I was raised in a mostly
Democratic family in a Democrat factory town, but when I moved to
Marblehead in the early 1970s, I was invited as a newcomer to join
the Republican Town Committee (RTC). Later, when I started working
with Citizens for Limited Taxation , it was members of the RTC who
stood at the Marblehead Post Office, the Community Store, the
Village Plaza, collecting signatures with me for the initiative
petition Proposition 2½.
The campaign got barely
enough signatures, so each person’s effort counted toward the
eventual victory in November 1980 of the statewide ballot question
that still limits our property taxes. Some of my best friends from
those early days – longtime RTC Chairman Pat Warnock is always
remembered – have passed on, and others are still active.
For various reasons, as I
led a non-partisan taxpayer group that lobbied for tax limitation on
Beacon Hill, I became an independent, but I’ve always been invited
to RTC meetings; the latest was a meet-and-greet picnic last
Saturday afternoon at the home of my friend Joyce Lofmark’s son
Rolfe, who has just taken over the RTC as chairman.
Local Republicans haven’t
been too active in recent years, and Rolfe intends to change that.
As his mother’s generation did for me, his existing group is
inviting newcomers to join and become part of the excitement of this
very political year leading to the 2016 election.
The weather was ominous –
we read later in this newspaper about the cloudburst that hit
Gloucester the same time we were gathering in a backyard on Leggs
Hill Road – but the outdoor event wasn’t interrupted here. After
catching up or getting acquainted and eating delicious potluck
snacks, we got to the Main Event – a spontaneous straw poll of the
Republican presidential candidates.
Joyce’s granddaughter had
made a brightly colored poster listing all the candidates; we were
each handed a paper ballot with all the names and asked to check
one, as if we had to vote that day for president. There were no
speeches or campaigning, just a casual effort to get an early sense
Iowa Republicans no longer
hold their summer straw poll, so this may be the first one you’ll
see listing the choices of grassroots Republican activists (and
independents like Chip and me.
There was one vote each for Carly Fiorina and Bobby Jindal. Two for
Scott Walker (one of those was Joyce; no secret, she’s had his
bumper sticker on her car for weeks).
Jeb Bush got three votes.
Oddly, I thought, his name on the poster and ballots was just Jeb,
no last name. When I asked about this, I was told he likes it that
way. I recall him saying during the Fox News Republican debate that
when he was governor of Florida, Floridians just called him Jeb, and
“I earned that.”
Not sure what this means,
though of course we in Massachusetts had our Bill and our Mitt, so
we might understand. However, I have a feeling the use of just “Jeb”
is a little more complicated, having to do with family separation
Anyhow, there was an equal
number of higher votes for Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, and Chip’s
choice, Ted Cruz.
Then, in second place,
Donald Trump! And first place, John Kasich.
I voted for Kasich, too.
But have to admit that in the past several weeks, my favorites have
ranged from Rand Paul to Ted Cruz to Carly Fiorina (just because I’d
pay admission to see her debate Hillary; what a brilliant speaker
she is. Of course, we’re no longer so sure that Hillary will be the
I will also admit to
moments – even hours — when I’d decided to vote for Donald Trump,
because like so many others, I am so very angry about the direction
of our country, and sick of the political correctness that prevents
You may recall that I
didn’t consider Trump a serious candidate at first, but I’ve heard
and watched recent interviews with him and been impressed with the
suggested solutions that followed his initial, attention-getting,
Just this week he put out
position paper on illegal immigration, drafted with the
assistance of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama), who has been fighting
for rational immigration policy for a long time. None of the
reasonable reforms have been implemented. None of the politicians
who promise these reforms have delivered, or been allowed to deliver
by powerful pro-illegal immigration forces including our current
president. So I, too, am glad that Trump’s proposal is dramatic
enough to get and hold everyone’s attention.
But here’s why I voted for
Gov. John Kasich. First, the rational electoral decision that he can
help us win Ohio. Then my own recollection of his years in Congress:
his ongoing support for the National Taxpayers Union’s Balanced
Budget Amendment; his role on actually balancing budgets as part of
the Gingrich revolution; his support for welfare reform that
actually worked for a few years.
I know that many
conservatives are turned off by his support for a path to legality
(though not necessarily voting privileges) for some illegal
immigrants, and for the creation of Common Core education standards.
Many Ohio Republicans didn’t like their governor taking the
ObamaCare Medicaid money. I’m hoping his positions evolve on the
first two, at least, as he talks with more of us during his
But in the meantime, I
this story that I heard during his previous run for president;
he doesn’t talk about it, but it’s been making the rounds among New
Hampshire activists for years. On the campaign trail, he gave a
speech at a New Hampshire farm and learned that in all the
excitement, the hostess had run over and killed the elderly family
dog. He wouldn’t leave for his next event until he and an aide
helped bury the pet, and he led a little prayer service for him.
Half of you readers are
laughing at me now, and half understand perfectly why I voted for
John Kasich, at least at this point in the 2016 presidential
Barbara Anderson of
Marblehead is a weekly Salem