Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Another Republican Failure in Massachusetts


As my chum Elias over at Chimes at Midnight noted two weeks ago, if you can't get a couple of clipboards working at the grocery store, you can't manage your campaign much less office. In his terms:
Y'know collecting signatures is just a basic political skill, you get a few volunteers to stake out the local Stop-n-Shop and in a few weeks yer on the ballot as a bona fide candidate, it is a no brainer. So if Ogonowski can't coerce or simply pay for the foot soldiery to get his signatures free and clear, it is a damning indictment of basic competence as an aspirant for public office.
So Jim Ogonowski, the Puffy White Hope of the local and national GOP, is a master of lethargy and incompetence. The Og has been what passes for campaigning against long-term U.S. Senator John Kerry for months, allegedly raising over $400,000 with the help of the likes of former Gov. Willard Mitt Romney.

Despite his repeated and loud bluster about having plenty of signatures, on the last hour to turn them in, he was 30 short of the 10,000. That was without challenges by anyone, particularly fellow GOP senatorship stalker Jeff Beatty. According to coverage in today's Boston Globe, "His only option now is to seek relief in court, where he can press his case that some local officials lost his signatures, as he asserted to Galvin's office yesterday. Or he could try to mount a write-in or sticker campaign, an extremely difficult task in a statewide race."

I suggested here a few times that he really didn't want it. Most likely, he also knows he'd stand as much chance of surviving that race as a clump of grass in a field of goats.

Yet, he let the local and national Republicans humiliate themselves in praising him. The National Republican Senatorial Committee still as of this morning shows only the Og as running against Kerry. They've known for months that Beatty is serious, that he is actively campaigning as a Republican, and as of the qualification period that he had over 17,000 signatures.

The Og was bound to lose. However, in doing so, if he had anything like his strong showing last year against Niki Tsongas for the U.S. House seat, he'd have helped himself and the wee band of merry men we call the Massachusetts Republican Party.

Truth be told, to you out-of-area types, Republican politicians here are nearly all hiding in the Democratic Party. Numerous observers have noted for decades that this is a three-party state — Liberal Democrats, Conservative Democrats, oh and also a few Republicans. Those who elsewhere would call themselves Republicans know that to raise funds and be elected, they do best by flowing on the wide Democratic River. That often leaves us voters wondering if they are looking at a DINO or the real thing in a race.

So far, none of the local or national GOP leaders who stood up for the Og has commented on his silly failure to qualify. For his part, the Og continued the ignoble right-wing role of refusing to take responsibility for his blunders. To the issue of Beatty ready to challenge some of the signatures, the Og ranted, "The ease of which my opposition has distorted the facts and has created lies and innuendo to attempt to keep me off the ballot just illustrates why most Americans do not trust politicians and why Congress has such a low approval rating. He wants to resort to gutter politics, character assassinations, legal maneuvering, and questionable tactics."

[In an unusual moment of fairness on my part, I agree with many that Hillary Clinton has acted similarly. This is not exclusively a Republican act. For the past couple of months, she blamed her blowing a huge lead on sexism, the media, dirty tricks and on and on. While analysts say she made a long series of serious tactical and strategic errors, she has yet to take any responsibility.]

So this is a time when the state GOP said in effect, "We're not dead yet!" The Og, through what appears to be simple laziness and bad planning, brought in a front-end loader full of dirt for the grave. He wouldn't have beaten Kerry, but a strong vote would have been great for GOP fund raising as well as inspiring other candidates.

On the other hand, we have quite a history of Republican Governors. If that didn't and doesn't inspire hidden Republicans to speak up, stand up, chip in, and run for office, I doubt relative success by a grass grower from Dracut would.

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