Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Why Gabs Isn't a Progressive

I read a comment on Lynne's website and was startled to read this:

Gabrieli is a strong candidate who is great on the issues, is a tried and true progressive, has a positive message, and would be a terrific Governor.
Emphasis mine.

Sorry to inform you all, but Gabrieli is NOT a progressive. You can call Gabrieli liberal, leftist, whatever... but not a progressive, he never was a progressive.

Being progressive is more about how one wins elections and how one wants government run than what a candidate's issues are. A progressive wants government run by the people or as close to it as possible. A progressive wants to engage the populace in order to convince people he or she deserves to be elected.

Gabrieli paid signature collectors top dollar. He's already spent about $3 MILLION dollars - and that was just to get 15.36% of the convention delegate votes. How is that progressive?

Contrast that to Deval Patrick, who accepted public limits and went around town to town campaigning for Governor over a year ago and got on the ballot the old fashioned way: through sparking a massive, popular movement.

Gabrieli was going to be my second choice, in case Patrick lost this tough primary, but not any more. What Gabrieli calls a joke (setting the funding limit at 15.36 million) is really a message: Gabrieli intends to massively outspend his opponents. Maybe Gabrieli finds it funny, but I certainly don't. It's deeply disturbing - something I couldn't even relate to. Heck, it's so out of whack that Lynne at LeftinLowell thought the whole thing was a joke!

Sadly, you can't teach an old dog new tricks. Gabrieli should have learned, from previous elections he lost, money doesn't necessarily win. However, turning off the populace by sending messages that in my opinion amounts to campaign bullying could just amount to a lot of sound and fury, signifying nothing yet again.


Aaron said...

I don't know, isn't progressive just like "liberal," or for that matter "conservative," in that it can mean anything you want it to mean?

Anonymous said...

Ryan - You've just lost ANY credibility of objectivity.

Gabrieli is a progressive. Period.

Deval didn't want to release his tax returns. I though transparency in the political process was progressive! I guess progressive is defined by you as "whatever Deval is."

Please knock off the double standards ASAP. It's pretty tired and thin.

Susan M. said...

The progressive thing is like that expression about trying to explain what pornography is: I know it when I see it. I think the definition can be subjective. To me being progressive is about values and ideas and how they are carried out.

Anonymous - what a clever screen name.

Did Deval follow the current campaign finance disclosure laws? Yes. Did he file financial disclosure forms as required? Yes, he did. In fact, he disclosed MORE information than was required. By law he was only required to disclose that his income was over $100K.

Did Gabrieli disclose his full income? No he DID NOT. So don't lecture ANYONE about credibility or objectivity unless you have your facts straight.

Double standards, indeed.

Mark D. Snyder said...

WOrd. Right on ryan.

Greg said...

Ryan, this is an excellent post. I define 'progressive' in the same way -- as a combination of populism and liberalism. I used that definition in my argument in favor of Andrea Silbert for LG.

Mass Marrier said...

Spot on, Ryan. Gabby want to buy his office -- on his third try. Our first question should not be whether that gives him a good chance to win, rather if we elect that kind of governor, what do we get? Is that the person who should represent the good guys?

His stated positions are not fleshed out, except for stem-cell funding, but in the main they are moderately liberal. Yet, he seems to have come to them very lately. He'd be better than Healey, but the buy-the-office guy doesn't seem very trustworthy.

Anonymous said...

Susan - EXACTLY my point on the double standard. For Deval, you ask "Did he follow campaign finance laws?" but for Gabrieli you ask "Does he measure up to Ryan's definition of progressivism" - both candidates followed the law - to call Gabrieli out for something but not Deval IS the double standard!

Mass Marrier - What positions has Gabrieli "just come to lately"??? Another twisting of the truth from a Deval supporter!

And Gabrieli isn't a "buy-the-office" kind of guy - he's a "can-stop-Healey-from-buying-the-office" kind of guy.

Susan M. said...

anonymous - why hide behind that screenname? I didn't say anything about Gabrieli measuring up to Ryan's definition of progressivism. My comment had to do with the fact that you bashed Deval Patrick for something he was NOT required to do (disclose his tax returns) and I pointed out that Deval went above and beyond what was required in his financial disclosure forms, which was more than Gabrieli did. If you believe that both candidates followed the law, then why bitch about Deval's tax returns?

That kind of nitpicking is a distraction from the real issues. I agree with massmarrier. There are more important things than money, and that seems to be the top reason why Gabrieli is in the race. He's got tons of money. Good for him, but if the money thing was really that big of a plus for Gabrieli, he wouldn't be trying to buy his way into office for the third time.

Anonymous said...

Susan - Why do you focus on the "anonymous" instead of the SUBSTANCE of the argument?

Being "progressive" is not just about following the law - it's about a higher standard. My point - and I'll type slowly and clearly - is that when Reilly challenged Deval to go above and beyond legal requirements and disclose his tax returns (shedding light on his fiscal relationship with Ameriquest), in the name of transparency in the political process, he declined.

And every Deval supporter said that Deval's decline to release his returns was fine - that it didn't lessen his "progressive-ness," even though it flew in the face of a higher progressive standard. Fine.

But when Gabrieli does something, completely in line with electoral laws, and sets a CAP - not a TARGET, but a CAP - everyone is up in arms. And please disregard the fact that our waiting GOP opponent has even more money - so resources are a concern.

But (and, Susan, PLEASE read closely), though Gabrieli does have tons of money, it is NOT the reason he is in the race. And it is an insult to Democrats to suggest that.

He runs for office because he wants to serve. He could sit back on a pile of money and not care about Massachusetts - but he CHOOSES to serve and is willing to put his personal resources on the line. How is that not commendable to you? Why do you wish to belittle a citizen's desire to serve the public. Because THAT is the politics of cynicism that I thought Deval was running to eliminate.

Deval has great ideals (not so many original ideas, but great ideals nonetheless) - but many of his supporters (apparently including Susan and Ryan) choose to ignore Deval's message and instead perpetuate the politics of cynicism.

But Susan is right about one thing - this nitpicking IS a distraction from the real issues -- so, the question is, why do Deval supporters keep nitpicking and distracting and raising the ridiculous side-issues that distract from the real issues?

Let's talk education, let's talk job creation, let's workforce training and development, etc.

Or we can focus on Deval's tax returns and relationship to Ameriquest and Gabrieli's personal wealth some more. Entirely your choice.

Ryan Adams said...

hAaron, no it isn't. John Kerry is liberal, but how is he progressive? Progressivism has it's roots all the way back to the beginning of the 20th century and was specifically about things like getting ballot initiatives allowed and stuff like that.

Anonymous (speaking of having no credibility... being anonymous is nice and easy, isn't it?), Deval released all his information - we know more about where Deval's income is than any other candidate for Governor at this point. So your point no longer exists.

Greg, thanks for the link. I'll check it out. I haven't decided who I'll vote for Lt. Gov't yet.

Anonymous x2 (the same guy/gal?),

It's not really my definition of progressive. Sorry if I'm a political scientist and have actually studied these sorts of issues historically...

Lastly, Anonymous, accountability (you know, that fun little word you talked about earlier) is why Susan cares. May I suggest a Suedonym? At least that way, your ideas will be tied to a name, even if it isn't your own.

Anonymous said...

The point isn't about whether Deval released his tax returns or not, per se, when Reilly challenged him to.

The point is that, when Deval didn't, most every Deval supporter looked the other way and said it was perfectly fine AT THE TIME.

That is the double standard.

And, I was being quite facetious about "Ryan's definition of progressivism" - when the definition is, as you put it Ryan, "about things like getting ballot initiatives allowed and stuff like that" (very comprehensive, by the way), you may be giving yourself a bit too much credit to label yourself a "political scientist"

Now I encourage you all to attack the fact that I posted anonymously rather than look at the substance of the post. Best wishes.

Ryan Adams said...

No, that's not what happened. What we all *did* say, at least on the blogosphere, was that he was going to do it soon. And he did.

And as far as my definition of progressivism, I believe I said it more clearly on my blog in the first place... my comment was just speaking to it's early 20th Century history. Progressives want government to be about the people, which includes elections. Many liberals, afraid of being called liberal, try to grab ahold of the progressive label - which has confused a lot of the public. However, liberals *aren't* necessarily progressive.

Susan M. said...

"Anonymous" - I believe I have addressed the substance of your comments. You undermine your credibility by not having enough confidence in your own comments to sign them.

You can type as slowly as you want, and be as smug as you like, but your position is still wrong. Candidates have rules to follow as spelled out by the OCPF -- those guidelines govern what information candidates have to disclose and when. Not Tom Reilly and his pathetic grandstanding and not you and your so-called, "higher standard." Who the hell appointed you arbiter of standards?

Money NOT the reason why Gabrieli is in the race? Bullshit. He has done nothing but throw his money around since he got into the race. Chris Gabrieli wanted to get on the primary ballot in the worst way, and he did. He paid $82,500 just for signatures!

At the March 2006 Greater Lowell Area Democrats (GLAD) meeting Gabrieli said that he was the only Democrat who could win and he is "lucky enough to have money to waste on elections." (that is a direct quote) and that Dems should support him because the primary would be costly and he would be the only candidate with any money left for the general election. I don't know how much clearer you would need to have that made to you, but saying that money isn't a factor for Gabrieli getting into the race is just ridiculous and false.

If Gabrieli "chooses" to serve, then why, when the rumors about him getting into the governor's race were running rampant back in May of 2005 did he decide not to run? I'll tell you why. Because at that time Tom Reilly was still the front runner. Gabrieli is a good establishment Dem -- he's not going to go against the party choice. But after Reilly passed him over for LaFleuriasco for LG followed closely by Reilly getting stiffed at the caucuses, the Dem establishment needed a new standard bearer -- enter Gabrieli and his big swinging checkbook. So far the only insult here is to Deval Patrick, who, up til then (and continues today) has been busting ass to get the grassroots support he knows he needs -- but he does it the hard way by reaching out with vision and idears, not with his check book.

So bearing all that in mind, Chris had an opportunity to show that he wasn't just about money and focus on idears and issues but he wasn't willing to do that. Phil Johnston begged him to keep campaign spending under $5 Mil, but Gabs is having none of that. What's the point of having power, if you can't abuse it, right? So you'll have to forgive me if I'm not buying the idea that Gabrieli was suggesting a cap -- it's more like he was letting Reilly and Patrick know he's got a huge checkbook and he's not afraid to use it.

As for issues, bring 'em on, but I'll remind you that it was YOU that brought up Deval's tax returns to begin with.

Have a nice day.

Anonymous said...

Susan - Wasn't Deval the first candidate to run ads?

I think you're just mad that Gabrieli has more money to spend on ads than Deval does. It's not about Deval's "different kind of politics" - it's the same old politics, just with a difference in the amount of money to spend.

And Gabrieli's ads aren't "Hey, I'm Chris Gabrieli, vote for me." They're "Hey, I'm Chris Gabrieli, vote for me BECAUSE I've accomplished a bunch in the areas of education, workforce development, job creation, and biotech, and I can do even more as Governor."

So what's wrong with that, other than your top choice has less money to spend on the same type of ads.

I guess for Deval's supporters, his tagline of "A Different Kind of Politics" is just "an ordinary slogan."

And Susan can focus on dollar signs all she wants - but the more she does, the more she misses Deval's point about removing the cynicism in politics. Let's talk about accomplishments and ideas and vision. Please!

Ryan Adams said...

I doubt she's mad that Gabrieli has more money... isn't that sort of like the school kids who bragging about how rich their dads were? LOL

No, if Deval Patrick did what Gabrieli did (and had the money to back it up), I would instantly have dropped my support for him.

The fact is that Deval was willing to stick to a 1.5 mil CAP. If money were important, he wouldn't have agreed to a cap when his campaign has already raised millions more than that.

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