I put some nonstandard queries to the two nominees in the Senate special election, hoping their answers might be illuminating — or at least unexpected.
Here are Gabriel Gomez’s responses:
1. Are TV shows getting better or worse?
Better! I’m a “Criminal Minds” kinda guy. I don’t keep up with the Kardashians.
2. Is there a popular political aphorism or rule of thumb that you consider egregiously wrong?
“No one in this world has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby” – H. L. Mencken I think people, and voters in Massachusetts, are smarter than cynics give them credit for. That’s why my campaign is focused on the issues.
3. Lord Acton famously warned that “power tends to corrupt.” Do you feel that his warning applies to you?
That’s why I support term limits as part of my “Reboot Congress” plan: two terms for Senators and three for Representatives. I agree with our forefathers that legislators should be citizen-servants. Congressmen should represent their constituents and come home to live under the laws they created.
4. Did you ever read a book that changed your way of looking at the world?
Yes. “Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide,” by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.
5. Do too many people go to college?
I wouldn’t discourage anyone from going to college, but there are many vocations you can train for, be happy in, and make a good living at without going into the massive debt kids do today. I had a chance to visit Assabet Valley Vocational High School, where most of the kids are focused on learning a given trade, and I saw first-hand that some students can flourish outside of a college environment.
6. Former presidents get a hefty annual pension; lavish staff, office, and travel allowances; round-the-clock security; health care for life. Given such generous taxpayer support, is it appropriate for ex-presidents to pocket tens of millions of dollars in speaking fees?
I think that being President is a tough job, and I think there are more substantial areas we can cut.
7. Is every problem in society something government should address? Can you name a troubling social concern that does not require government action?
We don’t have unlimited resources, so we can’t address every problem with government. We have to prioritize. That being said I think we need to do whatever we can to ensure everyone has access to the American Dream that I did.
8. Which senator in Massachusetts history would you say was most overrated? Most underrated?
I’m not going to attack a former senator, so I wouldn’t classify any as being overrated. Picking an underrated one is easy: Senator Ed Brooke. He’s my favorite Massachusetts senator and I think his election, as not only a Republican, but an African American during the 60’s helped break down many barriers and was key to making the type of civil rights progress our nation needed.
9. What’s the best blunder you ever made?
Ha, so many choices! My best blunder would be deciding to try out for the SEALs even though it meant risking my status as a pilot. My friends thought I was stupid, but betting on myself has always worked out fine.
10. Thomas Jefferson said in 1787: “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.” Do you agree?
As we’ve seen with the recent scandals in Washington, we need government to be held accountable and the media has done a good job of that. A free democracy and a free press are fortunately not mutually exclusive.