I'm personally hoping for something
definitive: near-total victory, or near-total defeat. I want
to know: Are we saved as a nation, as a commonwealth, or are
we doomed? Just don't want to muddle along in political
limbo ... Bounce, or go splat.
my last column, Tuesday, Nov. 6, Salem News
The nation bounced, but Massachusetts voters'
decision on congressional races was irrelevant to the fate of
the country. I didn't hear the national media even mention our
state, it's so boringly predictable.
My friends back in Pennsylvania are
celebrating. My ex-husband in New Jersey is excited about Gov.
Christie's plans for reform. Ed Naile, from the Coalition of New
Hampshire Taxpayers, called right after the election to share
his enthusiasm about taking back that state.
In Massachusetts, we re-elected Barney Frank,
one of the architects of the economic crisis, and chose as our
state auditor Suzanne Bump, who cheated on her property taxes.
We are a joke; have to admit it's kind of
I removed the bumper stickers from my car
before cold weather made it more difficult, but I kept Mary Z.
Connoughton's just to publicly state that with this one race at
least, I am provably smarter than most other voters. Am looking
for a new "Scott Brown 2012" sticker.
Some Massachusetts friends are thinking about
moving; I've thought about Nevada myself, but there may be
refugees fleeing California soon and I'd rather my cabin not be
the first thing they see as they cross the Sierras.
Besides, the decision here wasn't definitive
enough to encourage my own flight.
Though all my favored congressional and
statewide candidates lost, 19 of the fresh legislative
candidates who took the "no new taxes" pledge won and will be
added to the thin red line of defense in the House next year.
Some others who lost are already talking about running again.
It's interesting that when the Democratic
machine turned out its voters, they voted straight "D" down the
line, until some of them swerved to vote for Connoughton, the
"R" who came closest in the statewides. Were that many people
that well-informed about the state auditor race? Perhaps they
simply recognized Mary's name from her Turnpike Authority "stop
the toll increase" battles, while Bump was a stranger everywhere
but in her former legislative district.
More difficult to analyze is the governor's
race. The optimistic assumption that Charlie Baker could win in
a three-way race, looks more like a fantasy in the cold light of
post-election day. The Cahill candidacy made sense in the
beginning, when as an independent he took up the cause of
revolution; but by the end of October it could only take down
This may have been revenge for the Republican
Governors Association's nasty anti-Cahill campaign. I'm told by
professionals that attack ads were necessary to induce a viable
two-way race, but I wish that the Baker campaign had instead
presented Charlie earlier, so people could get to know him,
which would have helped make the case for his superior
Perhaps those qualifications were part of the
problem. Charlie is a great guy. The attacks on him — not just
from Democrats, not just about issues or politics — seemed
strange to me until I identified the envy factor.
There was a final clue in
Joan Vennochi's Globe column last weekend, in which she
noted with apparent pleasure that "Patrick's victory handed
Baker his first serious setback in life."
There are men and women of all political
persuasions who like to bring down those who seem to have
everything — looks, multiple talents, comfortable circumstances,
a beautiful family, admiring friends. If Charlie resembled Chris
Christie, perhaps he too could be governor.
And then there was the ideological
irrationality: The talk-show caller who asserted he'd never vote
for Baker because, despite a 94 percent rating with the Gun
Owners Action League, Charlie wasn't enthusiastic enough about
assault weapons. Presumably Deval Patrick is. Presumably his
re-election also suits those vitriolic social conservatives who
couldn't get over Baker's choice of a gay running mate.
Never mind. Let the Democrats have the
commonwealth. We taxpayers have some new allies in the
Legislature to at least put up a fight on future tax increases
if the majority party interprets the defeat of Question 3 as a
grass-roots request for more of them.
As someone once said, "It's only a movie" — a
comedy here in Massachusetts, a great drama at the national
level. I plan to enjoy the action from a reclining chair for a
Look, the Federal Reserve is announcing that
it will pump hundreds of billions into the economy! I turn off
the TV and pick up "Destined for Failure" by Holy Cross
professor of economics Nicolas Sanchez, about the American
Really scary, I'm thinking, "Whoa!" — which
reminds me to turn TV back on and watch the Breeder's Cup
Classic. Zenyatta comes from far behind. Never saw a horse run
so fast, what a beautiful sight! Still she loses to Blame in a
photo finish. Makes you want to cry. Happy for Blame though,
he's gorgeous, too.
Political races are far from beautiful and
the winners, not always champions. Still, we acknowledge the
thrill of the game, and continue to place our bets.