To the victor goes the spoiled
Now that the joy of the Obama victory -- and being on the winning side of every vote I cast, a first for me -- has passed, it's time for some reflections on what those victors have to look forward.
- An argument can be made that Barack Obama has won the booby prize: a recession, two wars and a nation that has been at each other's throats for a generation. He will need every ounce of the skills he displayed as an orator in winning over -- or at least neutralizing -- the forces that still want him to prove his citizenship;
- Massachusetts still has an income tax -- and still has deep problems that won't be solved by a tax increase. That means there are some very deep, very ugly cuts coming in services that people care about. Add to the fact that declining property values and upcoming local appraisals and revaluations mean local budgets are going to take another hit. People will be hurt.
- Some victors ought to finish what they start. John Kerry is high on lots of lists as the next secretary of state in the Obama administration. If we were to take a different Washington job, he would open the floodgates for ambitious Massachusetts politicians looking to advance. But the somber fact is the other Massachusetts Senate seat will likely open before 2010 and this state needs someone with seniority in the upper chamber. Kerry bolting now would simply prove conclusively every doubt everyone has ever expressed about him.
- Maybe I'm a fool, but I believe Deval Patrick when he says, repeatedly, that he wants to stay and run for a second term. He is facing at home what Obama will face in D.C. -- including the disappointment that comes from changing realities that will keep promises from being kept. He has a two-year head start and his best service would be lighting the path for his friend and fellow David Axelrod client.
- Speaking of fools, Dianne Wilkerson, you need to learn how to pay attention. The Massachusetts Senate wants you gone. Sonia Chang-Diaz took 92 percent of the vote. Clearing out your office would probably require a bulldozer. Hanging on for a $1,400 weekly pay check and another year of retirement is just more of the same old, same old and it is unacceptable. Besides, you'll probably lose the pension after your stay in Club Fed.
- There are fools -- and then there are fools. Republicans both nationally and in Massachusetts need to get a grip. The national party should be named in the European tradition -- the Christian Republican Party. It is not the media's fault you lost. You put up candidates out of touch with the mainstream to defend an indefensible record over the last 14 years (starting with the Gingrich Revolution on through the Senate Filibuster Years).
- At least Massachusetts Republicans will have more room in the phone booth that serves as party headquarters. When you put up 82 candidates to stand for 200 legislative seats, you have a problem that goes far deeper than the corruption of a handful of Democrats. Barney Keller certainly learned the gift of hyperbole from his dad. Hey Jon, correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't you a boomer?