This past Saturday there were several movies on television about the late president John F. Kennedy. After watching a few of them, it was very obvious that in the beginning, after he was elected, he was not the president that the American people elected — his father was. Every move the president made was apparently his father’s order, suggestion, or recommendation, even the appointment of the US Attorney — his own brother Bobby Kennedy — which the president did not agree to and Bobby did not want. Apparently every politician — any person running for office — has a “father” in the background telling him or her what to do. There’s an old saying: “Behind every successful man is a woman”; but it may not apply when it comes to politicians. For them, we may have one that works better, whether the politician is male or female: “Behind every winner of an election is a ‘father’ telling the candidate-elect what to do and reminding said politician who helped get them elected.” Possibly the only elected official who did not fall for that line was the late Governor Kenny Guinn, who was brave enough to remind a friend who walked into his office unannounced while he (Guinn) was on the telephone that he was the governor and it was not the other way around. As the story goes, the friend walked in while the governor was on the phone; because he was a “close friend” who had “placed” him in the governor’s mansion (sounds like a campaign manager, doesn’t it?) and he was “too busy” to wait for the top politician in the state to get off the phone, he dropped some names on the desk and told (maybe “ordered”) the Governor to “appoint these people”; and then the “very busy” friend walked out. As the story-teller continued, “The governor may have finished the telephone conversation or just cut it short because he caught up with the friend in front of the elevator, and in a strong (not loud) voice, the governor told his friend to take his papers with the names of the ‘appointees’ and do whatever he wanted with it. He said, ‘I am the Governor and don’t you forget it!’ and walked back to his office.” But that is the exception to the rule in politics. There are not many people like the late governor — most candidates who hire a campaign manager really think the person will get them elected, and that when they win, “owe” it to that person. That is the thinking of a fool. Campaign managers DO NOT elect candidates; voters, constituents, do; more than one person elects the candidate; don’t let anyone fool you. You, the candidate, won the election because people in your district, your ward or whatever the region, voted for you. Being naive enough to assume that a campaign manager is an ally, a confidant or a friend, is a mistake that could cost the candidate — at the very least — embarrassment; and besides, we all know what happens when we assume. Election time is a year away, but those “suitcase pimps” are working overtime to recruit their victims, and the victims are very proud to announce that they “were lucky enough” to have so and so to run their campaign. Money, money and more money is the only motivation they have to help a candidate get elected, not what is best for the community. Campaign managers don’t care if the candidate wins or loses; they already have the reason their candidate lost the election — which most likely is the candidate’s fault — handy on the chalkboard of their mind to “explain” what went wrong. Just because a campaign manager “elects” his wife to the bench, does not make him the best campaign manager. In fact, one particular campaign manager is getting “too old” to be out there “helping” other candidates to get elected; that would be too much work for him, especially when he needs to work full time helping his wife to get reelected to the county commission. After all, it is very important to him that his wife maintain her status quo in the community so that they can keep up the image of being important people. It is my opinion that campaign managers generally grab the money and run; no more driving around with a pile of yard signs and pretending to be “working hard” for the client; no more calls to raise money; no more involvement in fundraisings except to show up at the party to collect other “victims” and a paycheck for the possibility of their candidate being elected to the office for which he or she is running. Are we going to believe that Sheriff Gillespie’s campaign manager is the one who elected him to the position he now holds? Sheriff Gillespie won the election because he was anointed through the inheritance program that they have at the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department: Moran passed the torch to Keller, who passed it to Bill Young, who passed it to Gillespie. We hope that the candidates in this election year will remember that IF the election is fair and square — as they claim it to be — the only people that can elect them will be those who are allowed to vote. Their campaign manager, then, can claim his or her one vote in the victory dance. My name is Rolando Larraz, and as always, I approved this column. Rolando Larraz is Editor in Chief of the Las Vegas Tribune. His column appears weekly in this newspaper. To contact Rolando Larraz, email him at: Rlarraz@lasvegastribune.com or at (702) 699-8111.
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