WDEL Blog: Allan Loudell

Governor Markell cuts short Indian trade mission to come home in aftermath of courthouse bloodshed

Governor Markell will abort his Indian trade mission to come home in response to the shootings at the New Castle County courthouse.

Think about it. What will the Governor be able to do in response HERE that he couldn't do from halfway around the world, given modern telecommunications? After all, a trade mission to that burgeoning part of the world is presumably important for Delaware too.

But it's about political symbolism: Some had already castigated this Governor for devoting too much time to the national stage in his capacity as head of the National Governors' Association, then spending time out of the country: First, hanging out with the international elites in Davos, Switzerland (although the NGA picked up the tab), and then, just a couple of weeks later, the Governor's visit to the Indian subcontinent.

Doubtless the Governor and his inner circle just decided the criticism about his absences might gain traction this time with a wider audience, with Markell physically halfway around the world while Delaware deals with the horrific aftermath of the carnage at the New Castle County courthouse.

Yet bluntly, does the Governor's physical location really matter in this case? Will his expedited return to Delaware alter the investigation in any way - or - alter discussions about any security enhancements? Doubtful. It costs the taxpayers the same amount for the return trip.

But symbolism matters greatly in politics.

Meanwhile, pity Wilmington's new Mayor Dennis Williams. He consistently campaigned on a platform to reduce the city's deadly gun violence. Then he gets this.

This tragedy didn't even occur within the normal jurisdiction of the Wilmington Police Department - and it had nothing to do with the city's drug wars - but the shootings will be added to the city's mounting tally.

Posted at 8:20am on February 12, 2013 by Allan Loudell

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Comments on this post:

Mike from Delaware
Tue, Feb 12, 2013 10:18am
I seem to remember Governor Christie getting criticized when he was out of the state during some big blizzard a few years ago. So I guess that might have something to do with our Governor Markell coming home. However, I then and now still say, what difference does it make? The Gov can do whatever he/she has to do, be they here in Del or NJ or in India or wherever.

Tue, Feb 12, 2013 11:49am
I agree with Mike. The fairly recent case of Governor Christie being in Florida when snow hit, is fresh in our governor's mind.

It also raises the question of the appropriateness of his being in India to begin with. His willingness to return so fast, when he really cannot help, displays a level of guilt.

Tue, Feb 12, 2013 1:35pm

Agreed with Mr. Loudell. There's really nothing more that the governor can accomplish by physically being in Delaware. He's not going to personally investigate the courthouse shooting.

It's sort of a no win situation that the governor could get criticized for being aware during a crisis, or he could be criticised for coming home for the sake of political posturing.

Allan Loudell
Tue, Feb 12, 2013 3:03pm
Doubtless the Governor will personally visit the affected families to extend psychological support.

Personal contact. Remember, now former Mayor Jim Baker came under heavy criticism for NOT lending that personal touch to families of crime victims.

Allan Loudell

Tue, Feb 12, 2013 3:21pm
We need to put away this notion that being away is bad for political figures. It is what they need to do. Quite possibly this shooting yesterday, by bringing him back, could prevent a half-Trillion-dollar deal from being conceptualized between India and Delaware. Obviously, such a deal gets finalized over the course of time, far more important than coming back where really there is nothing substantial one could do.

The reason it is better to be away than here? As any sales manager tells their sales staff, and I'm sure the advertising staff of WDEL/WSTW is no exception, you have to get out, press flesh, to get closures...

Those armchair invalids left criticizing politicians for "always being out of state", don't really care one way or the other. They are simply using it in order to throw some negativity on someone who is otherwise untouchable.

As Allan mentioned, all details could be handled abroad. Timothy Geitner does it all the time. Secretary Clinton did it all the time. Every CEO does it all the time.

When a state is running on automatic pilot, as does an airplane at 30,000 feet for hours, being available is necessary, but being hands-on, is not.

It is unfortunate this occurred. Historically, the bond committee break during legislature is the best time for any Governor to get away. Castle, Carper, Minner, and Markell always arrange trips between the State of the State address, and the Assembly's return after the Bond Break. Likewise, the other topic - criticism over his relations with the General Assembly - is also for this reason, an anomaly because at this time of year, usually the General Assembly is a mush. They are pigeonholing each other, trying to figure themselves out, and not voting on important items. The Kinder Morgan deal is rare that it hit the first two weeks of a legislative session... particularly while the governor's attention was pre-arranged to be focused elsewhere.

I predict we will see more focus from the executive branch at which point the General Assembly returns and we head towards the deadline of June 30th...

Allan Loudell
Tue, Feb 12, 2013 3:56pm

All you say makes a lot of sense. But don't underestimate - in the rough & tumble world of politics - foes making political hay out of the Governor's absence...

Allan Loudell

Tue, Feb 12, 2013 8:35pm
I've confirmed with absolute certainty that Thomas Matusiewicz, the courthouse shooter, was a postal retiree from the Hare's Corner post office. Uncomfortably close to home for me!

Tue, Feb 12, 2013 8:36pm
I would argue that being away is considered okay for Democrat politicians, but no Republicans.

The double standard marches on!

Wed, Feb 13, 2013 12:20am
I'm sorry Mr. Pizza. I know that is a shock and always takes one's breath away. My families' prayers are going out to his children, and all those like you, who knew anyone in the shooting.

My favorite church lady went to school with the children of the victim. My fellow blogger, who I get many ideas from, has a son whose desk is right next to one of these children.

When these things happen, we must pray. It is always good to remind ourselves that nothing, nothing is to be taken for granted, and to always do our best to live each day well to the best of our ability.. May God be with us all.

Mike from Delaware
Wed, Feb 13, 2013 10:13am
Kavips: all I can add is, AMEN. Well said.

Wed, Feb 13, 2013 7:33pm
Thanks, Kavips. It's always a bit scary when you're even distantly connected.

I lost count of the number of times I heard about a shooting in Wilmington and realized that I'd delivered pizza on that same street and sometimes even the same block a day or two before. Thanks be to God. He's always had my back.

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