Is running for Congress the new therapy?
It seems like it is for House hopeful Kevin Powell, who this morning invited reporters to breakfast at Juniors and spent the vast majority of time discussing his very-human flaws and how he works every day to overcome them.
It was like watching a fallen celeb on Oprah’s couch — except Juniors has better onion rolls.
The official purpose of the press event was to refute a recent mean-spirited column by Errol Louis in the Daily News — no, refute is too vague: try deconstruct every point Louis made line-by-line.
Never mind that the Louis column is being debated in the 10th congressional district about as much as the status of the Seattle Mariners manager, Powell took time out of what should be a backbreaking schedule just five weeks from the Sept. 9 primary to make Louis’s column on him a central issue in his campaign against 25-year incumbent Ed Towns.
Recouping every penny of his self-professed 20 years in therapy, Powell described how hurt he was the Louis would rehash Powell’s history of violence, given all the hard work he has done to vanish those violent and sexist demons.
“Anyone who knows me,” said Powell, “knows that I deeply believe now in non-violence.”
And he took umbrage at Louis for bringing up the past when Powell has “been transparent and accountable for everything I’ve done in my life” -- including the violent episodes in the early 1990s and again in 2004.
He has indeed been open: bringing up his violent past, his loveless childhood, his efforts to, as he put it, “make my life story an example against violence.”
And this campaign, even more so than his truncated run two years ago, has given him the opportunity to experiment with group therapy.
The problem is that you, dear voter, are the group.
After about a half hour of listening to Powell calmly pick apart every point in Louis’s column, Politicrasher could not help but wonder why bother. After all, at long last, why hold a press conference to refute a column no one read in the first place? Errol Louis is not Citizen Kane (you provide the prose poem, he’ll provide the bore) so why summon the media if the only message you want to put out is that you’re a far different man than the one who no one ever heard of in the first place?
The good news is that Powell’s therapy sessions never devolve to self-aggrandizement. He knows he’s not perfect; in fact, he admits it. “I know I’m going to make mistakes, but they will be new mistakes, not the same three things that have brought down male leaders for years: sex, money or violence.”
That’s a nice thought, but it doesn’t make for a good campaign slogan (“Kevin Powell: New Leadership, New Mistakes”) but it sure beats the other one that came out of the Junior’s dining room (“Kevin Powell: My Therapy is Working!”).
Of course, the only thing worse than covering Powell’s “mea culpas” (or, more accurately, his “mea meas”) is trying to find something at all to cover with moldy old Ed Towns. Note to Towns staff: the boss has been in congress since Reagan was president and the best you’ve got is a press conference on the digital cable switchover next year? Twenty-five years in Congress yet still on a back bench?
Now that the past is behind him — “I forgive Mr. Louis,” Powell said on Friday — the candidate says he will now start picking apart Towns’s record of missed votes, bad votes and non-votes.
Hell also keep up his campaign to, as he put it, “create new definitions of manhood.”
Here’s Politicrasher’s advice: The district could use a bit more of the first kind therapy and a bit less of the latter.