The accusation that Eric Bauman is “Macchiavellian” is based on the unstated premise that Macchiavelli wrote in The Prince that “The ends justify the means.” Macchiavelli never wrote that phrase and if Eric is Macchiavellian, it is because his long years of experience have given him the wisdom of the phrase that Macchiavelli really wrote: “Si guarda al fine,” which better translated means “the outcome is what counts” or “one must think of the final outcome.”
I am the quintessential outsider as a member of the Peace & Freedom Party (who despises most of the leaders of my own party too) and somewhat like Eric, I know where all the bodies are buried because I was either on the burial detail or else I had it under surveillance (I’ve been a private investigator for over 30 years). Yet, my political and professional involvements lead me to agree with Eric’s approach to supporting the issues that are important to him.
Term limits? The most important thing they have accomplished in Sacramento and at the municipal level is to hand more actual power to legislative staffers, even though the technical authority to vote and make decisions resides with those who are elected. Experience counts in legislative bodies and when the staffers have been around longer than a legislator or council member, the institutional memory confers more power to the staff.
The logic of Eric’s preference for more or less friendly incumbents is perfectly sound. As Benjamin Franklin said, “Words may show a man’s wit, but his actions, his meaning.” Why exchange oratory during a campaign from somebody who has never worked in government for the known record and ability of an incumbent? The AFL-CIO has a tried and true rule that is institutionalized for candidate endorsements: if an incumbent has a 95% or better COPE rating they should be endorsed except in exceptional circumstances.
The bottom line is that Eric is pragmatic while maintaining his idealism. As Macchiavelli really wrote, he doesn’t lose sight of the final outcome in any of his political calculations. He follows the same pragmatic path that led Morris Kight–West Coast Founder of the Gay Liberation Front and a member of the Peace & Freedom Party–to leave for greener pastures with the Democratic Party where he could actually get things accomplished.