‘The public is cynical because it is not stupid’:
That’s probably the best line I’ve seen yet on the current public mood in Massachusetts. So let’s repeat it: ‘The public is cynical because it is not stupid.’ Perfecto! ... And it’s from a column by Joan Vennochi.
... Must admit, Part I: Saw the headline on Joan’s column -- ‘Romney’s old boy financial network’ -- and I instinctively rolled my eyes and thought, ‘Here we go. A long sought chance by Joan to bash away at Mitt. A few obligatory passing references to Dems and the boys -- and then all hell will break loose on poor Mitt etc.’ But you know what? She bashes away at both sides with equal abandon, referring to the ‘disingenuous responses’ of those saying one thing about reform but doing something entirely different about reform. ...
... Must admit, Part II: Reading Joan’s column, I was a little embarrassed by this Hub Blog post from yesterday
. Embarrassed because I don’t want to come across as minimizing the corrupting nature of campaign donations. It is indeed a corrupting influence -- to a degree. Why ‘to a degree’? Answer ...
... Must admit, Part III: It’s Hub Blog War Story time! When I was a reporter out in Illinois in the early ‘80s, the memory of the First Daley Era was still fresh in people’s minds. In particular, a lot of progressives and journalists were still on a justified high for having exposed and weakened the Daley machine -- though they never brought it down per se. The semi-successful assault wasn’t achieved by poring over campaign disclosure forms. The assault succeeded in hobbling the machine by shining a light on how it actually worked in a non-campaign-finance way -- the patronage, the nepotism, the ward politics, the redistricting, the statistical racial inequalities, the contracts, the slating of compliant candidates, the vote-counting shenanigans, the open use of government unions as bludgeons for party politics etc. etc. Read Mike Royko’s classic “Boss” for more details -- a Chicago version of “The Last Hurrah” and “Black Mass” rolled into one.
... Must admit, Part IV: Massachusetts politics has improved a lot in recent years, but we still have our Eddie Vrdolyak holdovers attempting to keep functioning remnants of the machine in place -- i.e. the ‘permanent bureaucracy,’ as Margery Eagan has described it. ... Pore over campaign disclosure forms, but also shine a light on the actual non-campaign-finance inner workings of the political system. Perhaps because of Watergate, too many journalists today concentrate on the former to the exclusion of the latter.
Otherwise: I liked Joan’s column.
P.S. -- Hub Blog wants to see an actual link between Mitt’s campaign donations and the influence they’re intended to buy. Until then, I’m not buying into the moral equivalency argument. Mitt’s campaign donations are a concern, but they’re not a damnable concern -- yet.
P.S.P.S. -- Who would have thought? The Trav is getting kudos
for offering up genuine reforms. The pressure is working. But I suspect the real Trav is somewhere in this story