Maybe Hoppy needs to re-evaluate his observation skills.
The reality of this whole situation is probably still already decided, however. The Selection Committee will still pick Garrison, and that will be the choice the Faculty have to live with. It was interesting to see in the Gazette's article on this, that the Student Government reps on the Selection Committee are for Garrison. Well, of COURSE they are. They know that if they support the done deal choice for Garrison, Garrison will be more apt to help those little climbers in a few years when they need a good suckass job in government, or with one of Garrison's business contacts. And the Gazette didn't disappoint in that it spent more time talking about how the student reps were dazzled and wowed by Garrison, as opposed to the actual reasons why the faculty senate voted the way it did. Garrison spoke glowingly of how he thought he had the students' support, but surprisingly lost his voice when asked about the faculty senate vote. The Gazette's preference for Garrison has been well documented by Hippie Killer over at the Fifth Column.
The faculty can make Garrison's life a little more difficult with this vote if the outrage over Garrison is sustained. Or more likely, the outrage over his selection will eventually flame out and he'll coast along, making 300 grand with a house, car, expense account, etc., for a job he's not remotely qualified for, but more than connected enough for. I'd call that par for the course for West Virginia. That's what happened with Davey Boy. Joe Simoni and some other faculty tried to fight the Hardesty selection in the courts at the time, but were rebuffed every time and eventually the hubub died down, and Dave has led the University to........ uh.......... um........now. If there were massive improvements to WVU's academic standing in the last 12 years, I'm pretty sure I've missed it.
Then again, maybe this will be an instance where the politicos and ruling government class will take note of what the people want, and re-examine their search process. That would be the best outcome. But I'm not betting on it.
But the real story here is, how this situation is almost in verbatim conjunction with this blog's stated purpose, going back to my very first post over two years ago where I stated:
In the realm of talk radio, Hoppy Kercheval's Metro News Talkline is probably the most important talk radio show on West Virginia politics, but again, he's a bit too cozy with some of the political elite on occasion.Hoppy, for almost a solid week now, has done nothing but pimp for Garrison, while in the next breath immediately professing he doesn't have any inside information, and tries to come off as "impartial."
The most egregious act of pimpage, however, came yesterday in Hoppy's column. He fawned over how "well" Garrison did at his Q&A session with the faculty. Oh yes, he managed to handle "every" question with the perfect answer. Let's review Hoppy's column.
Garrison was at his fortress best yesterday afternoon as he stood before over 300 WVU faculty, staff and students and took questions and comments for 90 minutes.
Finally, The Fortress was on his turf, answering the criticisms and questions about his qualifications for the WVU Presidency.
According to Hoppy, who was at the Q&A session, Garrison was at his "best," answering the questions (Hoppy nicknamed Garrison "The Fortress" during his days in the Wise administration).
On his modest academic accomplishments: “I have a different background.”
Well, no kidding. What a BRILLIANT answer. And this is what Hoppy classifies as handling himself well? Saying “Uh, you are right, I don’t have the same education background as almost every other higher education president in the country but I should get this job anyway because of who my friends are,” is a good answer? How is that addressing the issue? Admitting he’s not got the background that faculty is looking for (and is the accepted background in all but a few similar positions in the whole country) you are looking for, is somehow a “good” answer? Hoppy, come on. Don’t patronize us.
On his age, 38: “I have the energy level, the passion, the fire in the belly” to do the job.
Well, there you go. Slam dunk. He says he’s got the energy to do this job. That’s a clincher.
On his connections to the search committee and the Board of Governors: “There is no conflict of interest.”Who knew that Garrison would use the Jedi Mind trick on the audience? Stunningly brilliant. More telling, however, is that it apparently worked on Hoppy. He should have followed this up with “These aren’t the droids you are looking for.” Obviously, if he says there's no conflict of interest, there isn't one. Who knew it was that simple?
On his priorities: Number one, more pay for faculty and staff.No shit? He wants more money for faculty and staff pay? He probably wants world peace too. And puppies for everyone. Just how is he going to acquire more money for faculty and staff? Last I checked, he was running Wise’s administration when 10% budget cuts were the yearly norm for Higher Education. With friends like him, I doubt Higher Ed in West Virginia can handle too many more enemies. And I don’t recall any Fanny Seiler columns when he was Tax Commissioner telling everyone how he managed to jack up the salaries of Tax Department employees. Based on this record of acquiring funds for salaries while he was in charge, if I were an employee of WVU, I’d hold off on spending my raise just yet. I know, call me crazy.
On the ever-expanding University: “Growth for growth’s sake is a mistake”Really? Did he get that off the back of a fortune cookie? Nice soundbite. I’m sure he practiced it over and over in front of the mirror before he took the podium. He probably even believes it. Well, at least we know he won't allow growth for "growth's sake." Whew. That's a relief. I'm sure that was a big concern the faculty had.
Yes, Garrison held his own, not with soaring vision or excessive higher education speak, but with a cool, collected demeanor that showed he has confidence he can do the job, even if some academics think otherwise.So, “cool, collected demeanor” trumps substantive answers? Cliches and soundbites trump specifics? Jeez, Hoppy, you sure are easy to please. How about, “I just want to give 110%.” Or “We have to play them one game at a time.” Or “We are going to work hard, and do our best.” I guess that would be “holding his own” too?
Garrison was helped by the fact that during the limited time frame some of the faculty questions were self-absorbed monologues that lacked punctuation and purpose. By the time a couple of the questioners finished their painful posturing it was a relief to listen to Garrison, even if he had nothing substantial to say on the subject.So, some of the faculty questions were self absorbed monologues, and that is bad, but Garrison answers with nothing substantive, and 100% clichéd and political “rah-rah” answers, and that’s good? This is example A of why this State’s media is pathetic. Hoppy lets EVERY SINGLE FREAKING politico on his show give those “self absorbed monologues” as the answers to HIS questions, and then he NEVER challenges them. Hoppy will ask a straightforward question, and the politico gives the equivalent of a “self absorbed monologue,” as their answer, and then Hoppy takes it and moves on. He NEVER pins them down, and they KNOW they can get away with softball answers on his show. Why? Because Hoppy’s livelihood DEPENDS on his access to them. If they don’t go on Hoppy’s show, because Hoppy calls them on their bullshit, then Hoppy has no show. Hoppy knows this, so he never calls them on their bullshit. And he’s going to need access to Garrison if he’s the next President (and Hoppy knows he’ll be the next President, regardless of what he says on his show), so he gobbles up his bullshit too, and prints glowing, fawning, puff pieces on him on Metronews’ website.
A few faculty members said afterward that Garrison won them over, or at least they were not as worried about him as they were before they heard from him. When it was over, most of his critics' cannon shots had whizzed by The Fortress or, if they made contact, barely caused a splinter.
"They whizzed right by, or only caused splinters?" A 47-5 vote in the WVU Faculty Senate would indicate otherwise. Some of them, apparently, landed squarely in his wheelhouse and exploded. Nice job, Hoppy, you completely misread (or misrepresented) the faculty response to the Q&A session. But hey, don't let that get in your way of your constant pimping for Garrison. We know you need access to him for your livelihood. It's just a shame you can't put that aside, once in a while, and give us the straight story, and call "Bullshit" on occasion.