Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Who is Shaw Friedman and why should you care? (No, not Kinky Friedman, he's from Texas)

Greetings again fellow flacks, hacks, and dumpster Divers! This is commentary and I am chagrined to be back in the realm of serious stuff and beg that you don't throw old, rotten vegetables at me for taking up so much space. Sometimes you just gotta speak out.

Trust me. I'd rather be writing about Obama-blather (his or hers) and the Democrat Party's slow spiral into insanity. But, I digress...

Most frequent readers of this page know that I am not a huge supporter of the current Governor. No one will ever accuse your humble Dumpster Diver as being a lap dog for the Administration. We disagree about plenty, but he's the elected leader and he has done much that is good for our state. What you can't say about Mitch Daniels is that he hasn't tried - hard - and sometimes his ideas haven't worked out.

I recently had to go through the quadrennial "Happy Birthday" pilgrimage to the BMV to get a new drivers license. Let me just say it was no where near the experience I "enjoyed" a scant four years ago. (Friendly, courteous, and fast ... In and out ... 17 minutes. Certified. I timed it with my citizens Eco-drive Chronograph wristwatch) With all the problems I had had with some of the things in this administration, just the fact that the BMV works is enough to earn my eternal gratitude.

So the administration is trying something new and innovative and all of a sudden the local cage-liner reports that LaPorte County lawsuit seeks to halt welfare privatization. The lawsuit, filed by Messr. Friedman, Esq., is interesting because of this little tidbit from the Tim Evans story which is both instructive and enlightening:

LaPorte attorney Shaw R. Friedman, who is representing the eight Hoosiers who filed the lawsuit, said in a statement.

"The only thing that Mitch Daniels and Mitch Roob will respect is a court order, and we aim to get that for them."

Roob called the suit "transparently political," noting Friedman is a former Democratic Party leader in LaPorte County. FSSA also rents office space from Friedman and his father, Roob said, and they stand to lose money if the agency moves its county office to a new location.

Look, dissent is a healthy thing. Debate is an integral part of our Civil discourse. But using the Courts to get your way when you lose at the ballot box, to stifle innovation, or to derail a part of the administration priorities, is just wrong.

So I am wondering: "Who is Shaw Friedman?"

Well, he has a long history as a "Democrat Operative. Recent examples include:

• 2008 Edwards for President Supporter
• 2004 Dean for America Indiana coordinator
• General Chairman of the Donnelly for Congress (IN-02)
• former LaPorte County Democratic Chair
• former Legal Counsel, Indiana Democratic Party

Shaw Friedman has a history of bashing Mitch Daniels.

In an article in the Howey Political Report entitled Shaw Friedman: Daniels’ Iraq
Negligence Disqualifies 2nd Term he writes:

There should be a reckoning for these kinds of mistakes. Many Americans have
paid the ultimate sacrifice for this conflict and the horrendous costs continue to
mount. Hoosiers will have an opportunity to tell Mitch Daniels in November they
won’t abide that kind of grossly negligent conduct and they aren’t willing to trust
that kind of judgment at the helm of our state government for the next four years.

In May, he chided former Democrat Governor Joe Kernan simply for cooperating with
Governor Daniels as part of the Kernan-Shepard Commission. The “open letter” was
entitled “Say it ain’t so Joe”

Say it ain't so, Joe. Not only are many of your criticisms of local government off
base, but it appears this governor is cynically using your help on his Blue Ribbon
Commission to aid his own re-election effort. Don't let him get away with it.

And there's more. . .

Joe, you don't understand Mitch is one of those ideogical [sic]Republicans. He's not a
mainstream Republican like Doc Bowen or Bob Orr who believed that there was
a role for government and who you could reach across the aisle and work with.
Instead, Mitch is like his buddy Grover Norquist, who believes government ought
to serve only the rich and powerful and the rest of it - public services - should be
sold off, privatized or shrunk down so it can be "drowned in a bathtub."

Not to mention that "Big Time Financial Contributor" connection:

Friedman has supported Jill Long-Thompson financially since 2002, with $1,700 in contributions
for her challenge to Rep. Chris Chocola.

In addition, Mr. Friedman was a frequent contributor to Jim Schellinger, who sought the
Democratic Nomination in opposition to Jill Long-Thompson, contributing $3,500 to his
campaign. So, at least we know that he wasn't really supporting Jill-Longshot.

On the federal level, Shaw Friedman has contributed over $32,000 to Democrat
candidates since 2001. That's about $4600/year - not over the top, but way above average. Of course, that figure doesn't count the $24,550 he gave to state pols and orgs during the similar time frame.

Well, it's really more of the same, isn't it?

When I first got involved in politics, I had a great mentor who taught me the first two rules of the game: First, learn how to count. Second, follow the money. There is more to this lawsuit than you're liable to read about in the Drive-by-ME-dia. (Albeit, in fairness and full disclose, I generally like the reporting that Tim Evans does. At least he is honest about it. Too bad the cage-liner can't get out of its own way. But, I digress again. Back on topic.

No one believes that we should have people starving to death, dying in the streets and generally causing a nuisance at every major street corner in the city. By the same token, there are some things that can be better done by the private sector - need I point out that it took years for the State to upgrade their technology and by the time they finally got it done, it was obsolete and the various agencies still can't communicate with one another. The technology that drives the websites in the US government uses technology from the early 1990s with code that was written in the 1980s. Um, need I say more.

UPDATE: YET ANOTHER EXAMPLE. Yes, I need to say more! Anyone notice that the Air Traffic Control System crashed in Atlanta on 8/26 and fouled up flights at 31 airports around the country? And we wonder why innovation and cool things like, um, ATMs and iPhones aren't a product of the government. Clearly, the private sector can deliver goods and services better than the government and government should get out of the way and let them do it.

Give these innovative solutions a chance. If it fails, fine. Sue 'em then.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Mr. Friedman is also very tight with the Steelworkers and quickly used their entre with Jill to burrow his way into her good graces. I've not checked recently to see if he's made a sizable "make-up" contribution to Jill yet, but I wouldn't be surprised.