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 naïve. 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.