Sunday, August 20, 2006

Why I'm Supporting Bonifaz

For months, I've been saying I'm undecided in two races. In the Lt. Governor race, I've been going back and forth between Goldberg and Silbert - I still haven't made up my mind. However, I've also remained uncommitted in the race for Secretary of State. Sure, there's been one or two times that I've praised Bonifaz for making important statements. However, I've stayed fast to the line: my votes don't belong to anyone yet. Well, I've finally come to a decision on one race. I'm getting behind Bonifaz.

Months ago, I didn't think he was "polished" enough. In truth, he probably isn't. However, maybe I bumped my head on a wall or something, because I came to a very sudden and impropable epiphany: what the hell does looking polished have to do with it? I'm much more concerned with what he actually brings to the table.

When it comes to running for office, he's doing it the right way: a grassroots effort. Deval Patrick has proven that not only can the grassroots work, but it can even do so in the face of a strong and wealthy establishment.

Bonifaz's campaign hasn't been anywhere near as successful as Deval Patrick's has been, but can we blame him? While Deval Patrick hasn't been going down the Gabrieli route and throwing his own personal wealth around the table, he's certainly had more to give his campaign than Bonifaz. Furthermore, often people won't get behind candidates unless they have money - and whether or not Deval has been willing to spend a good chunk of his, the fact that he has it certainly hasn't hurt donors willing to give him their $500 bucks. Ultimately, Deval's success brought forth an unrealistic expectation for other candidates when it comes to grassroots campaign. Something special coalesced around Deval's campaign - perhaps aided by his charisma and leadership - that not even Ned Lamont got in Connecticutt.

In fact, Bonifaz got around the same percentage of State Convention votes as Ned Lamont did in his state - both around 35%, a big victory for someone running against a powerful incumbent in a primary. The fact that Bonifaz got 35% of the votes should have been considered a huge coup and propelled his narrative into the media airwaves, but Deval's story overshadowed him.

In reality, the convention doesn't matter - even if Bonifaz's performance was a triumph. Here's what mattes: I've met one candidate for Secretary of State and that wasn't the incumbent. On a warm and sunny April morning, Bonifaz was just on the busy streets of Boston handing out fliers and shaking hands. I didn't even have to go to some big event to try to meet him; he was just there. He may as well have knocked on my door!

Bonifaz is doing things candidates should be doing to win votes. Yet, I should punish him because he isn't "polished?" Nonsense.

Not only did I shake his hand that day, but he listens and reads what people have to say. Imagine that? Instead of getting scorn from politicians, I was quoted on his website. As a blogger, I'm used to vitriolic attacks - but Bonifaz understands the netroots are a force of good, even if not everyone on Leftyblogs has embraced him. Unfortunately, I haven't seen or heard anything about Galvin when it comes to the netroots. In fact, I don't see or hear much of anything from him at all.

In fact, the tipping point in my decision to vote for Bonifaz is his internet presence. Not only is Bonifaz using the internet to educate voters and compel them to vote for him, he's pointing voters out to some of the most important issues going on in Massachusetts. The race isn't about Bonifaz, it's about the issues - and whether or not he wins, he's probably done more good for electoral politics outside of office than Galvin has as an elected official.

Whenever there's been questionable voting or ballot practices, Bonifaz emails supporters to tell them. Why isn't Galvin telling voters about ballot fraud and potentially illegal "Killer Coke" practices? (Or Tom Reilly, for that matter?) I want a Secretary of State that's going to let me know what's going on - that's going to be transparent and accessible. At the very least I'll know he's doing his job and he'll be held accountable. Better yet, by creating thousands of informed voters, there's a chance our collected advocacy could help resolve the situation, even if whatever is going on isn't in his legal domain as Secretary of State. If elected, it seems like he won't be just a Secretary of State, but an advocate and leader.

Though it's taken me far longer than it should have to realize this, voting for Bonifaz is a no-brainer. In fact, I can't think of a valid reason to NOT vote for him.

He doesn't look the part? How should he look?

Because there are other, non-voting responsibilities of a Secretary of State? Sure there are, but what does that have to do with anything? Are they as important? Regardless, Bonifaz will fulfill all his job requirements. If he doesn't, he'll be held accountable.

People should vote for Galvin because he isn't a horrible human being? I'm sick of politicians getting by because they don't cheat on their taxes and force interns to babysit. Is it enough that they merely go to work everday? I want more than that in a politician and an expert on voting rights sounds good to me.

Maybe Galvin doesn't deserve to go. After all, Bonifaz "should" be running for the State Legislature instead. However, people said the same things to Deval Patrick when he said he was running for Governor - it's Tom Reilly's turn, he isn't a bad Attorney General, Deval should run for a smaller office first - and I rejected that nonsense right then and there.

It's time we change Massachusetts. Down with the Good 'ol Boys and in with people who will stand up for everyday citizens of this Commonwealth. I see Bonifaz as being part of that change and that's why I'm voting for him - I only hope there are enough people out there who agree with me. Bonifaz can - and should - win.

1 comment:

Juan Martinez said...

This is John Bonifaz's campaign manager. A belated but no less sincere "thank you" for your endorsement of John's candidacy and for your thoughtful explanation of your support. Onward to victory!

About Ryan's Take