The simple truth about Terry Goddard is that he is not electable as governor of this state. The fact that he would be a disaster in that role is secondary. Like everyone else who sees through him, I find the mere possibility that Goddard might be our next governor at once frightening and absurd.
Goddard's political career is a triumph of perception over reality. As mayor of Phoenix, he has been nothing more than a glib fraud.
Goddard has never wielded any real power. The power in this city comes from the hand of the city manager, the police chief, Councilmember Howard Adams and even that diabolical zealot from the streets department who controls those crews that keep tearing up various city roadways. To get himself elected mayor, Goddard posed as the champion of the dispossessed. Then he turned deceitful politician only moments after being elected mayor.
Goddard beat his first mayoral opponent, Pete Dunn, over the head with charges that Dunn had sold out to Charlie Keating. But Goddard never let on that he himself also had obsequiously sought Keating's financial aid--until Keating blew the whistle on the twirp. Terry Goddard is one of those poor little rich boys who never has been required to hold a real job in his life. Obviously, Goddard now presumes that becoming governor is his familial right. His father, Sam Goddard, was governor and is now the head of the Democratic party in Arizona. Ergo, Terry should spend some time as governor, too.
Goddard's political career does not really exist. It's all been done with mirrors. Even those voters initially fooled by him now realize he's clearly a tool of vested interests.
Ask yourself one question.
When has Goddard ever stood up for the average man against the wishes of the rich and powerful? Answer: never.
Worse still, Goddard even failed the big guys because he never could sell voters on those multimillion-dollar hustles, like ValTrans, that would have enriched Arizona Public Service and the armies of developers who infest this state.
This is the amazing thing about Goddard. People who haven't watched him closely think he's been a good mayor. But they can't tell you one thing Goddard has succeeded in doing while in office that has benefited the city.
Do you really think Patriots Square was worth the money and the disruption? And what ever happened to the great laser lights Goddard promised?
Do you think that high-speed car race through downtown Phoenix in the heat of the summer actually helped the city's image?
Has the stench of Goddard's amphitheatre deal left your nostrils yet?
Do you remember all the Goddard posturing about the coming of major league baseball? Do you remember the stadium deal? Do you remember when he was bringing professional football to Phoenix?
Are you really satisfied that the City of Phoenix and the taxpayers weren't taken for one grand ride by Jerry Colangelo and the Phoenix Suns? What do we have here?
Goddard's entire mayoral tenure has been an amusing fraud. There are no accomplishments. There is no record.
The city has never been run by Goddard. He is merely the face we see on television. It's actually run by Marvin Andrews, the city manager, who recently decided to make an honest man out of himself by becoming the official, paid front man for the Phoenix 40. As mayor, Goddard has been more than just a failure. Actually, we all might have been able to stomach failure. We could have convinced ourselves that Goddard merely wasn't strong enough to stand up to Burton Barr and the other slickers who run this city and state.
But the reality is much worse.
There are those who remember the promises Goddard made to get elected mayor. To them he has become a more contemptible figure than any mere failure because Goddard betrayed everyone who battled to elect him to office.
Look back on it. How different would Phoenix be if the voters had elected Pete Dunn mayor when they had the chance?
Not a bit different.
And yet, Dunn was rejected because he was perceived to be a tool of developers. We elected Goddard who promised to save us from all that. The joke has been on us.
Incredibly, Goddard locked arms with the very man he fought against so publicly, the reptilian Burton Barr, who for years has dealt in the secrets and weaknesses of men both in and out of power. Barr has become Goddard's Svengali. And together Goddard and Barr are now marching in lock step, toward the ninth floor. This is the same Barr who ran the legislature for so many years. The same Barr who was badly beaten by Evan Mecham and Max Hawkins in a Republican primary for governor four years ago.
But Barr has never stopped. He merely has changed his base of operations. Denied the governor's office by Mecham's upset triumph, Barr moved in as Goddard's chief adviser in the mayor's office.
Terry Goddard can offer us nothing but moonbeams and effete posturing. There is no conceivable way Goddard could work his will on the state legislature.
With Goddard as governor, we would have more of the same kind of leadership we got from the inept Rose Mofford. Goddard is Mofford minus the kachina dolls.
Can you imagine Goddard calling legislators to his office and reading them the Riot Act over one of his pet bills?
Can you ever visualize him striking fear into the hearts of state employees?
Certainly this state needs a new governor. Desperately.
But Terry Goddard, the Son of Sam, is not that man. Clearly.
As mayor of Phoenix, he has been nothing more than a glib fraud.