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Massachusetts Liberal

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

Friday, March 08, 2013

Damage control

The three Republican US Senate hopefuls combine for 46 percent visibility, but that didn't stop the GOP chair from riffing on the 49 percent visibility of Democratic front-runner Ed Markey.

And his challenger, Steve Lynch, is probably wishing for a little less attention this morning as the Globe shines a spotlight on his opposition to the Affordable Care Act, a touchstone if there ever was one on party loyalty.

Newly installed GOP chair Kristen Hughes put on a brave face in telling the Herald that Markey's relative anonymity is a telling thing:
“That speaks volumes about his years in service. Thirty-six years and he’s not very well-known in the state.”
Mostly that he represented one congressional district in the greater Boston area with colleagues named O'Neill, Moakley, Kennedy and Frank. And that was just in the House. Not a lot of oxygen, even for someone like Markey who could go to great lengths to seek attention.

But Hughes had few options since the most well-known of the GOP trio is Michael Sullivan, at 21 percent, followed by Gabriel Gomez at 15 percent and Dan Winslow at 8 percent. The Kingston Trio probably still has greater visibility.

But that virtual anonymity may be exactly what Lynch (40 percent) may be looking for after a rehash of his back-and-forth posturing on Obamacare, flips that found him on the side of Republicans when the final vote was taken.
“It was a profile in both moral and political cowardice,” said Richard Kirsch, then the national campaign manager for the progressive coalition that urged Congress to pass the legislation.
Lynch has tried to explain has flexible position as "thoughtful and deliberative," adding:
“I didn’t make everybody happy, but I certainly did what I thought was right.”
But that didn't pass muster with many, even those who are now backing him:
“Ted Kennedy doesn’t test the wind,” Mike Monahan, business manager for Local 103 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, said back then. “He knows when something has to be done regardless of its popularity.”
The one thing that Lynch and Markey share with each other -- but not with the eventual Republican nominee -- is an extensive record that can be reviewed. Sullivan did serve as a state representative and US attorney, while Winslow currently sits in the Massachusetts House and has sat on the judicial bench and in Mitt Romney's inner circle. But there's nothing similar when it comes to a paper trail.

That will give them -- or the up from nowhere Gomez -- plenty of votes to sift through and obfuscate. And it would serve to get their names and faces on TV to raise visibility ratings usually reserved for parking clerks, not candidates for the World's Greatest Filibustering Body.

But it will also raise the visibility of Markey or Lynch, who are already lapping the field.

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