Jack Wilson's declaration that "hate's a good thing," in his inaugural remarks as new chairman of the Lucas County Democratic Party, has certainly stirred controversy.
It appears that's what he meant to do, since the comment came in the context of the importance of internal friction in maintaining competition and interest in party politics.
At the risk of being labeled politically correct, however, we would suggest that Mr. Wilson's poor choice of words has instead handed his opponents inside and outside the party a convenient issue that will prove to be anything but beneficial for the already divided Democrats.
Mr. Wilson, who hails from the labor wing that has taken over the party's leadership, seemed to be making the point that a certain amount of tension within the ranks can be a constructive force, and that he would not expend an undue amount of effort in trying to heal party divisions left over from 2001's Democrat-against-Democrat mayoral race.
In one sense, Mr. Wilson, a building trades union official, is right on the mark. After all, Democrats always fight among themselves. If they didn't, they wouldn't be Democrats.
Unfortunately, Mr. Wilson's approving use of such a loaded word as "hate" detracted from the message he was trying to convey. It's easy to imagine that his quote will come back to haunt him, either from fellow Democrats in the expected primary contest for mayor later this year or from opposition Republicans in the general election.
Even Mr. Wilson's supporters, including former mayor Carty Finkbeiner, who is courting labor support for a possible mayoral run, struggled mightily to put a positive spin on his remarks. Others, like Mayor Jack Ford and Councilman Frank Szollosi, suggested that the overstatement was a grave mistake that may drive voters into the arms of the Republicans.
Democrats in Toledo and Lucas County may, as Mr. Wilson said, "win all the time," but it's also true that nothing, including political dynasties, lasts forever. Perhaps he has heard the old adage that "loose lips sink ships."
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