But can it be that Johnny B has grown tired of dancing with Joe Mosca only, and has now recruited to the well-trod boards of Sierra Madre City Hall someone of a more Ginger Rogers flair? Are we about to go from that terribly overexposed "Two Top Hats, Two Tails" routine for something in a more Tallulah Bankhead vein? Someone who will attempt to literally dance her way into the hearts of Sierra Madre? Or at least the cold and small versions of that vital organ possessed by our highly self-esteemed downtown socialite set?
But first, let's dig into that politician/tap dancing connection. Because it is a traditional one, and certainly we here at The Tattler respect all the finest political traditions. Or at least the ones we don't find hilarious. Which are pretty much in the distinct minority now that I think about it.
Probably the most enlightening stuff I could find to illustrate where we're going with this comes from a Los Angeles Times article dated March 27th, 1993. Apparently a politician of less than the hoped for dose of honor had gotten himself into a world of legal woe. Which, when you consider that we'd vectored in from the lowest possible standards already, made his predicament all the worse.
Tap Dancing on an Ethics Tightrope: Politicians should steer clear of close calls - The yearlong ethics investigation of Orange County Supervisor Don R. Roth came to a fitting close with his guilty plea to seven misdemeanor counts and agreement to pay $50,000 in fines. While it forgoes the drama of a public trial, the plea bargain is an appropriate end to one of the sorrier episodes in Orange County's checkered political history.
Of course, that was a number of years ago, and the players today are distinctively different. But the tap dancing metaphor remains with us even now. And this Times article concludes with a humorous observation on tap dancing political history:
The late state Treasurer Jesse M. Unruh, an irreverent man who operated under the old rules of political ethics, was fond of saying that if a politician couldn't take lobbyists' money, drink their booze, love their women and still vote against them, then they didn't belong in politics. The new ethical sensibility holds that politicians should no longer have the choice of trying to walk that line.
I'm not sure Sacramento is living up to Jesse's standards these days. And not to suggest that John and Joe have anything in common with that Roth dude, because they don't. But have we here in California gone from the Unruh Era to the Tap Dancing Era? Was it always that way? I'm not sure that I can answer that question right now. But I can tell you there is one party that is definitely not amused. And that is the actual tap dancers themselves. This from the February 5th edition of The Beach Reporter, out of Manhattan Beach:
It is ironic that "tap dancing" is often used as a derogatory term for obfuscation of the truth. Politicians are said to be "tap dancing" around a subject when they talk without saying anything ... In my brief experience, tap dancing is an exacting activity that is tough to fake. Sure, when you first put on the shoes you can shuffle and stomp about, but it's all sound and fury signifying nothing. When you actually learn a step and try to replicate it, it quickly becomes apparent if you do it incorrectly ...
Which all brings us to our current dilemma. While we all know of politicians who became nothing more than tap dancers, has there ever been a case where a tap dancer became a politician? Before they became a tap dancer again? Can this be considered special career training, or even an unfair advantage? Particularly when that tap dancer politician came with a nominating petition that featured the signatures of our veritable Fred and Ginger of Sierra Madre politics, Joe Mosca and John Buchanan?
The mind whirls and swirls beneath such heady burdens.
Now we have received here at Tattler HQ, thanks to the vast network of merry informants who funnel such things to us, the invitation to the "Campaign Kick-off" for John and Joe's hoped for new dancing partner, Nancy Walsh. And this shindig will feature, you got it, tap dancing! And not just any tap dancers, but Nancy's very own dance troupe, the Tap Chicks! Here is how this invitation reads:
Nancy Walsh "Leadership for our Future" ... Please join us at her "Campaign Kick-off For Sierra Madre City Council" ... Sunday, February 21, 2010 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. ... Sierra Madre Playhouse at 87 West Sierra Madre Blvd. Sierra Madre, CA ... Entertainment: The Tap Chicks.
Just what our City Council needs, another mega-development tap dancer. The last time we had that many tap dancers the audits didn't get done, the city nearly went broke, Joe Mosca suddenly decided he didn't have to deliver on his promises, and hundreds of thousands of dollars were flushed down a black hole called the Downtown Specific Plan. All of which caused the city to go through four of the most contentious years in its entire history.
So please. A Conga, or a Soft Shoe. The Cha Cha Cha, Freddy, or a sedate Madison. Jig, Twist, Waltz, Watusi, Bunny Hop? Yes indeed. The Robot, Para Para, Morris, Frug, Metropolitan, or even the Peewee Herman Big Shoe Dance. Yes! Anything but another tap dance. We've had much too much of that sort of thing already.
Bonus Coverage: The Tap Chicks!