We still view him favorably, even though we certainly did not agree with his position that the Secretary should second guess the town and city clerks' anti-SSM petition signatures. He commented here and explained at length in the interview. We still disagree, but don't question his sincerity about wanting the right result.
From this blog's perspective, highlights of his interview include his views on SSM and his remarks on the petition. First, for SSM, he's wholeheartedly in favor, as in:
Gay marriage is a human right! Who people choose to marry is not the business of the government and this idea that we are going to discriminate against people on the basis of the partners they choose is abhorrent to our fundamental democratic standards and our constitutional standards...I think that we need to recognize that this is going to be the law of the land in the future...Our position is that as long as the rules are that he accept the validation at the municipal level, he needs to do that or change the rules, in coordination with the governor and legislature. We also see evidence of a modest to moderate amount of fraud and other deceit in this petition, but cannot believe that a thorough investigation would disqualify enough signatures to keep the initiative from proceeding to the General Court.
Bonifaz, on the other hand, made it plain that principle trumped pragmatism here to him. He said that as Secretary, he would have:
- Contacted a random sample of signers to verify that meant to sign.
- If a significant number said, "No," he would investigate.
Oddly enough to us, he is comfortable with paid signature gatherers, the likely source of much of the trickery here and elsewhere. Their culpability is understandable when they are paid by the sig.
Bonifaz' position here is also plain and strong, "We have paid campaign staffers, we have paid people in government — it's not wrong that people get paid to gather signatures." Again, we disagree, but he articulates a clearly considered view.
What we see is a bright, well-intentioned doer. To us, he is blending parts of the Attorney General role with the Secretary's. With such a passive-aggressive and sometimes inert AG Tom Reilly, that would be efficient and effective, but it seems odd to us.
It shouldn't be necessary. Yet again, as Lenny Bruce used to say, "Reality is what is. What should be is a dirty lie."