Some random thoughts about the primary, as we
move into one of the most exciting and significant election autumns
in our history.
• "Impossible" in any another year is "doable"
during Revolution 2010. If Jim McKenna can get on the Massachusetts
ballot via a write-in campaign, Christine O'Connell can win the
Delaware Senate seat.
I would have said — and actually did say in
various places — that no one can get 10,000 votes in a sticker
campaign. I thought it was a waste of time, energy and money that
would be drawn from candidates who had already qualified for the
ballot the traditional way. But McKenna got more than enough support
and is now running against Martha Coakley for attorney general.
A court ruling that requires city and town clerks
to allow "voter's intent" helped; McKenna's supporters used talk
radio and the Internet to get Republican primary voters to write in
the candidate. It was an incredible grass-roots achievement that
gives us all a chance to vote against Coakley again, which I am
happy to do.
• It is, of course, much easier to get the 150
write-ins to run for state representative, and the North Shore has
two exciting new candidates, Janet Holmes in Gloucester and
Valentino Troyli in Amesbury, who were bothered by a lack of
competition in their districts so decided at the last minute to run.
The latest mantra against the tea party: Its
members don't understand that the original Boston Tea Party wasn't
about taxes, it was about taxes without representation.
Actually, we know that, which is why so many
newcomers are running for office in Massachusetts. In a one-party
state, we haven't had representation in years; Holmes' and Troyli's
opponents voted last year to increase the sales tax from 5 percent
to 6.25 percent, something which polling shows was very unpopular.
On the national stage, Christine O'Donnell, the
tea party candidate who defeated Republican Congressman Mike Castle
in the GOP primary for U.S. Senate, isn't a newcomer, having run
unsuccessfully against Joe Biden when he held that Delaware seat.
Some establishment Republicans are unhappy with this primary choice,
as Castle was considered a certain winner who could help Republicans
take the Senate in November.
I didn't entirely understand it myself, since
Castle voted against ObamaCare and recent bailouts, and O'Donnell is
way more socially conservative than most voters.
Charles Krauthammer was outspokenly appalled by
her win, partly because he wants a final Republican victory but
also, perhaps, because the brilliantly rational columnist was
paralyzed in a diving accident and Castle is the lead Republican in
favor of stem-cell research. Christine O'Donnell, on the other hand,
shares the religious right's opposition to it.
Nevertheless, she won the primary. WTKK talk show
host Michael Graham argues that "sure she's a nut, but she's a
harmless nut," whose oddest ideas on social issues won't get any
traction in the U.S. Senate, while her strong convictions on the
national debt can help save the country.
Indeed, Krauthammer has since joined Republican
strategist Karl Rove in demanding that O'Donnell supporter Sarah
Palin go to Delaware and make sure that her chosen candidate wins
the general election. Seems like a reasonable request to me.
It wouldn't bother me that HBO's Bill Maher has
O'Donnell on tape admitting she "dabbled in witchcraft," except that
she seemed to equate it with Satanism and blood on sacrificial
altars. Never mind, though, Salem Wiccans, she was just a silly
teenager at the time.
I think we can all admit that many tea party
candidates are more interesting than the carefully scripted
Washington professionals. Could we all forget about personality
foibles and just focus on vital current issues until November?
• Back to Massachusetts: I attended an event on
Saturday at Beverly City Committee headquarters. The focus was on
women, and I enjoyed chatting with Kerry Healey, the former
lieutenant governor; Mary Connoughton, a real auditor running for
state auditor; Angela and Lauren, the charming wives of
congressional candidate Bill Hudak and gubernatorial candidate
Charlie Baker; and some longtime activist friends.
Beverly Democrats were also busy at their
headquarters across the street. Gov. Deval Patrick came over to say
hello to the Republicans, as the Republican candidates went over to
say hi to the Democrats. Of course we can all get along!
This doesn't mean that we shouldn't have
seriously intense debates. Keep in mind though that while Democrats
bellow they are "passionate," they often describe passionate
Republicans, independents, libertarians and tea partiers as "angry,
hostile and combative."
• Hard to make that case against treasurer
candidate Karyn Polito, who never stopped smiling during her Sunday
morning debate with Steve Grossman on WCVB's "On the Record."
She also never let up, charging the wealthy,
longtime partisan of having financed the campaigns of the Democrats
who have let us all down, from Barack Obama to Deval Patrick to the
overwhelmingly Democratic Legislature. Glad she shared the
information that Grossman personally contributed $25,000 to oppose
the rollback of the income tax rate to 5 percent in 2000.
I put her bumper sticker on my back CR-V window
where Scott Brown's resided last winter. Thanks to his January
victory, many activists became candidates this year, as previously
nonpolitical people became activists, eager to support surprisingly
viable anti-incumbent campaigns.