Nov 13, 2008

Facebook defeats the old-school candidate

Someone has a wee problem with stereotypes--and Web 2.0:
A county treasurer who lost her bid for a fourth term last week to a 20-year-old Dartmouth College student from Montana blames her failed candidacy on "brainwashed college kids."

Republican Carol Elliott said students just voted for the Democratic ticket, which included Dartmouth junior Vanessa Sievers. Sievers won by nearly 600 votes out of 42,000 cast after targeting voters at Dartmouth and Plymouth State University through a $42 ad on the Web site Facebook.

"It was the brainwashed college kids that made the difference," Elliott, 66, told the Valley News of Lebanon. She said she had little faith that Sievers will fulfill her duties adequately.

"You've got a teenybopper for a treasurer," said Elliott, who has held the position for six years. "I'm concerned for the citizens of Grafton County."
So am I. They're about to be overwhelmed by a torrent of competence, all thanks to social networking.

Maybe Facebook does have a good side.


Nentuaby said...

Your last comment seems totally unwarranted. Granted, the winning candidate may very well be very competent, but there's little in that article to base that conclusion on. Stating that she "manages her family finances" and has "thoroughly researched investment options" strike me as very faint praise indeed.

Don't you think you're letting your opinion of a clearly flawed candidate positively bias you toward her opponent?

Jim Anderson said...

This, on the other hand, is the downside of virtual communication, including Web 2.0: tone doesn't always translate. I thought the phrase "torrent of competence" was clearly hyperbole, and form of gentle, Horatian satire. Apparently not.

Forrest said...

I've never met Vanessa, but there has been a fair amount of discussion of this particular race all over campus. At first I sympathized with the incumbent who was unseated largely because many people in Grafton county (college students or otherwise), voted the straight ticket, and not because of any failing of her own. However, from what I've heard about the position, Vanessa should be competent enough. There will be oversight of her investment decisions, and she does have a general plan.

Elliot did not help her case at Dartmouth by calling the students "brain-washed," which is not something our student-body hivemind takes kindly to. Some Dartmouth students might be described as insulated from the outside world, but there is such a wide variety of opinions and discussion on every issue it would be naive to call them brainwashed.

Only time will tell how reckless Grafton county's decision was, but on the whole I don't feel nearly as nervous as I did when I first heard the results.

Here's an interview with Sievers from today's college newspaper.

Also, Elliot's indictment of Grafton County becomes much better if you give her a Scooby-Doo Villan's voice. "Now you've got a teenybopper for a treasurer. Curse you brainwashed meddling kids!"