Sen. Majority Leader Fitzgerald’s 12.19.11 Open Office

One should expect a few things of a politician, and among them one would hope to find honesty, commitment to principle, hard work, and a comfort and ease around his or her constituents.

There’s a video of a recall organizer and potential candidate, Lori Compas, at a town hall meeting of the state senator she hopes to replace, Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald.

First the video, then a few comments on the scene:

The video. It’s of below-average quality. Those attending could and should do a better job of recording these meetings. More than one videographer would be a good idea. (It sounds as though Compas has more than one supporter in the audience.)

Fitzgerald’s seating. This is apparently an ‘office hours’ session for Fitzgerald, and he weakly and defensively sits behind a desk. I’d almost think this was a joke, and someone seated him that way to put him at a disadvantage. There should be no table between Fitzgerald and his constituents. He should either be in a chair, or standing and walking among them.

He looks like he’s a principal at a school’s administrative hearing — not at a congenial, relaxed meeting of a legislator and his constituents. These gentlemen need to be comfortable in crowds. (In the same way, Paul Ryan shouldn’t go to a Labor Day parade and expect people to refrain from asking employment-related questions.)

Next to Fitzgerald at the table is an older woman who looks so stern and frumpy one would think that she was an intentional representation of a severe schoolmarm.

Fitzgerald’s attire. There’s nothing wrong with what he’s wearing, but he should speak without his coat – shirt and tie is sufficient. If he wants to wear the coat into the room, then he should take it off once the meeting begins.

Fitzgerald’s manner. He smiles nervously, and speaks without any particular command. There’s no reason for him to have and hold a water bottle. Fine to take a drink, now and then, but he holds it as though it were a teddy bear.

Compas’s Attire. I’m not sure if she thought about what to wear, or this is how she normally dresses – either way, she’s dressed well for the occasion. The black jacket and turtleneck, with hair pulled up, remind viewers that she’s apparently slender and fit. She looks athletic, in a state that offers diverse outdoor adventures (but where only a minority of middle-aged residents seem fit.) A fussier woman would have dressed up for this occasion; she’s dressed appropriately.

Compas is easily a more attractive woman than Fitzgerald a man. Her simple choice of attire only accentuates the difference between them.

Compas’s manner. She holds her own, against an incumbent legislator and a leader of the GOP. She’s persistent, but not overbearing.

I don’t think that Compas can unseat Fitzgerald, but it says much about how rough-around-the-edges the statehouse GOP leaders are that she handles Fitzgerald so well as she does.

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