Spring is coming, I
just know it! Even though after the November election, I thought we
might never see political hope and joy again.
Here, along with the
red-winged blackbirds Chip saw last weekend, are my harbingers of
better days to come.
First, the bear
emerging from his den: Bob Woodward exposing lies again. My
political interest began in the Watergate era, when Woodward and
Bernstein at The Washington Post uncovered the cover-up of illegal
activity by Nixon operatives during the 1972 presidential campaign.
I read their book “All the President’s Men,” saw the movie with
Redford and Hoffman twice, and was primed at an early age to be
skeptical, question politicians, admire reporters who did this sort
of thing for a living. Many of our current reporters chose
journalism as their career because of Watergate and until Obama ran,
lived up to their calling. Now, Woodward has shamed those who
haven’t questioned Obama for the six years of his ongoing
While writing a book
about domestic policy, Woodward did extensive interviews with
administration officials during negotiations over raising the debt
limit last year. Republicans agreed to allow more debt in return for
serious spending reductions; if the Obama administration and
Democrats didn’t work with them on these, automatic cuts called a
sequester would happen on March 1.
As the deadline
approached, the president took to the campaign trail, blaming
Republicans for the coming automatic cuts, for not managing the
country while he played games. Woodward stepped forward to tell the
country the truth, that the sequester was in fact Obama’s idea and
that he had “moved the goalposts” by now demanding tax increases in
return for the spending cuts.
administration, unaccustomed to being exposed, blamed the
truth-teller; the president’s economic adviser, Gene Sperling, told
him in an email that “you will regret staking out that claim.” My
hope is this threat, probably to refuse the writer White House
access, will inspire the rest of the media to support Woodward at
this time and, in the future, the truth-telling concept itself.
What it comes down to,
media, is this: Whom do you believe, one of the nation’s best
journalists or a president who insists the reporter’s notes were
wrong? The answer to this could mean the end of the inappropriate
love affair with the Politician-in-Chief.
Second happy harbinger,
the thawing of the center-right activist freeze. As Obama was
re-elected and their local candidates lost because they were caught
up in the Obama vs. Bad Republican Image sweep, some patriotic
Americans considered dropping out of political activity. Instead, I
saw many of them at last Saturday’s Republican Straw Poll in
Danversport, enthusiastic about the special election for U.S.
Senate, supporting one of the three Republican candidates in the
primary or eager to learn about them and choose one.
Incredibly, all three
candidates managed to collect enough signatures to qualify for the
April 27 primary ballot — in the few weeks they had since Scott
Brown decided not to run, with snowstorms making encounters with
voters difficult. I thought it also a good sign that so many
recently weary voters were willing to begin another political
process with their signatures.
Each candidate had
three minutes to make an impression. State Rep. Dan Winslow won the
poll with 79 votes, largely because of a barnburner of a
three-minute speech; political newcomer and former Navy Seal Gabriel
Gomez received 59 votes; and former state Rep. and U.S. Attorney
Michael Sullivan was close behind him with 55. I’m supporting
Winslow but would be delighted with any of them replacing John Kerry
as my U.S. senator.
They all presented
their own qualifications without attacking their opponents; I hope
their supporters can follow their lead throughout the primary,
unlike those who used the presidential primary last year to
seriously damage Mitt Romney.
Another bright spot in
my weekend was the first public appearance of the Romneys on “Fox
News Sunday since the election; it was great to see these two
wonderful people looking relaxed and happy, holding their new twin
grandchildren, though clearly when questioned, frustrated with their
loss. Mitt admitted honestly that it “killed” him to see the country
being so badly managed. Though he took responsibility for losing,
Ann had no qualms… about noting that media prejudice played a large
I blame those primary
opponents who weakened him for the general election. That’s why the
final hopeful thought I’m sharing with you is another thing that
happened at last Saturday’s straw poll event.
The two Republican
candidates running for Peabody state representative in Tuesday’s
special election were invited to address the crowd. I saw something
I’d never seen before: When one excellent candidate, Leah Cole,
wasn’t able to attend, the other excellent candidate, Greg Bunn,
along with noting his background and reasons for running, made his
pitch for both of them, citing the issues on which they agree and
urging support in the general election for whichever of them wins
the primary. May this be a sign of things to come in the Republican
Party and springlike hope for our state’s and country’s futures.