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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

A real compassionate conservative

The term compassionate conservative should probably be retired from overuse and abuse. The folks claiming the mantle have generally been very lacking on the compassion side.

That's why it's sad to see someone who really has compassion leave the public stage. US AID Director Andrew Natsios is hanging them up and going to teach diplomacy at Georgetown University. So when disaster strikes in Africa or when tsunamis hit the Pacific, the US will no longer be represented by the tall, balding Massachusetts native.

A one-time member of the Massachusetts House and a former Republican State Party Chairman, Natsios was pushed aside when the real "conservatives," led by Ray Shamie took control of the state GOP.

No one would accuse Andrew of having a great track record as party chair. Look what he had to work with: Greg Hyatt, the erstwhile 1986 gubernatorial candidate who had some, shall we say, wardrobe malfunctions; and Royall Switzler, a lovable blowhard who knew how to puncture pomposity until he tripped himself up on his own resume in that same year.

It's instrumental to look at Natsios' contemporaries in the Mass. GOP during that area. They have all done well. Andy Card is the most visible, but he's drifted far from his roots as a crusading populist; Paul Cellucci, who drifted as well, right out of the country and into a Bush appointment as Canadian ambassador that allowed him to continue his greatest loves: playing politics and the ponies.

Natsios took his principles with him when he went on to better things and he never lost them. More's the pity for us now that he is headed to the dreaded private sector.


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