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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 08, 2012

Grassroots rot

When I defend Scott Brown as a consistent voice of reason, you know his critics are out there on the fringe.

They are in fact members of the "conservative wing" of the Massachusetts Republican Party, the ones who think the party would do better if it put up candidates to the right of Brown and Richard Tisei.

You know, two guys who lost last month because Massachusetts voters have a hard time dealing with anyone who wears the Republican tag these days, even candidates nowhere near as extreme as Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock.

Scotto's apparent apostasy was the suggestion that Kirsten Hughes, his deputy campaign finance director might be a good successor to Robert Maginn, who decided to step down because he has "not heard the voice of the Lord calling me to seek reelection as chairman of the Massachusetts Republican Party at this time."

Hughes candidacy is being seen as a sign of end times by some Bay State Republicans:
"We don’t want an establishment candidate shoved down our throat,” said Steve Aylward, a conservative-leaning member of the state committee and an unsuccessful candidate for state Senate. “We’re looking for someone who will bring the change that we need and make it a healthy party, which is about all candidates . . . not about one candidate at the top.”
There's certainly a grain of truth in Aylward's complaint. The Massachusetts GOP has been a top-down operation for as long as most can remember. It has had moderate success at the top of the ticket with candidates like Brown, Bill Weld, Paul Cellucci and Joe Malone.

There was even a guy who moved from Utah to spend a couple of years in the Corner Office before heading off to bigger challenges.

All that while, party chairs have ignored the grassroots, to the point where Republican representation in the Legislature has dwindled, even as scandal has left three consecutive House speakers on the wrong side of the law.

But the grassroots, at least the one envisioned by activists like Aylward, is at the heart of the root rot being experienced by the GOP nationally -- and one long rejected by voters who elected Brown and company.
“I have a real hard time reconciling how he campaigned and the positions he took with that desire to get back involved with party politics,” Aylward said. “He kind of ran away from Republican values.”
Brown campaigned as an independent because he shared a belief common among Massachusetts voters of all persuasions.

That's the belief that the phrase "Republican values" is an oxymoron.

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Blogger Mark B. said...

So Dems are in lock-step across the state, and none prefer a progressive ideologue over a centrist? People make their preferences known publicly, and you call that rot? I call it democracy.

December 08, 2012 1:26 PM  

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