Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Massachusetts miracle indeed!
Early this morning I was pleasantly surprised to read a guest column by Izzy Lyman, my forever friend and once the token "conservative columnist" for the Daily Hampshire Gazette. We were kind of bookends as I was then the token "conservative columnist" for the Gazette's sister publication the Amherst Bulletin.
Izzy of course submitted this over a week ago and only today it saw the light of ink. So yeah, a tad dated. Now you know why I call the Gazette crusty.
On one recent evening – specifically January 19th – I wished I still lived in Massachusetts.
For many years, bombastic Amherst was Home Sweet Home, and I spent a chunk of that time happily writing bombastic newspaper columns.
What I would have given to cover the People’s Candidate’s victory party.
Oh, to watch herstory become history.
Oh, to be able, after years of seeing a “D” after every name in the congressional delegation, to simply gaze at the lone “R.”
Oh, to take a stand against Wall Street bailouts, ACORN hustlers, Cash for Clunkers boondoogles, and Rachel Maddow’s point of view.
Oh, to be in Massachusetts on a wintry election day and vote for Scott Brown for the seat formerly held by Teddy Kennedy.
Candidly speaking, however, Senator-elect Brown is not this Tea Party sympathizer’s cup of tea.
Brown, after all, isn’t really a social conservative. He supports civil unions, and he is pro-choice. Two strikes.
He is also “passionate” about improving that dinosaur known as public education. The Cosmo Centerfold strikes out, even with Kurt Schilling’s staunch support.
But these are times that try men’s and women’s souls, and, for once, improv, not hard-line stands, seemed the better way to take a shot at taking down the mighty Massachusetts Liberal Machine. For once, voting for a third party candidate was not only a wasted vote but a wasted opportunity.
Plus, there was something about Scott. Unlike Bill Weld, the quintessential Rockefeller Republican, as well all those other colorless moderates the Massachusetts GOP endlessly promotes, Brown comes across as playful and credible. He is of the masses and yet a cut above them - campaigning in the beloved truck, the wife and daughters who didn’t flinch in front of the camera, the grueling triathlon training, the J.D. degree, and the national guard service. If Brown insists on continued support of the War on Terror, at least, he is no chickenhawk. He has been a Minuteman-in-waiting for quite some time.
On a more wonkish note, Brown’s lack of enthusiasm for nationalizing health care, as well as his unabashed support for free enterprise and lower taxes, were deal breakers in wooing social conservatives and free-thinking libertarians to his camp. And if the Next Big Thing in the U.S. Congress is passing comprehensive immigration reform, Brown’s opposition to amnesty is a stand for economic justice, especially when the unemployment rate is over 10 %. Same goes for his opposition to granting driving privileges and in-state tuition to illegal immigrants.
The saintly Gerald Amirault, declaring himself a Scott Brown supporter, gave the campaign gravitas. Amirault, falsely accused of child rape in the notorious Fell Acres day care case, deserved a small measure of justice for the extra time he spent in prison, thanks, in part, to Cruella de Coakley badgering Gov. Jane Swift to deny Amirault clemency.
And that brings us to the Attorney General. “Marcia” is that instantly recognizable cliche – the Northeast Corridor feminist who practices law and crusades against ‘hate’ crimes but sticks up for open borders - aloof, earnest, dull, and out-of-touch. Martha Coakley didn’t lose this race because she is a woman. It’s that she is “that woman.” The kind of gal that would have pimped, legislatively-speaking, for this Democratic administration by supporting the largely-discredited public option. Also the kind of gal that hassled little old ladies in gardening clubs, over their financials, while receiving support from Emily’s List.
She just wasn’t Kennedy-torch-bearing material. She was more like someone Barack Obama would have appointed ‘Social Justice Czar.’ Aloof, earnest …
Conversely, a creative thinker might argue that the silver-haired, athletic, public-servant- oriented Brown could have been a distant Kennedy cousin, albeit one who hung out with showbizzy Protestants, snuck peeks at Fox News, and shopped at Big Box stores.
It will be interesting to see how this all turns out, but supporters of Scott Brown need to remain engaged, since he is up for re-election in 2012. He is now Ken to Sarah Palin’s Barbie, and his every move will be scrutinized. The Bay State’s establishment press, academia, and branches of government remain unapologetically statist, so he will need all the help he can get from bloggers, tweeters, podcasters, youtubers, and every other establishment-rocking citizen journalist and alert citizen around. Perhaps Brown could be persuaded to go rogue vs. elite, and have a few coffees with Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), instead of rushing to play hoops with the President. Being schooled by the elder statesman from Texas on how to honor the Constitution is, I would argue, the better use of this rookie’s time.
Meanwhile, January 19th remains a date to remember. It was on that day that the good people of Massachusetts liberated themselves from that ball and chain known as ‘politics as usual.’ They have now joined the mainstream.
Of course at this moment State Senator Stan Rosenberg must be thinking: DAMN!