I was positively giddy the day Carty Finkbeiner announced he wanted to be our mayor yet again and was only too happy to write a column about his "Carty Party," that carefully orchestrated event confirming his intentions.
In response, I received the usual volume of phone messages and e-mails. But two voice mails got stuck in my mind, and I haven't yet been able to sweep them away.
One of these phone messages was from a woman who began by saying that she was calling because her trouble was boredom - namely, the boredom engendered by finding Carty Finkbeiner's name once again in something I'd written. Please, she begged. Please, please, please. Don't start hammering Carty again. Give the guy a break this time around.
On the other hand, then there was the phone message from a man who, in an almost jubilant tone of voice, essentially said: Thank God! It's about time you had Carty for snack food again! Let's hope he wins, if for no other reason than you and "Hizzoner" could lock horns for another four years and amuse the populace.
Here's the truth: I'm ambivalent about the mayoral race, especially the Finkbeiner candidacy. You know how people always talk about Good Carty vs. Bad Carty?
Well, I might have more sympathy for Carty than I knew, because when it comes to this mayoral race, Good Roberta is wrestling Bad Roberta.
Good Roberta understands that Toledo is overdue for a thorough airing of the issues. She knows that these issues are too important to be overshadowed by the trivialities of candidate quirks. Good Roberta would not want to treat the mayor's race as little more than a contest for high-school prom king.
So what if one of the office seekers mangles the King's English? So what if another candidate seems two-dimensional? And so what if, for that matter, the incumbent is about as fiery as the Ice Age?
Good Roberta knows we should evaluate candidates by the strength of their ideas, not their charisma.
Bad Roberta, on the other hand, is pretty sure that good leaders are more than just the sum of their ideas. She knows that, in the real world, the intellectual sturdiness of a mayor may not mean as much as his or her ability to bring on the sizzle. She knows that, sad to say, the ability to express an idea clearly can sometimes even be more important than the idea itself.
Bad Roberta knows we should not evaluate candidates by charisma - but she also knows we dismiss the quality of personal dynamism at our own peril.
Both Robertas hope that she and both Cartys can keep their equilibrium in these days leading up to the primary.