Clean Sweep Beacon Hill

Working for Democracy by Voting the Bums Out

So We’re Supposed to Wait for Republicans Wearing White Hats?


Dave Wedge of the Boston Herald recently published a piece entitled “State GOP’s gaps assure free pass for Democrats.” Somehow, those of us who are opposed to maintaining the status quo on Beacon Hill are supposed to be wearing sackcloth and ashes because 96 House and Senate Democrats are running unopposed.  Like we expect the Republicans to save us?

Let’s get honest here.  The Republicans let Scott Brown twist in the wind up until almost the bitter end, when it became very clear that he was going to do well, daresay even win.  What does the national Republican party get out of winning a majority on Beacon Hill?  Nothing really.  Anything in the executive branch or anybody going to Washington, well, that might be a little more interesting.  State House?  Please.

And who needs ‘em?  What’s encouraging is statistic #1 – over 50% of the races are actually races and not shoe-ins.  In 2008, only 30% of the races had a contender and those were mainly in districts where retirement, death, or other mishap had left the office free.  The notion that incumbents are inviolable is crumbling, and that’s a heartening sign.

And let’s look at major statistic #2 – most of us don’t belong to either party.  As of 2008, the registeres Democrats outnumbered the Republicans rather significantly: 1,559,464 to 490,259.  Independents made up more than both of them, coming in at a whopping 2,141,878.  Do we really need a political party to tell us how to think?  No, we really don’t and we need to make that message loud and clear.

Do we really think our situation would be any different if our legislature were majority Republican?  Of course not, there would still be the same lack of opposition to keep the more ethically challenged in line.  What’s more important is keeping the ones we send to Beacon Hill from getting too comfortable in those seats and that is where we, the voters, have been falling down on the job.

We can start doing that job anytime, though.  How about we start now?

Take a look at our list of candidates.  It’s not infallible, it’s just some men and women that we are impressed us.  Some came to us, we went to others, no favors or money were exchanged, promised, or implied.  If you think we’re missing some, let us know.  You can also let candidates know that we are interested.

If we want better, more responsible government, we need to replace those who are egregiously violating those principle, regardless of party.

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August 15, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , ,

4 Comments »

  1. Great article. You point out that the majority of voters are are undeclared. You could also have pointed out that roughly 90% of new registrations are undeclared.

    I am the Republican candidate for State Representative in the Eighth Suffolk (Back Bay, Beacon Hill, West End and Cambridgeport/Area 4 in Cambridge). Two phrases that figure prominently in my campaign are “Common Ground, Common Sense” and “Balanced Government is Better Government”.

    I also agree with your statement that one party rule by Republicans would not be the solution. Despite the number of Republican challengers we aren’t going to see a Republican majority in the legislature but if we can add 20+ GOP representatives and 10 or 12 Senators, we can join with fiscally conservative, open government Democrats to deny the Speaker of the House and Senate President veto-proof majorities.

    One of the reasons I am running is that the incumbent has never had a serious challenge. For years she has gotten away with claiming to support lower taxes, sustainable spending, ethical government, etc., but voting for the absolute opposite. She has even said she is upset that she even has to campaign.

    I don’t have a white hat but am out campaigning every day. We’ve knocked on 15,000 doors and made thousands of voter ID calls to give the voters in my district a choice they haven’t had in years.

    Brad Marston
    Candidate for State Representative
    http://BradMarston.com

    Comment by Brad Marston | August 16, 2010 | Reply

  2. Thanks for writing in Mr. Marston. And thanks for enlightening us about the number of new unregistered voters: I didn’t know that.

    And I agree 100% about the problem of incumbency. To be honest, that’s the main reason Clean Sweep was founded in the first place. Hopefully, once we’ve had some time to grow, we will be able to give enough support to newcomers to help balance the campaign field. We’ll never be able to completely level it since the ones we are campaigning against have shown time and again that they can make the rules, change the rules, and (a little too often) break the rules with relative impunity.

    Thanks for taking the time.

    Richard Whitney
    Policy Director
    http://www.cleansweepbeaconhill.org

    Comment by cleansweepbeaconhill | August 16, 2010 | Reply

  3. The Dave Wedge article has been criticized elsewhere, but in a nutshell it’s poorly written and pointless.

    Those waiting for a “tide” to sweep out the current Dem majorities are misguided. The analogy would be chipping away, sometimes knocking out a bigger chunk. This will need to be a multi-year (six? eight?) year process here in MA.

    Most Republican candidates that are running (I am a candidate for Senate, Second Essex & Middlesex) have vowed if elected to work to rebuild the Committees in their district, which would be the basis for keeping any gains.

    The one wild card (with no history) is the Tea Party. Both Brad and I are active in this movement (Brad much earlier than me). The RTCs in my district average about 8 members most meetings. The Merrimack Valley Tea Party got 85 attendees each of its first three meetings, and over 200(!) for its meeting last week.

    With this kind of alternative, it seems unlikely the Republican brand (as a thing to join, not just vote for) will be attractive going forward, though perhaps it’s just a guess of marketing.

    The main effort needs to be to present a challenge wherever possible. I stepped forward for exactly the same reason as Brad, because the incumbent (who subsequently announced her retirement) had no serious opposition this decade. Next time we’ll have more incumbents, more seasoned troops, more base to work with.

    Comment by Jamison Tomasek | August 16, 2010 | Reply

    • Thanks for writing in Mr. Tomasek.

      I agree that the “tide” is and has been nonexistent and suggest your projected timeline of six to eight years might be a bit too brief by a factor of three or so. Balance is so vitally needed in this state and I agree that such means rebuilding.

      I must admit, I come to this process with no great love for either of the major parties, having been a card-carrying Libertarian since the Clinton years. Standing on principle is all fine and dandy but there comes a time when one gets a little tired of saying “Did you see that we got a whole 2.25% of the vote in that last election?!? We’re up 0.05%! On the way, baby!” Blah.

      I would argue that rebuilding serious opposition is exactly what is needed, exactly as you have stated. Along the way, a little patience rarely hurts too.

      Thanks very much for taking the time.

      Richard Whitney
      Policy Director
      http://www.cleansweepbeaconhill.org

      Comment by cleansweepbeaconhill | August 16, 2010 | Reply


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