sweeney is going to be the top ranking Democratic office holder in the state. Common courtesy dictates that you STFU for twenty minutes and let the man have his spotlight. Not to mention “professional courtesy” and “protocol” and “being a decent human being.”
Leadership? Well, I’m sure you guys saw Vice President Biden and House Speaker Pelosi shoot the bull during the entire State of the Union, right? Yeah, neither did I. You know why? Because they understand that a leadership position comes with the responsibility to be a good follower, too. And that means when your party leader is talking, you remain respectfully silent and act as a cheerleader when appropriate.
Evidently, Steve Sweeney is totally unaware of such things. He isn’t being a leader – not even a tragically flawed leader who brings down ruin upon his house while accomplishing great deeds. He’s an anti-leader, holding a leadership position while doing things he would beat out of anyone under him.
The problem is that, while an anti-hero makes for a good story, they rarely make a good leader in reality. That’s because the rules are generally in place for a good reason, and when you scrape past the veneer of accomplishment of the anti-leader, you find the same old familiar stench of cronyism and corruption.
I hope I’m wrong. The only man who can make it so is Steve Sweeney…and I don’t think he cares to do so.