The single most difficult aspect of being the challenger in an election is finding a way to criticize without complaining. The challenger is automatically put in the position of finding fault with the incumbent and the tone is accordingly negative. To criticize in a creative way, not destructive, is an artful science I have not yet mastered.
There's going to come a point during a debate with the incumbent on the subject of Public Safety when Mayor Jackson is going to admit certain imperfections and then plead for patience, agreeing that things got pretty bad under Willie Lovett but that her administration is working on making things better. And I'm going to be stuck in a chorus that sings the litany of loss that no one wants to hear.
It sorta reminds me of an old story that Paul McCartney likes to tell about his songwriting partnership with John Lennon: Paul remembers John as being the salt added to his sugary confections, the sardonic wit that laced silly love songs. They were working on a tune in which Paul sang the opening line: "It's getting better all the time," and John answered with "It couldn't get much worse."
And so it goes.
There's going to come a time when Mayor Jackson and I will be singing the same tune; she'll be Paul and I'll be John, and the voter will decide between us.
I am not here to tell you what's wrong with the City of Savannah. We all know what's wrong, whether or not we know how it got that way and who's responsible. I'm not here to point fingers; I'm here to point the way toward fixing the problem. Just because I address an issue doesn't mean I'm being negative. But that is the first line of defense coming from an administration that has no defense for its failures and lapses, that anyone who dares to speak up is being "negative".
And the band played on.