Michael: Superintendant of Public InstructionFormer GOP State Senator Slade Mead has decided to run for SPI on the Democratic Party ticket. He is opposed in the Primary by Jason Williams, a former elementary school teacher and Teach For America leader.
Now, I am every bit as delighted as the next blatant partisan when a member of the other party is so abused by his party leadership for doing what he thinks is the right thing (in Mead's case voting for a budget that didn't gut public education for our children) that he feels a need to switch parties. But despite welcoming Mead to the party as a supporter of our goals, I'm not yet convinced that he isn't just waiting for the right-wing insanity to pass away in his own party.
Is Slade Mead really suitable to be a leader and an state office-holder in the Democratic party just because he's had a falling out with the nuttiest Arizona Republicans? In fact, isn't Slade Mead, despite the party switch, really a moderate Republican? Democrats can work with and negotiate with moderate Republicans; Democrats don't help elect them.
I guess what I'm saying is that I suspect the Mead has just switched from being a RINO to being a DINO. Isn't he really an Independent? And shouldn't he run as such? I mean, there must be reasons he was a Republican other than his budgetary priorities.
Do we really want Mead, despite his obvious commitment to public education, to represent our party as its highest public educational official? Surely we can find someone to contest that office, who, like General Clark, is a Democrat for more reasons than Rove not taking his calls? I think it's great that Slade Mead has decided to become a Democrat, but I think I want more assurance that he's really committed to staying one before I give him my vote.
Now that I mention it, we do have an indubitable Democrat in the race: Jason Williams. As a career educator and administrator of Teach For America in Phoenix, Mr. Williams is eminently well-qualified for the post, and he's really a Democrat (not just serving time in the 'I'm no longer a Republican' penalty box).
I'll be casting my primary vote for Jason Williams for SPI. I hope you will consider his candidacy closely, too.