10 November 2002

Mitt's Missing...Never Mind

Several weeks ago I published an indictment of Mitt Romney's campaign for Massachusetts governor and declared my certainty that of course Shannon O'Brien would win, It's a good thing I'm an historian and not a political scientist--Republican Romney trounced Democrat O'Brien in Tuesday's election.

I imagine this means that little will change in Massachusetts. After all, we've had Republican governors for the past twelve years. Bill Weld and Paul Cellucci both bailed out--Weld to push to become Ambassador to Mexico (that didn't happen...thanks to Jesse Helms) and Cellucci to be Ambassador to Canada. That left us with Jane Swift, widely acknowledged to be a nice lady though completely incompetent. Republicans have been running in MA for that long, claiming to be Beacon Hill outsiders, as did Romney, and they've been winning. Yet Massachusetts voters also vote overwhelmingly to elect a Democratic General Court and send Democrats to the US House and Senate.

I find this schizophrenia puzzling. It's fine not to like Tom Finneran (heck, I don't like that man, and I'm a die-hard Democrat) but I can't see that electing a Republican governor solves that problem. And Republican governors have been unable to solve other MA troubles...budget difficulties, out-of-control Big Dig...etc. So why elect another one?

I suppose Romney resonates with people. He sided with an English-only ballot measure. He pledged to lower taxes. He promised jobs and pointed to his record at the Olympics. And, as a friend who works in the state Senate told me, Shannon O'Brien was widely perceived as rude and pushy (I read this assessment as: Shannon O'Brien was not feminine enough, but that is another can of worms). So now we're stuck with him, for four long years. I bet in 2006 he runs against Kennedy (again) for US Senate.

I have had five days to get used to the Republican victories of last Tuesday. Suffice it to say I am not a happy camper. But I'll be spending some time looking down the road to the presidential election in 2004. Today's Boston Globe suggests US Senator John Kerry will run. An interesting suggestion, although it raises the specter of a previous election in which a Massachusetts man ran against a different member of the Bush dynasty. I'm also interested in Howard Dean, MD, the current governor of Vermont. Plenty can happen in the next two years; I'll just have to keep my hopes up.


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