Moderates No Match for Mass. Machine


Richard TiseiFor those watching the election returns at Richard Tisei’s election-night party at the Peabody Marriott or with Scott Brown at Boston’s Park Plaza, the message was clear: moderate candidates are not welcome in Massachusetts, at least not if you have an “R” next to your name.

Tuesday’s election was a victory for those who believe in diversity in all things except ideas. The same people who whine incessantly about the lack of moderate Republicans in office pulled out all the stops to make sure that two moderate Republicans would not represent Massachusetts in Congress. In fact, they made sure that no Republicans will be representing Massachusetts in Congress.

Sen. Scott BrownThe ideological purification of the Massachusetts Congressional Delegation is once again complete. No Republicans need apply, no matter how moderate or bipartisan. It must be a great relief to know that things are now back to normal.

Meanwhile, some Massachusetts moderates are starting to reconsider their “No” votes on physician assisted suicide and medical marijuana.

Let’s review some of the other lessons learned on Tuesday.

  • Having family ties to a criminal enterprise: no problem. Having an “R” next to your name: unforgivable.
  • Being pro-choice and openly gay is only to be celebrated if you’re a Democrat. If you’re Republican, it makes you a Tea Partier.
  • Being rated the second most bipartisan member of the US Senate by several nonpartisan agencies makes you a right-winger.
  • Spending the first half of your life defending female family members from abusive males makes you “anti-women.”

If you think moderate Republicans have it tough, it’s even worse for moderate Democrats in Massachusetts. Just ask Mary-Ellen Manning, the longtime moderate Democrat Governor’s Councilor with a reputation for being tough on both Republican and Democrat judicial appointments. She found herself redistricted into a district that included Lowell, that hotbed of moderate-conservative thinking. When she decided to run for State Senate in 2012, she never made it out of the Democratic primary. Manning has since changed her registration to “unenrolled.”

The opposition to Brown and Tisei argued that were not truly moderate. But like anything else in life, your perspective depends on where you’re standing. If you’re an uncompromising progressive, pretty much everybody fits your definition of a right-winger. But actual right-wingers do not view either Brown or Tisei as anything close to conservative.

John F. Kennedy  Cuban missile crisis of October 1962 aScott Brown reminds me of old-line Democrats like my father, who proudly voted for guys like Jack Kennedy. But like the Greatest Generation, those old-line Democrats are rapidly disappearing along with a party that once welcomed a broad range of viewpoints. I can say with confidence that my father would not recognize the Democratic Party of Elizabeth Warren and John Tierney.

In the irony of ironies, pundits are now saying that the lesson of the election is that Republicans must learn to be more bipartisan. How’d that work out for Brown and Tisei?

It will be interesting to see what happens now. As a member of the “hammered” middle class, I’ll be eager to watch my fortunes soar under the candidates elected on Tuesday. I’ll be watching to see what happens to those unemployment figures and the national debt as the “millionaires and billionaires” pay their “fair share.”

Tuesday was a victory for extreme partisanship and a defeat for ideological diversity. But for those who supported Richard Tisei there is some small consolation. The next time somebody calls you a right-winger you can remind them that you voted for the gay, pro-choice candidate for Congress.

Sorry there isn’t better news, but there isn’t.


[This column originally appeared in the October 9, 2012 Wakefield Daily Item.]

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4 Responses to “Moderates No Match for Mass. Machine”

  1. 1 Dennis Clancy

    Well stated

  2. 2 Kevin

    Terific article could not have said it better!

  3. 3 Ed

    Very well stated I am so irritated by the partisanship on both sides. I am concerned that there is no future for a moderate with the stupid machines out there on both sides. Scott Brown was a moderate and it didnt matter to the people of Massachusetts (well, not to enough of them I should say).

  4. 4 Mark Sardella

    Thanks everyone for the replies. Feel free to share the link with others who may appreciate it.

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