Friday, January 25, 2008
Harping On Dan Seals: Come Clean and Tell Prospective Voters You Have Not Taught One Student at Northwestern University (or, tell us when you have!)
HOT UPDATE: By popular demand, here's a link to the Dan Seals mailer that landed all over the 10th District this past Friday. No word as to whether Seals also sent it to his home district (the 9th). For those of you of legal drinking age, TA suggests you may read the mailer with a bottle nearby, and do a shot every time you read the word "change". Just make sure you do it on a night you don't have to go to work the next day. Seals doesn't have that problem, of course.
ORIGINAL POST: I was lucky enough to get a Dan Seals mailer today. It's the first one I've seen, but I'm sure I'm not on the top of Seals' mailing list, so I can't say with certainty that there have not been more.
In the mailer, the campaign claims "Seals is a lecturer on public policy and government at Northwestern University."
At least he is now a "lecturer" and not an "adjunct professor." But that was never really my biggest gripe, anyway (see here for the background on 'professor-gate').
But, because this is really driving me bananas, I have to say this once more, but only once (at least, once more before the primary).
I THINK DAN SEALS IS MISLEADING THE VOTERS OF THE TENTH DISTRICT.
Clearly, the statement in the mailer that "Seals is a lecturer on public policy and government at Northwestern University" is meant to burnish his thin credentials with making people think he teaches at Northwestern. HE DOES NOT. YET. The only evidence of his alleged teaching credentials we can find is that Seals is scheduled to teach a night class beginning in April. He had stated that he 'is currently' an adjunct professor since last October, but has yet to walk into a Northwestern classroom or teach a student.
Am I the only person who thinks that the average Tenth District voter, if they knew the claim Seals was making, and knew the truth about exactly what his experience is, would feel that Seals has lied? If Seals wants to make the argument, as some of his defenders have, that 'technically' since Seals is assumedly under contract to teach a class, he has every right to call himself a professor (or lecturer, or whatever) NOW, without explaining that he has yet to teach a student, I guess he can make that statement, but he better be ready for the backlash of people who feel misled and betrayed.
Sadly, if no one in the mainstream media who has the ability to demand an answer from Seals confronts him with the question, no one in the Tenth District that is not a Team America fan will have the opportunity to decide whether to support Seals, given these circumstances. Because Seals sure isn't defending himself on this blog, although his sycophants have tried. Even other blogs that have noted this story have yet to get a straight answer out of Seals.
I think this goes to Seals' credibility and honesty as a candidate. Am I the only one who thinks these traits are important in a congressman?
I know that reporters from the Chicago Tribune, the Daily Herald and the Pioneer Press frequent this blog. How about it, guys? Your papers have each endorsed Seals over Footlik. It appears that we have a serious claim that Seals is misrepresenting himself, which has been backed up by the Footlik campaign itself. Do you have any interest, any interest at all, in fact-checking this claimed credential? Or does Seals just get a pass?
UPDATED 01.26.08 7:30 a.m.: SEALS FORGETS HE MAILED HIS MAILER:
Everyone- thanks for all the comments since I originally posted this last night, and I'm glad to see that I'm not completely alone in this issue driving me nuts. Some have suggested taking this to NU, but I'm not sure that's really the issue. NU alumni might not be happy that their school is allowing Seals to publicly take this position, but that's between you folks and the school, and your NU donations.
Some of Seals' supporters keep wanting to explain to me how in the 'academic world' calling yourself a professor the second you sign a teaching contract is A-OK, but that's not the point either.
The point is simply this: by not explaining to people that he has never taught an NU class, and won't for some months, Seals is unfairly and improperly hijacking the reputation of NU to gain respect with the voters and get their votes by making them believe he currently is a professor of public policy when he's yet to enter a classroom. Some may say, oh, it's only a little fib, or it's 'mostly' correct, or call it any thing you want. I still believe that if the average voter in the Tenth finds out, they will be extremely upset with Seals and he will lose credibility and votes. If they ever find out.
So, what do we have in the papers this morning? Lots of coverage of Seals, but nothing on professor-gate. See here an article on Seals' fundraising (which we reported on Thursday) in the Daily Herald. The Herald article states that Seals has engaged in meet-and-greets and other avenues in pursuit of voters but has not sent any direct mailings. "We've done no paid advertising. We have a lot of support and we've done a lot of events," Seals said Friday to the Herald (emphasis added). So what, the mailer I got last night and posted on was an illusion? I'm pretty sure the "PAID FOR BY DAN SEALS FOR CONGRESS" note on the mailer would qualify this as "paid advertising." What, did Seals FORGET about this major mailer that would seem to have gone out to just about everyone?
Here's another Herald article about the Dem candidates' positions on so-called universal health care. It's obvious the Herald knows how to do research when it wants to. What's the problem with investigating professor-gate?
Usually the newspaper guys are falling all over each other to break a story. I know one reporter from a major paper that has made some calls on this issue. We're all waiting to see it print, guys...
UPDATED x2 01.26.08 10:30 a.m.: A BETTER PRESS STRATEGY: OK, I have concocted a different approach to get some media attention. Despite what I said above, I am going to keep pushing this thing as much as I can. SOMEONE will eventually have to write about it. Whoever does will break the story wide open, and it appears to me that breaking a story is what really makes a newspaper reporter's day.
So, there you have it. Somebody's going to write about it. Do it first and you get the glory. Have at it.