events of last weekend have renewed my optimism about the 2014
election, and beyond.
On Friday, I attended
the monthly Center-Right Coalition meeting at which we activists get
together for updates and new ideas from various activist groups and
candidates. There was a PowerPoint presentation from a new group
called the NewMassPlaybook, introduced by Dean Cavaretta, who ran
for the Legislature in 2012; he didn’t win, but he learned a lot
about the Republican presence in Massachusetts during that
Two young men, 19 and
17 years old, made the presentation. Well-spoken and confident, Mike
Gorecki and Brian Senier showed data on Republican candidates for
higher office winning, often by large margins, in the towns, but
losing in the cities and, therefore, losing. NewMassPlaybook has a
plan to reach out not only to other young people, but to voters of
all ages, particularly in the cities.
I took them to lunch,
because I had to know what made them like “us,” the Center-Right, at
their age. They said they’d been inspired in grade school when they
learned about Ronald Reagan: They’re the Gen Y’ers who are following
the Gen X and Boomer “Reagan kids” into political activism because
of President Reagan’s message and optimism!
I said I could relate
to this, having started my own political activism because of Barry
Goldwater. They said he’d inspired them, too, when they read
“Conscience of a Conservative” in fifth or sixth grade. I ... was
Serendipity. The next
day, I was a guest at the Lynn Republican City Committee annual
cookout, and one of the auction items was a Barry Goldwater pin — a
little gold elephant wearing his trademark dark-rimmed eyeglasses. I
eagerly bid for it and won the bid at $35!
More serendipity: The
next day I saved almost half that amount from the sales tax holiday,
buying several months’ worth of household goods, personal-care items
and cat food! Total savings was $16.34, which went to the Lynn
Republican City Committee to begin preparation for the 2014 election
instead of to the state with its waste, inefficiency, mismanagement
My Barry Goldwater
elephant will be my totem as I make my ongoing case that when some
dissident Republicans refer to RINOs — Republicans in Name Only —
they should define a RR — Real Republican — as libertarian
Republican Barry Goldwater.
I didn’t get interested
in politics until he was the presidential candidate in 1964, when I
was a few years older than Brian and Mike. They made me remember the
excitement of the campaign, the hope and optimism beginning again
after the horror of the Kennedy assassination, in the midst of the
Cold War, at the beginning of Vietnam.
I also remember the
excitement and empowerment of the early years of initiative petition
activism in Massachusetts. There have been few ballot questions in
recent years; when the Legislature froze the income tax rate
rollback in 2002 after the voters passed it in 2000, this
discouraged future attempts at voter control.
Last Wednesday (Aug.
7), on the constitutional deadline for filing initiative petitions,
33 petitions were filed, and impressively, all of them were listed
immediately on the attorney general’s website. Some of them are the
same subject with different language to make sure at least one is in
proper form; others are constitutional amendments that are just
beginning a long process to get to the 2016 ballot.
But 15 are petitions
for a statute: If sufficient signatures are collected this fall,
they could be on the 2014 ballot to inspire voter interest and
turnout. When we know which ones will be on the streets in
September, I’ll write about them all here.
Right now, I’m
especially interested in two of them, filed to repeal parts of the
Patrick-Legislative tax increase that passed in late July.
“Repeal of Gas Tax
Indexing” would repeal the part that adjusts the gas tax each
January to the Consumer Price Index, increasing it without any
further, controversial, roll-call vote from our representatives.
This cowardly plan inspires an opposition slogan of “No taxation
without representation.” It’s hard to organize a petition drive in
the short time after the tax package passed, but a group of
Republican legislators and activists are giving it a try.
“Act to Repeal 2013
Sales Tax on Computer and Software Technology Services,” filed by
business leaders who are appalled by this assault on the growth
sector of the Massachusetts economy, may not need to get to the
ballot. This was Gov. Patrick’s bright idea to tax computer services
of some sort provided by some companies somewhere, maybe in
something called “the cloud,” maybe not; legislators who voted for
it and are just now learning what they voted for must be a tad
concerned about being on the 2014 ballot with the “Repeal the Job
Killer” initiative petition. Do they run against it saying “No, keep
the job killer” or “I didn’t know what I was voting on?” Watch for
the Legislature to return soon to repeal the Job Killer themselves.
It’s an exciting time,
once again, to be a political activist in Massachusetts and
nationally, looking forward to a Barry Goldwater revival.