No sir, I don’t like it

Just to get my digs in on the inauguration thing: No, I really do not like the fact that wealthy individuals and corporate sponsors are being asked to kick in $50,000 a piece for the big proposed inaugural bash. I suspect that many folks here will disagree with me: Hey, what’s the harm in having a big party? As far as it goes, none at all.

But there is harm in having rich folks foot the bill. With the possible exception of personal friends of Deval, those folks aren’t just giving that money away for nothing. They expect something in return: The incoming Governor’s good will, attention and audience. To think otherwise is na├»ve. Patrick says, “No one is buying access to me.” He may actually believe that. I don’t think those donors do, and there is no reason for any citizen to give any elected official the benefit of the doubt when it comes to cash donations. A conflict of interest is a conflict of interest. “Trust me” is not going to cut it. It never has.

This was a people-powered campaign. Let’s put it as crassly and mechanistically as possible: If you were a volunteer, you earned influence with the governor — both for yourself and on behalf of ordinary people like you — every time you knocked on doors, made phone calls, wrote letters, got your windmills on the site, and otherwise made this campaign strong, broad and resilient.

Why would you sell off any of that influence, for the low low price of one nice party at someone else’s expense?

We should have a damn good party. It should be statewide. It should be as inclusive as possible. It just shouldn’t be paid for in $50,000 chunks by those who doubtless have business before the state. Do it on the cheap if you have to; have a statewide potluck if you have to, for cryin’ out loud.

By the way, TheOpenSociety points out that Florida’s incoming governor Charlie Crist (a Republican!) got the message and cancelled his $2 million inaugural.

Lynne, as bad-ass and dedicated a volunteer as anyone, disagrees.

UPDATE: jcsinclair has a plan to make Deval wicked fat.

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  1. anonymous donations

    Here's an idea.  Set up a fund into which anyone, from Megacorpulent to Grandpa Joe, can contribute.  All contributions anonymous only.  I wonder if the bells on the till would jingle like they are now?

    • Worse I'd hope

      Worse then appearing to peddle influence to known buyers is peddling influence to unknown buyers.

      If he ends up collecting $3 million, wouldn't you be curious where it came from?

      sabutai   @   Tue 4 Dec 7:00 PM
      • no, that's the point

        as long as everyone understands the reason for the fund, who cares besides the IRS where it comes from?  this way, big companies could drop in loads of cash and not be accused of buying favors.  that is, if they still would drop in loads of cash.  it is an experiment i'd love to se run.

    • It really wouldn't work

      If they have to report who donates, even if Deval doesn't know, then people will still see things they want to see.

      I'm with David: no 50,000 donations please. lol.

      I'd cap it at 1,000.

      That said, I think the state should kick in a million bucks for every new administration - if people don't take any donations for it. That way, everyone gets one big party and there are no worries about influence-peddling.

      • That's terrible

        If people want to spend money on the inauguration, they're welcome to.  The burden should not fall to the taxpayers.

        • Well... you support clean elections, right?

          What are the differences here? Heck, the federal government kicks in tens of millions for national conventions every four years.

          A million bucks is not a lot of money and once every four years - at most (like I said, every new administration) - isn't much to ask for.

          I'd rather that than allowing $50,000 donations. People who donate 10s of thousands of dollars expect something in return. That's dangerous.

      • Weld, Cellucci, Swift, Romney - Ryan - do you want to slip THEM $1 mil as well?

        I saw the Governor recently (well, yesterday) and he chuckled 'Can you IMAGINE what would have been said if I had spent over $1 million and took donations like that'?

        Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, too!

        • that's kinda what I just said, wasn't it?

          Maybe $1 mil is too much, but like I said to sco, I'd rather that than the alternative: people donating upwards of $50k. Those people are going to have expectations for that money. Not to mention the fact that the fed government kicks in tens of millions toward national conventions every 4 years.

      • Do you realize..

        How many social service programs and grants a "million bucks" could fund?

        And you propose "kicking in" a million for every new election?

        That's MY money you want to throw into a party. Have a little respect for the taxpayers who earned it.

  2. Right On

    I agree completely. I'm in a sour mood about the whole scenario in general, having just been informed that an inaugural effort which costs almost 2 million dollars still requires me to give another $20 to get footloose and fancy-free here  in Worcester, but I think the sentiment still hold merit.

    I'm all for the parties. Those who have criticized the affair as some sort of self-congragulatory effort on DP's part don't understand what all of us volunteers went through to make it happen. "But you've already celebrated", some say...Not really, at least for me. On primary night I did briefly before planning for the work ahead to win the general, on election night I celebrated fully for about 15 minutes before going home to watch the national results come in. I personally feel entitled to cut loose with no other political concerns hanging over my head for just one night.

    However, I do think that things could've been done more simply. I think also that doing things more simply would've lessened the issues some have with the expense, as well as prevented me from having to shell out $20 each for myself and my girlfriend to attend the event in Worcester. When this was a campaign, these things didn't cost money. For different but similar reasons, this barrier should not be erected to prevent those who cannot pay from taking part, if we sincerely wish to continue to check people back in.

    • I believe

      that, at least for the Boston ($50) event, the plan is to make discounted or free tickets available to those who can't afford to pay the full freight.  However, I don't know whether that policy extends to the outside-of-Boston events, and I don't know how one would seek to take advantage of the policy for Boston (there's no obvious way to do it on the inaugural website).

      • We'll See

        I made a long-winded plea by email to the ticketing email address on the Jan4th website. I'll let you guys know what response, if any, I receive.

  3. I think you're wrong, Charley

    Money after the campaign is over is sufficiently different from money before the election that I don't think it matters who donates so long as we get an accounting of it.

    If Deval doesn't raise enough money for the inauguration, what happens?  He goes with the beef wellington instead of the beluga caviar.  If he doesn't raise enough money before the election, he's watching the inauguration from home.

    This is not campaign finance.  The campaign is over.

    • Was this the Bob Ney's defense?

      • You really believe

        that this is the same as bribery?

        I hate to think what you all will say when Patrick goes to the private sector and asks them to help with some of his initiatives.

        It's a freaking party.  If the costs aren't defrayed, then everyone would complain about how expensive it was and how no one could go to it who helped the campaign (all 40,000 of us).  Deval would be a hypocrite.  Instead he's a hypocrite for accepting donations to defray the cost so regular people can actually go to this thing.

        DAMN HIM.  DAMN HIM TO HELL for wanting his supporters to be able to participate.

        • NO, that is not what I said.

          But Bob Ney could have used the same argument you did to justify asking corporations and lobbyists for $50,000, which is why your distinction is without merit.

          I agree that all the people who helped get Deval Patrick elected should be allowed to participate.  That is exactly the point. If there is a need for contributions to have an inauguration, then why not have everyone contribute up to the amounts that are allowed under Massachusetts Campaign Finance law?  It would be more in keeping with convincing people to check back in, and it truly would be everyone's inauguration.  If that means that the inauguration is not going to be as grand as some people want it to be, then so be it.  I would rather have our principles intact. 

          BTW, here is just one suggestion to make it a little cheaper.  Forget doing the swearing-in outside the State House.  Do it according to tradition, but have it on streaming video so we can all watch as it happens. 

          • Up to $500?

            So, you want the inauguration to cost $500?  Because if you say, we're accepting donations up to $500, then just about everyone is going to have to pay $500.

            The more expensive the event is for regular people, the fewer regular people are going to be there, and the more this becomes exactly the insiders event that no one wants it to be.

    • distinction without a difference

      Well, I think you're wrong too! Phooey!

      I'm actually even less willing to excuse big-money donations post-election, since one can certainly argue that you need the money to get elected and do any good at all.

      In the end, money is money, and this is just another legalized bribe. Business as usual. "Trust me." Feh. I've had about enough "trust me" for a lifetime.

  4. C'mon People. Up is Up, and Down is Down.

    We're all grownups.  We all know what happens when folks with big bucks are "asked" to pony up $50k for the new Gov.  We all know what everyone expects from this transaction.

    Very disappointing.

  5. Do you hear what I hear?

    It's the sound of people checking back out who had checked back in during Deval Patrick's campaign.  I gave up a lot of time to help get Deval Patrick elected.  I don't know if I am disappointed more with him or with some of his other supporters who post on BMG who seem to have forgotten certain principles because they want a big party. It is almost as if they are blinded by victory and have forgotten what the victory was supposed to be about.

    Check out page 1 of today's Boston Globe. Say what you will about the Globe's bias, facts are facts, now matter how you spin them or rationalize them.

    • Disappointed

      As George Bachrach said Tuesday at the Cambridge City Committee Forum, "There's nothing more disappointing than working for a winning candidate."

      Deval Patrick is going to disappoint a lot of people over the next four years, and frankly, I'm glad he has the opportunity to do so.

      • This is not about disappointing people.

        This is about a winning candidate continuing with what some of us thought was a key principle behind his candidacy: getting people to check back in to the poltical process. You do not do that by accepting large donations from corporations and lobbyists, however you think you can justify it. And justifying it by saying we want to have a big party just adds insult to injury.  

        • Uhhhh...

          Given how much work I and others are tasked with doing on a grassroots level for just OUR event in the Merr.Vall./No.Shore area, don't worry, this is totally grassroots, except for some of the cash to pay for the really big venue.

          Actually, I'd say that the huge amount of volunteers on this event balances with the corporate donors...kinda like a public/private partnership.

          Honestly, I'm almost working harder now than I was before the election for this. sighs

          • Lynne, I hate to do this...

            ... listen to yourself ...

            "totally grassroots, except for some of the cash"

            Uh huh.

            "kinda like a public/private partnership"

            Guess who generally comes out ahead in those? Hint: not Joe Q. Public.

            I'm genuinely in awe of folks like you and sco, who put in so much work, and who disagree with me so vigorously. But I think you're being played for chumps -- maybe not on purpose by Deval, but by the corporate donors. I just don't know why you'd want to share the credit and the stage with them. You earned a heck of a lot more than some shindig. Why give your influence away to someone else now?

  6. I SOOOO agree with you on this one.

    And I'm from the other side.

    I hated it when Romney did it, and everyone else before him.

    This is a governorship.. not a coronation.

    He's taking on a political position. By having a "celebration".. you have to ask what you are celebrating. If you celebrate you're winning, then you are also celebrating someone else's losing.

    These stupid parties (ambiguousness intended) just cause dissention and division.

    "Together we can" becomes "Nyaa Nyaa.. we won!"

    And all along, the lobbyists are buying more access and setting up their future connections and deals.

  7. Pot Luck and Burlap Sacks

    So let me get this straight; assuming that nobody thinks any taxpayer money should be spent on these celebrations, that leaves either collecting donations from those corporations and individuals who have it and are willing to spend it, or setting up card tables on Boston Common and everyone brings Jello and tunafish casserole?  You know what?  It ultimately comes out of my pocket whether it's a corporate donation or taxes, and it came out of my pocket when it was CEOs and fat cat Republicans whooping it up by themselves, none of us were invited, and they didn't have a frigging pot luck.  We swam the moat and stormed the castle (that's colorful language for grass-roots success, for the metaphor-challenged), and now we're not supposed to dance on the tables?

  8. I volunteered not to earn influence with the governor, but to make sure the right person got to sit in the seat and decide how all influence is managed.  I chose the guy I thought was least likely to succumb to the wrong kind of influence, and most likely to make good decisions about the business of the Commonwealth, and I already got what I wanted from the deal; they don't owe me anything.  But they want to invite me to a celebration anyway, and I appreciate it.
  9. Is the problem taking money from wealthy donors, and not restricting the guest list to the same wealthy donors?  I think it's perfectly all right to take money from corporate sponsors who are willing to give it for this purpose, and I think it's all right for them to either harbor illusions or not as to whether there will be a quid pro quo.  Why don't we trust the man we worked so hard to get elected?  If there is a quid pro quo, it will be pretty obvious, with the Patrick/Murry administration under a suddenly-high-powered microscope, which brings me to my next point:
  10. It seems that there's a different standard by which this administration will be judged.  Some of this is legitimate, such as whether or not it will participate in the "business as usual"/"Beacon Hill culture", etc -- these are standards raised higher by the candidates and the campaign.  But how the volunteers are included and thanked at inauguration time doesn't have anything to do with that unless...(see quid pro quo, above).  What's next?  A fuss about how much Gov. Patrick spends on his suits?  Why isn't he wearing a burlap sack?  Why are his shoes so shiny?  He must have sold out.
  11. This whole thing smells like the same old double standards -- five white guys and a black guy drive by in Cadillacs, and someone turns to another and says "That black guy is doing pretty well for himself".  And don't say it doesn't happen; nobody said anything about how much anybody's home cost until Deval Patrick (a man from humble beginnings) started campaigning for governor.  Then, all of a sudden, it's "gosh, he sure has done well for himelf."  Enforcing humility on the humble doesn't address arrogance among the arrogant, by the way. 

    Nobody bats an eye (present company partially excluded) when the cost of running a campaign goes higher and higher -- with a much higher likelihood that a quid pro quo is expected as the price goes up; maybe that's what people should be getting their Jockeys in a bunch about.  If Patrick/Murray hadn't beaten that system by doing everything right, we wouldn't even be talking about this; there would be an expensive (Healy, Gabrieli, whoever) "business-as-usual" inauguration with a handful of wealthy guests, an adoring-but-otherwise-mute press, and the rest of us standing on the outside looking in.

    Sheesh.  [end of rant]

  • We would be talking about this if it were Healey or anyone else.

    The only double standard at work here is that some so-called progressives think it is okay if their guy accepts large donations from corporations.  Maybe it is because they are getting a party out of it. I am baffled by it. I have no doubt those same people would be ranting about it if Healey had won and she were accepting large donations from corporations and lobbyists to pay for her party. 

    BTW, I have been a supporter of Deval Patrick since before he announced about two years ago.  I am hoping this is all about his inaugural commitee running amok, and when he has time to focus on the issue, he will rethink it. 

    • Again

      I think you're missing the fact that us grassroots are working our PATOOT off to get HUGE events planned for LOTS of people for THREE WEEKS from now.

      Huge corporate donations or not, these events will live or die by the volunteers who are doing the work of creating the receptions. I rather think it's quite balanced out, for the most part...

      • So as long as we get a big party,

        it'a ok to accept large donations from corporations and lobbyist?  I think I get it. 

        • Unless you think any of us would have been invited to Healy's inauguration...


        • Save the snark, get the details

          If you're going to have a great big inclusive statewide party, it's expensive. (Small donors sending in $25 each in just three weeks won't cut it.) But driving the events with grassroots planning and support and ideas, DOES do some balancing with the big donors. Who's Deval more in debt to, the grassroots doing all the leg work (and I mean, ALL the legwork) or the corporate donors who also made it possible with large contri's.

          I won't belabor the larger point - it IS unseemly to take large donations. But just taking the donations and having a big party IS different from taking the donations and then relying on the grassroots for everything including the themes and flavor of the events as well as for very real decisions. You don't seem to want to see the difference there; I can tell you, from the middle of the whirlwind three-week planning we have to do to pull this shit off, I definitely CAN.

  • I don't buy it.

    "the right person got to sit in the seat and decide how all influence is managed"

    Sorry, but as I said, I think that's naive -- political hero-worship. Deval Patrick is not some knight-in-shining-armor who's going to make everything all right. He's a guy who ought to be bringing another power base to bear on the Beacon Hill dynamic -- and that means you. He can't do it alone -- no one can.

    Governments are chockful of "good people" -- but the incentives are all wrong. With this people-powered campaign, the grassroots gave Patrick a big incentive to listen to them, and not someone else. I can't believe you'd sell what you've earned for such a mess o' pottage as an inaugural party.

    • I'm not totally disagreeing with you, Charley

      You're right to say it would be wrong to sell it at that price, but I'm not convinced that's what's going on.  It would be pretty obvious if it happened (a quid pro quo for the cheesy $50K or so that anyone would donate?), with a million eyes watching; I don't intend to let anyone off the hook, but could we wait and see whether it happens or not?

      The broad-based goodwill he's earned is his most powerful tool against the usual influence-peddling; do you really believe he's crazy enough to piss it away like that?  To me, it doesn't feel so much like hero-worship as realism to look at it that way.  Preemptive attacks on his  motivations -- it just sounds like we're so anxious to eat our own here, even before anybody takes office.  There are already plenty of vested interests waiting in the shadows to torpedo the thing without our help. 

      I just say give him a chance to model a different kind of partnership; a different choice than the one between sackcloth and ashes on one hand, and imperious corruption on the other.

      • You might want to read the Rules of the Road section

        Shiltone, I think you are mis-understanding the purpose behind the rating system.  You might want to re-read the Rules of the Road. Maybe Charley, Bob. or David can clarify.  I could be wrong, but I did not think the ratings system was a tool to use against a person who disagreed with your position.

        • Ratings

          The Rules of Road do not say that agreeing or disagreeing is or is not a basis for rating.

          You have set things up in an extremely dichotomous, manichean manner: the good people with principles and the bad people deserving of one line responses who are blinded to their foolishness or lack of principles.

          Those who uphold the Good Popperian Principles can just dispatch with the bad unprincipled folk with one line comments -- that don't deserve to be downrated.

          I don't happen to agree with any of that. I don't think the world is so simple, even on this issue, as to favor a binary approach.

          One thing that the Rules of the Road do say is:

          Insults, personal  attacks, rudeness, and blanket unsupported statements reduce the level of discourse, interfere with our basic objective, and are not permitted.

          Shiltone's contributions on this thread have certainly elevated the level of discourse much improving the view that can be had from this particular road.

          Could you maybe possibly sort of kind of find a way to take others' positions more seriously and to argue your own with a bit less vituperation?

          • I am sorry

            if you feel I did not take your position seriously, and I don't understand why you would have that impression.  I just disagree with your position and I understand that you disagree with my position. I also am shocked to hear that anything I said was taken as verbally abusive.  I thought this was supposed to be a place where people could disagree on issues without someone taken offense.

            Also, my question to Shilltone was not a comment on his contributions on this thread. I was asking Shiltone if he understood the rating system, because it appears that one of us has it wrong.  I really thought it was set up as a way to try stop offensive attacks against people.  I don't think any reasonable person could take what I said as so offensive as to justify the ratings he has given some of my comments, but then maybe I am totally misunderstanding the rating system. 

            • In all sincerity,

              I would urge you go back to your one- and two-line responses to people on this thread and on the Half-Full thread.  Your imperious dismissals and zingers are certainly "worthless" comments of the first order, doing nothing to further substantive attempts at dialogue on this issue.  Good people can disagree on this, you know.  Kbusch has tried, with endless patience, I might add, to explore this issue with you in good faith.  I bailed after your first suggestion that my opinions were a manifestation of some neurosis.  This, of course, after you told me I had just repudiated the "grassroots I care so much about." 

              A tone check is seriously in order. 

              • I thought we had moved on.

                I do not need to do a tone check. I apologized for any misunderstandings caused by my comments, all of which were valid comments by the way. I will not apologize for my opinion or for the points I made in support of my opinion nor do I expect you or any one who holds a postion contrary to mine to apologize for your positions. Now can we move on. 

  • I pretty much agree with you Charlie. I am less outraged.

    I didn't have any illusions that Deval didn't have to throw in with a lot of people who will have big $$ business before the State House.  I actually saw him as possibly the most big business favorable candidate with Reilly being the most populist. He chastised democrats about being hostile to business in at least one stump speech that I heard. 

    All these things are a trade off.  Lynne has a really good point here about how Romney could get away with much more lavish celebration without a whisper of complaint from the media. 

    Ha I guess I am a flip-flopper on the whole thing.  In general I think they should be frugal and probably shouldn't need to solicit these big contributions.  Does the Patrick have left-over cash?  Are they using this to subsidize some of the costs?  My gut feeling  is that if Paticks people need to solicit $50,000 contributions from business interests to throw a party they should go back to the drawing board.  Businesses like to have something to show for their money (like political favors).

    • Romney could get away with a much more lavish celebration without a whisper of compaint, you say?

      Let's hop into the way back machine!


      I found some other old CNN links, but tbis is the most readable.

      That said - you have worked for sixteen years.  You deserve a nice party.  Why doesn't Deval jsut pay for it himself, if you are worried aobut ethical considerations?

      Oh, and the outside the State House thing?  Just dumb.

      • Ok maybe a whisper. Not much more

        This isn't even a Massachusetts paper.  The stuff about Patrick is big Boston media outrage. 

        • Cad - This OUT OF STATE paper echos Mass. rants at the time.

          My problem was that all those archives are paid.  And the CNN link was a garbled transcript.

          Really - if an out of state paper comments on the 'controversy', do you THINK the Glob was on Umbrage Mode?

          • There were probably a few columns of typical

            Globe pseudo-outrage.  Patrick always made a point of working closely with business in his campaign appearances so none of this is any surprise to me.

            One of the main concerns expressed in that New Hampshire paper you cited was that Romney was being coy about who the inaugural donors were--and had to be prodded in to releasing the list.  Do you know if Patrick is keeping his list secret?

            By the way -- were you shouting at me?

            • Um...No..Cad, I was not shouting at you.

              I capitalized 'out of state' for emphasis, not for shouting.

              And as far as Deval's donors go - have YOU seen a list with only two weeks to go?  Deval appears to be doing exactly what Romney did - announce non-contribuotrs (like tobacco) and name no names.  Probably, like Romney, he will print them in the inauguration program.

              Unless he fails to ever list them at all.

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