On today's editorial page, the Boston Globe editors caution voters not to judge candidates by their bank accounts. Here's the beginning of the editorial:
One plot summary for the 2006 gubernatorial campaign is that it's a race pitting Attorney General Tom Reilly against the millionaires: Chris Gabrieli, Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey, Christy Mihos, and Deval Patrick. The underlying theme is that the politician standing closest to poverty is the purest. And since Reilly is the only one who rents his home, sends his children to public schools, and lives on a government salary (Healey returns hers to the state), he must be the one who can best sympathize with the little guy.I find this very ironic coming from the paper that ran a whole story on Deval Patrick's house, followed it up with a story on how every candidate but Tom Reilly lives in a swanky pad, complains that the "millionaires" won't release their tax returns, and tells us exactly how many of them send their kids to expensive private schools. Now they're cautioning us that voters should be looking for a fuller picture of the candidates? The Globe has been the primary source of the "plot summary" of Tom Reilly vs. the Millionaires, and it seems to me that it's disingenuous for them to now tell us on the editorial page that none of that really matters while their news pages continue to frame the election that way.
It's appealing. But voters need to know more. The size of a candidate's bank account can reveal useful information. But measuring a candidate with a calculator can also generate stereotypes that obscure key issues.