Thursday, September 2, 2010
Mike Lake, a dog in the race
Last week I remarked on the way the tiny little analysts in my morning radio were reporting the different primary results from around the nation —how it seemed the sum and substance of the political contest was how the dollars played out —what cold hard cash 'Candidate A' had spent as opposed to 'Candidate B' and what he or she had left in his or her pocket for the general elections.
(Heaven forbid they should discuss the points of difference on policy.)
Well as it turns out those tiny little analysts in my radio don't get any larger when it comes to discussing local politics.
Another week, another morning, and it was Dan Payne and Todd Domke sharing their insight on the race for State Auditor on WBUR. The "analysis" being offered amounts to this: Candidate Guy Glodis has said some really loutish stuff in the past, he's been "shown to be on the wrong side of nearly every liberal issue — gay rights, the death penalty, gun control, taxes, diversity." But he has $800,000 in the bank (though recent news stories of how some of that money got there have become problematic).
Suzanne Bump, on the other hand —credited with a record of being an "activist reformer" will soon "get a $100,000 bump in public funds, which will bring her cash on hand to nearly $200,000 — enough to run a heavy radio campaign."
There was some talk of her ties to the Patrick Administration and the insightful observation that she is a female candidate.
And there you have it.
—Oh, and by the way there's this other guy... Mike Lake "...he’ll have about $58,000" ...might act as a spoiler.
I'll make no bones about it. I'm a Mike Lake supporter. I first met him at this June's Democratic Convention. I'd walked into that convention with an open mind about who to support in the Auditor's race and I found myself being pulled aside by Bump and Glodis supporters, each with dim views of the other candidate to share. From Lake and his supporters I got something entirely different. Here was a candidate who described his interest, not in holding the job —or how it would just belong there on his resumé, he described his interest in actually doing the work.
Mike gave a great speech at the convention and got his name on the ballot as the dark horse and he's been on the trail ever since, plugging away at his campaign —advancing his vision of a new role for the Auditor's Office as an activist advocate for better practices —for better government —where the transparency and accountability brought to the different agencies of our state's government can enable and empower reform and bring about simply more efficient and effective use of public funds.
Maybe that's just campaign rhetoric, I do talk that way sometimes, but as the campaign has played out there's come about opportunity to see his different approach in action.
When recently Auditor DeNucci, on his way out the door, announced that he intended to award his senior staff with raises, an action seen as something of "a fitting parting gift" from the guy who has held the office for more than twenty years, it was Mike Lake, who (while the other candidates cleared their throats and shuffled their feet) simply and unequivocally offered that this was "the wrong move at the wrong time." And Mike Lake pointed out that the first office he intended to audit if he was elected was the Auditor's Office.
That one move, though it is a pretty good indicator of how he would actually approach the job, doesn't qualify Mike Lake for the job. I can recognize that. But the balance in his campaign account shouldn't disqualify him either. That's the point I see lost in the pundit pronouncements flowing from my radio.
Our politics has got to be about something more than the dollars in the contest —especially in a race so much about the public dollar.
That's why I'm barking. Because, beyond the opinings of the political opinion elite, I believe we have a dog in the race.