Change is in the air, except for here
by Barbara Anderson

The Salem News
Friday, November 12, 2010

I'm personally hoping for something definitive: near-total victory, or near-total defeat. I want to know: Are we saved as a nation, as a commonwealth, or are we doomed? Just don't want to muddle along in political limbo ... Bounce, or go splat.

From my last column, Tuesday, Nov. 6, Salem News

The nation bounced, but Massachusetts voters' decision on congressional races was irrelevant to the fate of the country. I didn't hear the national media even mention our state, it's so boringly predictable.

My friends back in Pennsylvania are celebrating. My ex-husband in New Jersey is excited about Gov. Christie's plans for reform. Ed Naile, from the Coalition of New Hampshire Taxpayers, called right after the election to share his enthusiasm about taking back that state.

In Massachusetts, we re-elected Barney Frank, one of the architects of the economic crisis, and chose as our state auditor Suzanne Bump, who cheated on her property taxes. Splat!

We are a joke; have to admit it's kind of funny.

I removed the bumper stickers from my car before cold weather made it more difficult, but I kept Mary Z. Connoughton's just to publicly state that with this one race at least, I am provably smarter than most other voters. Am looking for a new "Scott Brown 2012" sticker.

Some Massachusetts friends are thinking about moving; I've thought about Nevada myself, but there may be refugees fleeing California soon and I'd rather my cabin not be the first thing they see as they cross the Sierras.

Besides, the decision here wasn't definitive enough to encourage my own flight.

Though all my favored congressional and statewide candidates lost, 19 of the fresh legislative candidates who took the "no new taxes" pledge won and will be added to the thin red line of defense in the House next year. Some others who lost are already talking about running again.

It's interesting that when the Democratic machine turned out its voters, they voted straight "D" down the line, until some of them swerved to vote for Connoughton, the "R" who came closest in the statewides. Were that many people that well-informed about the state auditor race? Perhaps they simply recognized Mary's name from her Turnpike Authority "stop the toll increase" battles, while Bump was a stranger everywhere but in her former legislative district.

More difficult to analyze is the governor's race. The optimistic assumption that Charlie Baker could win in a three-way race, looks more like a fantasy in the cold light of post-election day. The Cahill candidacy made sense in the beginning, when as an independent he took up the cause of revolution; but by the end of October it could only take down Baker.

This may have been revenge for the Republican Governors Association's nasty anti-Cahill campaign. I'm told by professionals that attack ads were necessary to induce a viable two-way race, but I wish that the Baker campaign had instead presented Charlie earlier, so people could get to know him, which would have helped make the case for his superior qualifications.

Perhaps those qualifications were part of the problem. Charlie is a great guy. The attacks on him not just from Democrats, not just about issues or politics seemed strange to me until I identified the envy factor.

There was a final clue in Joan Vennochi's Globe column last weekend, in which she noted with apparent pleasure that "Patrick's victory handed Baker his first serious setback in life."

There are men and women of all political persuasions who like to bring down those who seem to have everything looks, multiple talents, comfortable circumstances, a beautiful family, admiring friends. If Charlie resembled Chris Christie, perhaps he too could be governor.

And then there was the ideological irrationality: The talk-show caller who asserted he'd never vote for Baker because, despite a 94 percent rating with the Gun Owners Action League, Charlie wasn't enthusiastic enough about assault weapons. Presumably Deval Patrick is. Presumably his re-election also suits those vitriolic social conservatives who couldn't get over Baker's choice of a gay running mate.

Never mind. Let the Democrats have the commonwealth. We taxpayers have some new allies in the Legislature to at least put up a fight on future tax increases if the majority party interprets the defeat of Question 3 as a grass-roots request for more of them.

As someone once said, "It's only a movie" a comedy here in Massachusetts, a great drama at the national level. I plan to enjoy the action from a reclining chair for a while.

Look, the Federal Reserve is announcing that it will pump hundreds of billions into the economy! I turn off the TV and pick up "Destined for Failure" by Holy Cross professor of economics Nicolas Sanchez, about the American "recovery plan."

Really scary, I'm thinking, "Whoa!" which reminds me to turn TV back on and watch the Breeder's Cup Classic. Zenyatta comes from far behind. Never saw a horse run so fast, what a beautiful sight! Still she loses to Blame in a photo finish. Makes you want to cry. Happy for Blame though, he's gorgeous, too.

Political races are far from beautiful and the winners, not always champions. Still, we acknowledge the thrill of the game, and continue to place our bets.

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

Citizens for Limited Taxation    PO Box 1147    Marblehead, MA 01945    508-915-3665