I was rather perplexed to hear the news of Nancy Mistele running for Dane County Executive next spring. My very first thought upon hearing the news was how far back do conservatives in Dane County need to dredge to find candidates for public office. Nancy Mistele was always more a caricature of a mad conservative than a finely tuned public servant, so why would Republicans want to reprise Mistele in that role for 2009?
Nancy Mistele, in my estimation, was always her own worst enemy, much more so than the press or partisans on the other side could ever be. She never seemed to be overly excited to learn new things while on the Madison School Board, while loving to ape the same old arguments that made for great conservative coffee-klatch talk. But as a result of her actions she always missed the mark among rank-and-file Madison citizens who wanted more depth and less bombast from the school board.
With those thoughts coming back to my mind the other morning while hearing of her desire to take over for Kathleen Falk, I had to assume that the GOP candidate barrel must be pretty dry. Are they truly not able to find a seasoned politician that will find policy more enthralling than bitter political combat. Because that is all that I remember about Nancy Mistele. Her love of the political fight was central to her being on the Madison School Board. And for those who were not around to witness those days, let me assure you it was not pretty. (Though one-on-one Nancy Mistele can be a charming woman. She just does not play well on the bigger stage.)
Her strident and argumentative nature, as displayed over and over again while on the school board, should serve us all with a warning. There is no way in heck that she should be anywhere near the chair where the County Executive sits. A well-measured and highly competent hand at the controls of the County Executive office is what is required when dealing with the county budget, and the competing personalities on the county board. While Kathleen Falk forms working consensus in her job, and the facts prove this to be the case, Mistele seems to enjoy the combat and partisanship that only makes for hard feelings and few results. Dane County’s needs demand the proven skills that Kathleen Falk brings with her every day as County Executive.
The conservatives might be desperate for a candidate, but Dane County deserves better than Nancy Mistele.