It should be a special but essential requirement for an Ogden-area newcomer to avoid mistakes in a political campaign. Step in it and it’s likely the locals will tear apart your carpetbagger candidacy.
So it is with Ogden newcomer David Phipps, running for city council. He’s made some highly visible pratfalls in his campaign, as reported by Scott Schwebke in the Standard-Examiner today.
Phipps is blaming the faux endorsements of two local VIPs on miscommunication with his campaign manager, who happens to be based in Salt Lake City, at the University of Utah. Longtime residents are easily drawn to the inquiry, “Why is he using someone from Salt Lake when we have plenty of sharp people who could run a campaign right here in Ogden?” Let the savaging commence. It is a good question.
It’s been said of Ogden, in obvious overstatement but retaining enough truth to sting, “Ninety-five percent of the people are the nicest you’ll ever meet; but the other 5 percent are the meanest you’ll ever meet.” The funny aspect to me, though, is that it’s not always the Ogden natives who are the stars of Troop Mean. Some of the half-life locals can be off the charts.
How ironic is it, for instance, to hear an Ogdenite criticize a newcomer for using out-of-town talent or committing some other un-Ogden act, when that same Ogdenite was, at one time, a carpetbagger himself or herself from some other netherworld? Let me be clear: I just think it’s amusing. I’m not offended by it. There’s nothing inherently wrong about it. Perhaps it merely demonstrates that there is some validity to that Five Percent Rule and that just being here for a few years moves some people into the Ogden hypercritical group.
More likely, it’s only naturally reflexive, anywhere, to grasp the “he’s not one of us, he’s one of them” attitude when confronted by a newcomer’s candidacy. Do you want to trust the new guy, or Joe down the street?