Sunday, May 19, 2013

DR. McKalip's Political Problem

Recently I had the opportunity to sit down with Dr. David McKalip over lunch to talk about some issues and some politics.
Like most of the medical professionals I know, especially surgeons, David McKalip is intense.  The guy is smart, articulate, passionate, informed and strongly opinionated. When you routinely hold someone's life in your hands, I think those characteristics go with the job description.
Also part of that job description is self-confidence and not being overly concerned about what dissenters say.
That description sums up Dr. McKalip, the physician, and also to some degree Dr. McKalip, the activist/politician.
As an activist, Dr. McKalip has made a few sparks and a fair amount of smoke, but he has really not made much headway with the administration or the City Council.
He appears to be viewed as more of a political gadfly at times along the lines on Emily Rogers Coyeman (This is a sincere compliment as many long time City Council watchers will understand. Emily was one of my favorite people).
These are people who come regularly to City Council with well thought out valid points of view that are generally ignored by those on the dais.
Now comes Dr. David McKalip, the candidate.
Several of the local political "operatives" would probably like to take McKalip on as a client: He is articulate, good looking, strong from a career perspective, has popular strategic positions,  probably has some money,  but the opinion is he just not controllable. And by control here, I mean that he may lack the ability to sit down and listen to people whose career is politics, and glean the valuable insight into how to get elected without sacrificing principles.
Political operatives are not miracle workers; they are just very talented folks who understand the politics and function of running a campaign. They don't like to lose, it's bad for business, and they frequently see candidates who don't listen like Dr. McKalip as ticking time bombs.
When your day job is to be absolutely sure you’re right, it can be pretty hard to listen to some guy who only made it through three years of college tell you you're wrong.
Indeed, in our conversation, when challenged about a position McKalip's pushback is pretty intense.
Then there is the whole issue of Dr. McKalip, the City Council Member.
The current City Council is not as dumb as it is dysfunctional. If you join this group thinking you're going to reform the process and save the City, you will likely be in for a rough ride.
The reason why the LENS and red light cameras, for example, made it this far is strong consensus building among a majority of the sitting council members. Local politics is a consensus business and you don't build a consensus by regularly pointing out how stupid your fellow council members are, even if you are right.
We have seen our share of political activists elected to City Council and generally they have not been very effective.
If Dr. McKalip could take a step back, gather a campaign group that is not afraid of him, restrain the desire to show up at every City Council meeting and berate council for their latest silly move, he could give Darden Rice a serious challenge.
Right now all Rice has to do is sit quietly on a big campaign war chest and let Dr. McKalip self-destruct.
And that is probably why the Rice Campaign has yet to respond to my post, It’s Time to Go On the Record.
e-mail Doc at:, or send me a Facebook Friend request.
Campaign Disclosures: Contributor to Darden Rice Campaign

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