Random thoughts while looking forward to 'Revolution 2010'
by Barbara Anderson

The Salem News
Thursday, September 23, 2010

Some random thoughts about the primary, as we move into one of the most exciting and significant election autumns in our history.

"Impossible" in any another year is "doable" during Revolution 2010. If Jim McKenna can get on the Massachusetts ballot via a write-in campaign, Christine O'Connell can win the Delaware Senate seat.

I would have said and actually did say in various places that no one can get 10,000 votes in a sticker campaign. I thought it was a waste of time, energy and money that would be drawn from candidates who had already qualified for the ballot the traditional way. But McKenna got more than enough support and is now running against Martha Coakley for attorney general.

A court ruling that requires city and town clerks to allow "voter's intent" helped; McKenna's supporters used talk radio and the Internet to get Republican primary voters to write in the candidate. It was an incredible grass-roots achievement that gives us all a chance to vote against Coakley again, which I am happy to do.

It is, of course, much easier to get the 150 write-ins to run for state representative, and the North Shore has two exciting new candidates, Janet Holmes in Gloucester and Valentino Troyli in Amesbury, who were bothered by a lack of competition in their districts so decided at the last minute to run.

The latest mantra against the tea party: Its members don't understand that the original Boston Tea Party wasn't about taxes, it was about taxes without representation.

Actually, we know that, which is why so many newcomers are running for office in Massachusetts. In a one-party state, we haven't had representation in years; Holmes' and Troyli's opponents voted last year to increase the sales tax from 5 percent to 6.25 percent, something which polling shows was very unpopular.

On the national stage, Christine O'Donnell, the tea party candidate who defeated Republican Congressman Mike Castle in the GOP primary for U.S. Senate, isn't a newcomer, having run unsuccessfully against Joe Biden when he held that Delaware seat. Some establishment Republicans are unhappy with this primary choice, as Castle was considered a certain winner who could help Republicans take the Senate in November.

I didn't entirely understand it myself, since Castle voted against ObamaCare and recent bailouts, and O'Donnell is way more socially conservative than most voters.

Charles Krauthammer was outspokenly appalled by her win, partly because he wants a final Republican victory but also, perhaps, because the brilliantly rational columnist was paralyzed in a diving accident and Castle is the lead Republican in favor of stem-cell research. Christine O'Donnell, on the other hand, shares the religious right's opposition to it.

Nevertheless, she won the primary. WTKK talk show host Michael Graham argues that "sure she's a nut, but she's a harmless nut," whose oddest ideas on social issues won't get any traction in the U.S. Senate, while her strong convictions on the national debt can help save the country.

Indeed, Krauthammer has since joined Republican strategist Karl Rove in demanding that O'Donnell supporter Sarah Palin go to Delaware and make sure that her chosen candidate wins the general election. Seems like a reasonable request to me.

It wouldn't bother me that HBO's Bill Maher has O'Donnell on tape admitting she "dabbled in witchcraft," except that she seemed to equate it with Satanism and blood on sacrificial altars. Never mind, though, Salem Wiccans, she was just a silly teenager at the time.

I think we can all admit that many tea party candidates are more interesting than the carefully scripted Washington professionals. Could we all forget about personality foibles and just focus on vital current issues until November?

Back to Massachusetts: I attended an event on Saturday at Beverly City Committee headquarters. The focus was on women, and I enjoyed chatting with Kerry Healey, the former lieutenant governor; Mary Connoughton, a real auditor running for state auditor; Angela and Lauren, the charming wives of congressional candidate Bill Hudak and gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker; and some longtime activist friends.

Beverly Democrats were also busy at their headquarters across the street. Gov. Deval Patrick came over to say hello to the Republicans, as the Republican candidates went over to say hi to the Democrats. Of course we can all get along!

This doesn't mean that we shouldn't have seriously intense debates. Keep in mind though that while Democrats bellow they are "passionate," they often describe passionate Republicans, independents, libertarians and tea partiers as "angry, hostile and combative."

Hard to make that case against treasurer candidate Karyn Polito, who never stopped smiling during her Sunday morning debate with Steve Grossman on WCVB's "On the Record."

She also never let up, charging the wealthy, longtime partisan of having financed the campaigns of the Democrats who have let us all down, from Barack Obama to Deval Patrick to the overwhelmingly Democratic Legislature. Glad she shared the information that Grossman personally contributed $25,000 to oppose the rollback of the income tax rate to 5 percent in 2000.

I put her bumper sticker on my back CR-V window where Scott Brown's resided last winter. Thanks to his January victory, many activists became candidates this year, as previously nonpolitical people became activists, eager to support surprisingly viable anti-incumbent campaigns.

The comments made and opinions expressed in her columns are those of Barbara Anderson
and do not necessarily reflect those of Citizens for Limited Taxation.

Barbara Anderson is executive director of Citizens for Limited Taxation. Her column appears 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.

More of Barbara's Columns