Joe Finley is running for County Executive to save us all from bossism. Not that he’ll tell us what the hell that means:
- Finley, 58, said he wants to end ''bossism'' in the county. He lost in a closer-than-expected primary last fall to longtime Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic.
''If anybody understands bossism in Summit County, it's Joe Finley,'' he said.
He declined to comment further, other than saying his primary results were encouraging. He said he would make a full statement Friday afternoon when he files campaign petitions with the Summit County Board of Elections.
By “bossism” it’s fair to assume that he refers to current Executive Russ Pry having been Democratic Party Chair. And when he says that he understands it better than anyone, it’s safe to assume he’s referring to the party backing Mayor Plusquellic in the primary last fall.
Opposing bossism in this formulation isn’t in itself a bad thing. Certainly it is within the political experience of most Americans that bosses don’t necessarily work for the common good, often working instead for their own. And I have had my disagreements with Pry who has not always been friendly to grassroots involvement in the party process.
That said, simply running against bossism isn’t a platform. And just like in the last election, Finley is unlikely to offer either workable ideas of his own or a record of accomplishment. He will only be able to criticize his opponent. Worse, his criticisms will likely be an incoherent and knee-jerk as before.
Worse still, he’s not running against Plusquellic’s personality this time. Instead, his opponent is a genuinely nice guy who has made many friends and (within the party anyway) few enemies. And he just played a big part in inking the deal to keep Goodyear in town – a deal Finley will no doubt run against. And unlike the last primary, Finley can’t count on either taking advantage of a low turnout or urging Republicans to cross over to vote for him.
If Finley’s success was anything other than a vote against the Mayor’s sometime abrasiveness, now’s the time to show it. But here’s the thing about bosses: They tend to get in those positions because they know stuff and have done stuff. Whatever the vices of bossism, it just won’t do to replace it with hasn’t-done-sh*t-ism.