Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Progressives Flash or Crash Yesterday

In Massachusetts, progressives had mixed results in yesterday's primary. Yet even the losses and unresolved elections are promising. Briefly, we have better choices than voters in most places in the nation.

The best was Sonia Chang-Díaz elbowing eight-term incumbent state Senator Dianne Wilkerson. That was the race that befuddled the most lefties here. Wilkerson had a great record of voting progressively, particularly on marriage equality and GLBT issues. She had a terrible record of obeying financial laws and regulations. Moreover, behind the affection for her voting record, she was not a leader in the sense that she created bills and created coalitions to enact them.

Elsewhere, two progressives went for U.S. Sen. John Kerry's seat. The incumbent crushed Gloucester lawyer Ed O'Reilly with nearly 70% of the vote. Yet being challenged in the Dem primary for the first time in his 24 years in office seemed to have been the hormone shot Kerry has needed for some time. He has been churning out bills and putting his name on funding, government and private, like a young legislator. O'Reilly challenge looks like a great boon to the voters here.

A few are unsolved as of this morning, like 29th Middlesex (Watertown and a snip of Cambridge), where Jon Hecht is one of several after the vacant seat. (Word from Steve Owens this morning is that Hecht, the race's progressive won by over 800 votes [55%], excluding a runoff campaigns.)

The progressives failed in 35th Middlesex. DINO Paul Donato skunked two lefties there — James Caralis and Patrick McCabe. (Links here are to their podcasts on Left Ahead! last month.) It seems Medford-area folk complain a lot about their rep, but are not ready to toss him.

There's no indication of any huge trend to left and progressive newcomers this season nationwide. Assuming some Congressional pickup by Dems, we should end up with a more humane and rational House and Senate. We would be damned lucky if we end up with the 60-vote Senate margin necessary to override the Republican dam on good legislation.

Locally though, we can revel in having choices among candidates with good positions. We should be aware of how fortunate we are.

Also: The Chang-Díaz results and her victory celebration.

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