and the
Citizens Economic Research Foundation

Barbara's Column
November #2

Change is in the air, not all of it for the better
by Barbara Anderson

The Salem News
Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Marblehead, MA; Nov. 7, 2006 BE - That would be "Before the Election" results are tallied. Or "Before the End" of the world as we know it. Whatever.

Thanks for keeping me company while I get through the suspense of Election Day. I can't even go out to vote; just got my broken foot in a cast with orders not to put any weight on it.

So I called the Marblehead town clerk first thing Monday, barely making the absentee ballot deadline. Due to this being an emergency, Tom McNulty drove to my house with my ballot. He's always fun to talk with, but there was no time this week for our usual lively exchange, him being in charge of the election and all.

My choices? Healey-Hillman, Rick Barton, and some Democrats too - Bill Galvin, Joe DeNucci and Mary Ellen Manning. "No" on all ballot questions. Sorry Stop & Shop, I love your store and wouldn't mind if you sold wine, but have to admit: in another era, I would have been a prohibitionist.

Today I'm a libertarian, prohibitionist independent voter who also doesn't mind gay marriage, but passionately supports a fair vote this week on the "marriage amendment."

Listened to WRKO's Howie Carr show Monday evening, the traditional hour of candidates calling in for one minute each. Thrilled to hear some of the 43 legislative candidates supported by Citizens for Limited Taxation's 2 PAC. Two years ago, all its challengers lost. So many excellent newcomers, again, who took the "no new taxes" pledge and will protect Proposition 2. By the time you read this, we will know if any majority of voters in any part of the commonwealth cares about these things.

Speaking of 'RKO, no, John DePetro shouldn't have been fired for calling Grace Ross, the Green-Rainbow Party's gubernatorial candidate, an unkind name that I don't even want to repeat and would never have used myself. However, it was no more inaccurate than calling me a somewhat overweight heterosexual, if someone wants to be irrelevant.

When Al Franken called Rush Limbaugh a "big fat slob," that was inaccurate. Rush had lost a lot of weight and looked pretty good at the time. Now, accurately, one could say that Rush Limbaugh has a big fat ego, and be pretty much on target. I usually switch to WTKK when he comes on to listen to Jim Braude and Margery Eagan.

Jim and I are old friends, having been opponents on two major ballot questions - the Question 3 CLT's initiative for tax and fee cuts in 1990, and his graduated income tax proposal in 1994. My side lost the first, won the second. So we invited him to be the guest speaker at the CLT brunch last Sunday to let our activists debate him as I had. What a good time!

Jim had a video of our early encounters, when we both had thick heads of hair and lots of energy. He still has the latter; I was in a wheelchair. But if was fun to argue again with a worthy opponent.

I assured the guests that they weren't ever going to see the Mass. Taxpayers Foundation or teachers' union at our brunch; but they were happy to hear Jim supporting the initiative petition process, which he and other liberals have used, just as we have, albeit to different ends. And we all related to his disappointment with the current political climate, so different from the passion and civic awareness that were attached to our campaigns. We had hundreds of people at our debates and everyone seemed to be tuned in back then.

Fifteen years ago, his present New England Cable News interview show (7 p.m., Monday through Thursday) would have been a must-view for the many citizens who cared about politics and issues. He is one of the best, and fairest, interviewers in the business.

Jon Keller, a guest at an earlier CLT event, is another. His WBZ-TV debate featuring just the two viable lieutenant governor candidates, was the best forum of this political season. The media consortium that gave us the governor debates did the commonwealth a disservice by not holding at least one without the two distractions, Ross and Christy Mihos.

I'm also disappointed this year in other aspects of media coverage. The local newspapers, like this one, did a great job; but the Boston Globe kept writing about Deval Patrick's proposed "circuit breaker property tax relief," even though no such proposal exists. As I wrote here earlier, the circuit breaker is an income tax credit for certain targeted individuals. This was important because polls indicated that voters prefer a property tax cut to the income tax rollback; but the Globe refused to print my letter telling people that no such choice presently exists. I'd cancel my subscription if this paper would pick up its comic strips; I am so attached to Curtis, JumpStart, Mallard Fillmore and, yes, Doonesbury.

Well, soon the polls will close, and another political campaign season will be over. Deval Patrick ran on "change," and that we will have either way, because things are changing far too quickly in all areas of life, all the time.

Barbara Anderson is executive director of Citizens for Limited Taxation. Her syndicated columns appear weekly in the Salem News and other Eagle Tribune newspapers; bi-weekly in the Tinytown Gazette; and occasionally in the Lowell Sun, Providence [RI] Journal and other newspapers.