Knowing only what has been reported in the traditional media, I am in no position to say who, if anyone, is right or wrong in this emerging controversy.
This blog deals with politics and perceptions, in case you haven’t noticed. So viewing the matter from such a brutal and cynical perspective, here is what comes to mind:
1. This isn’t a one or two day story. The Vaillancourt campaign is going to have to contend with some truly bad headlines between now and Election Day. Stating that you are going to review legal options is just one step; there needs to be a broader and cohesive communications strategy. Even for a non-partisan, down-ballot race such as this, she is going to need to formulate and articulate a simple narrative regarding her comments and actions that makes sense to the average voter. If she can’t, there is a pathway to a fifth place finish.
2. Regarding those who voted in favor of the Resolution of Disappointment, the optics appear a little bit sketchy. Again, I am not going to get into the merits of the Board’s moves. I just know that some find it interesting that the Board reprimanded Vaillancourt roughly 45 days prior to the primary election (regarding “breaching the confidentiality of closed sessions”) and now 40 days before the general election on this new matter. Yes, issues come up when they arise. I am not saying that the other Board members are engaging in any shenanigans, but – based on the timing alone - they are providing grist for the mill for those who believe that their actions are, at least in part, politically motivated.
3. I have a different perspective than my friend, the Sage of Oakland Mills, MM who argues that Ms. Vaillancourt should take the sensitivity training.
From a realpolitik view, if she agreed to do so (between now and Election Day), it would appear to be an admission that she crossed a line with her comments. A very risky move.
I concur with the implications of the comment made by Long Reach’s answer to Alan Dershowitz in the aforementioned blog post: that all Board Members “should have sexual harassment training annually.” Perhaps the Board can agree to review relevant policies and procedures; of course I am guessing that this might have to wait until after November 4.
Coming soon: another post about timing. And this one has nothing to do with the Board of Education!
Stay tuned, as more will follow.