Saddle up your swayback horses with cliché tack. The MA governor's race will be the wheezing GOP-for-balance one.
Lordy, that's tired and stupid!
Do-nothing state rep and senator, then fizzling firecracker fill-in US Senator Scott Brown said he would not run for MA governor next year. At least this time he seems to have finally learned not to jerk his party around until it was too late for other candidates to raise money.
That likely was a race he might have won. He hasn't failed at this race. His probable Dem opponent, Steve Grossman or a slimmer chance of Juliette Kayyem, face the dual disadvantages of that one-party paranoia and less celebrity glow.
The badly aging former teen model suffers from his own dual problems brought by ego and vanity. Someone he trusts needs to alert him to the reality that he is already making more money than he deserves to and that his occasional appearances on TV and in other media let him pretend to be wise and observant — traits he has never shown. He can play that online and on air without challenge.
Now the empty-bench MA GOP turns over in their political bed back to their old companion, Charles D. Baker Jr. Supposition, already in the Boston tabloid, is that the nomination for next year's race is his already.
Oddly, there may be other, better candidates, but they are hiding as Dems. The fairy tale here is that progressive, very left Dems dominate the politics, indeed the whole world of the Bay State.
If you are simpleminded and literal enough, sure, you can make that case. Both houses of the legislature are rife with Dems and have only a few Republicans. You can point to an over 3-to-1 party enrollment among voters as well.
Yet, numbers as well as even cursory analysis show a different reality. Consider that party registration is 35.7% Dem and 11.1% GOP, with a half percent Green-Rainbow and political designations (not officially parties but still a voter registration choice). Wait, you say, that's less than half. Sure enough, over half the MA voters do not choose a party — 52.6%.
The unenrolled as the official term has it regularly vote Democratic Party but have their pretense. They love literally to shout at polling places that they are "not unenrolled. I"m independent!" It's sort of silly but not too bad as adult foibles go. I've written on this before.
The One-Party Game
The game we play here is pin the governor on the statehouse. We've had up to 18 running years with Republican governors, while we vote solidly for Dem presidential candidates and keep that Dem balance on Beacon Hill otherwise.
The unproven, unprovable fantasy is that if we have a one-party system both legislative and executive branches, something terrible will happen. Specifically, voters across parties are wont to tell pollsters that Dems will ride the state with their spurs digging in, implementing all manner of extreme left-wing laws and expenditures. Voters are apt to chant, "It's only common sense."
That phrase is a verbal and political tic. Almost invariably that and "let's not reinvent the wheel" mean "I got nothing. I'm about to make wild, unsupported assertions and don't expect to have to justify them."
Back to reality, both major parties here are full of moderates and wishy-washy liberals. A few Republican legislators over the years have been nutty anti-choice types and such, but not many.Moreover, former Gov. Willard Mitt Romney constantly had to dance around his leadership in implementing universal health care for us while he was in office, arguably the most liberal act of any MA gov.
I contend that most Republican voters hide in the unenrolled ranks. Likewise, I contend that most Republican legislators hide as Democrats. There's general truth to the idea that except for governor or legislature from very conservative districts, you need a D next to your name for election.
That written, Left Ahead co-host Ryan Adams and I are among the legion lefties who want a more vibrant MA GOP. We end up speaking in political and economic code here instead of having substantial discourse and debate, both in campaigns and in the statehouse.
Lackaday, we seem to have a courage deficit here. Many Dem pols are willing to say they are fiscally or socially conservative but none switches to the GOP. For the Republicans, I can't even get a state party chair to chat it up with us on Left Ahead.
I had hopes for Jennifer Nassour. Three times when we met, she said how much she looked forward to coming on the show. Twice she asked for my card, took it and swore she'd make it happen. She never returned calls or email afterward.
Now I've tried the current one, Kristen Hughes. As close as I've gotten was to her scheduler guy. I called repeatedly to get him. I admit it was amusing when he heard the name of the show and asked whether we were left-wing. I told him both Ryan and I were progressive sorts, but that we let guests speak their piece without badgering them, pulling out surprise adversaries or using trick questions. He swore he'd get back with me but never has. No guts, those elephants.
I'd very much like to ask Hughes what chance she has of flipping conservative voters from unenrolled and conservative pols from Democratic. I do see that as the positive future of the GOP here. Then again, that would require both insight and courage.