Massachusetts Election 2010 Political News and Analysis for Independent Massachusetts Voters Mon, 24 Sep 2012 00:32:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Scott Brown vs. Elizabeth Warren First Debate Video Fri, 21 Sep 2012 13:00:13 +0000

The candidates came out swinging. Brown started by immediately questioning Warren’s claim of being a native american saying that “She checked the box claiming she’s a Native American, and clearly she’s not. The only way to set the record straight is to release your personnel records … and you refuse to release your records, and I think that speaks volumes.”

Warren countered saying: “I never used it, never used it for getting into college, never used it for getting into law school. There’s nothing else there, the question has been asked and answered. I think the senator just doesn’t like the answer.”

Read more quotes after the jump.

On Jobs
Warren accused Brown of not voting for three of President Obama’s jobs bills.

Brown countered saying that three bills Warren was referring to would have raised “your” taxes by $450 billion and taken money out of small businesses. He said, “The only parts of the president’s jobs bill that passed were mine,” and accused Warren of putting forward proposals that would cut 700,000 jobs nationwide. “And I’m not going to stand for that,” Brown said.

On Taxes
“I believe billionaires should pay taxes at least at the same rate their secretaries do. Sen. Brown voted against that,” Warren said, referring to the so-called “Buffet Rule.” She added that Brown opposed extending middle class tax cuts without also protecting tax breaks for the highest 2 percent of earners.

“Her criticism of me is that I’m not going to raise taxes, and that’s an accurate criticism,” Brown responded.

And later again said he was “guilty as charged” of not raising taxes. “If you want someone who’s going to spend your tax dollars, give it to Professor Warren, she’ll spend them,” he said.

On Tax Breaks for Oil Companies
Warren said Brown has opposed changes to the tax code that would eliminate certain tax deductions for oil companies.

Brown replied that “I’m no friend to big oil. I’m a friend to the motorist. It took $40 to fill up the truck the other day.” Brown said that to changing the tax code for oil companies in the middle of a recession and the tourist season would have had negative impacts on consumers already paying high gas prices.

“She’s obsessed with raising taxes,” he continued.

On Women’s Issues
Warren several times highlighted times that Brown has voted against several feminist bills, such as the “equal pay for equal work bill”, and Brown’s opposition to mandating contraceptive coverage for all employers, including those who would have religious objectsions. Warren said that women can only count on Brown’s support “some of the time.” and deserve as Senator that they can count on all of the time, apparently claiming that she will vote for any bill proposed by feminists.

Brown countered that “You should stop scaring women… I’ve been fighting for women since I was 6 years old”.

Brown also defended his support for the Blunt amendment, which would have allowed employers and hospitals to use moral or religious objections to deny coverage for contraception and other women’s health treatments. He said he and the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, whose seat he filled in 2010, shared that belief. “I’m going to fight for the rights of Catholics to practice their faith. I’m not going to pit women against their faith and their church,” Brown said.

On Asbestos and Travellers Insurance
Brown attacked Warren for her role in a Supreme Court case representing Travelers insurance company in its attempt to gain immunity against lawsuits from asbestos victims by establishing a trust. Brown said Warren was paid $225,000 to effectively deny benefits to asbestos poisoning victims.

This is an issue that hasn’t gotten the coverage it deserves. Here is how the Boston Globe reported it back in May:

It was also notable because Warren, who has gained fame for defending consumers against big business, was in this case working on behalf of a big business. For her contribution, Warren was paid $212,000 over three years by Travelers, the nation’s largest insurer.

Travelers was fighting to gain permanent immunity from asbestos-related lawsuits by establishing a $500 million trust. The trust would have been divided among current and future victims of asbestos poisoning who had claims against the nation’s largest asbestos manufacturer, Johns-Manville, which had been insured by Travelers before it went bankrupt.

Travelers won most of what it wanted from the Supreme Court, and in doing so Warren helped preserve an element of bankruptcy law that ensured that victims of large-scale corporate malfeasance would have a better chance of getting compensated, even when the responsible companies go bankrupt.

This was via an excellent debate analysis by Michael Tomasky on The Daily Beast.

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Elizabeth Warren: Is She Anti-Business? Thu, 13 Sep 2012 12:44:51 +0000

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Ron Paul Responds to TSA: Introduces ‘American Traveler Dignity Act’ Fri, 19 Nov 2010 09:28:29 +0000 Click here to view the embedded video.

Ron Paul continues to be a true American hero.

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Taking Down Scotty Brown Tue, 09 Nov 2010 13:00:15 +0000
Scott Brown

Could any Dems topple #41 in six weeks?

Now that the 2010 election is behind us, we can begin to focus on the truly important task of governing. Just kidding. We’re just going to focus on the 2012 election.

The speculation about which Democrat could beat Scott Brown officially began on January 20, but it has already ramped up in the 36 hours or so since all of #41’s endorsees got trounced at the polls. In the Globe today, Alan Wirzbicki tossed out names like Congressman Mike Capuano and Alan Khazei (both of whom fell to Coakley in last year’s primary), Congressman Stephen Lynch, Newton Mayor Setti Warren, and even financial executive and social security wiz Bob Pozen.

No matter who Democrats settle on in September 2012, the eventual candidate is likely to face an enormous uphill battle. It’s certainly possible that Brown could see his popularity wane over the next 24 months, but at the moment he remains the darling politician of Massachusetts, and enjoys name recognition that can probably only be rivaled by Deval Patrick, Barack Obama, or Tom Brady. He also has $6.7 million in the bank as of September 30, and raised more than $17 million over the past year. By the summer of 2012, he could be sitting on a $12-$15 million warchest.

By comparison, whichever Democrat survives a potentially bruising primary will likely be low on cash (barring a victory by a self-funded candidate like Pozen or Steve Pagliuca), damaged by months of debating and opposition research (remember that last year’s primary season was incredibly brief and virtually ignored), and pressed for time (just six weeks between the primary and general) to make their case that they will be better for Massachusetts than Scott Brown. So even if Brown is less popular in the fall of 2012 than he is now, the Democratic nominee will face an enormous uphill battle.

But maybe there is a way for the folks up on Beacon Hill to even the playing field.

As it stands now, Massachusetts voters will go to the polls three times in 2012. In February or March we will cast ballots in the Presidential primary. In September we will vote in primaries for U.S. Senate, Congress, State Senate, State Rep, and various county offices. Then in November we will vote on whether to re-elect Barack Obama, Scott Brown, and any number of other office-holders.

So why not move the Senate primary to the winter to coincide with the Presidential primary?

On the surface, I think it makes a ton of sense.

1) It would give Democrats in Massachusetts a reason to go to the polls on primary day.

2) For certain candidates (i.e. members of the Congressional delegation), this could be ideal. If the primary were held in February, it would allow losers to run again for their current seats.

3) If this decision were made early in 2011, candidates would still have a year to raise money and campaign.

4) Most importantly for Democrats, it would allow their nominee time to build name recognition, raise money, and challenge Scott Brown head to head throughout the spring, summer, and fall.

Could it happen? I don’t see why not. I haven’t consulted with the Secretary State’s office or any election lawyers to find out if it’s possible, but I am pretty sure each state sets it’s own rules for electing Senators. Plus, the legislature had no problem changing the rules for appointing a Senator in the fall of 2009, so I don’t think there would be much resistance in this case either.

Will it happen? I doubt it. Right now, Democrats are riding a well-deserved high after decimating state-wide Republicans. Already they are pointing to Brown’s election as an aberration that they will easily wipe away in 2012. When did I hear that before? Oh right, it was about this time last year.

[ed_note]This post originally appeared on MassBeacon[/ed_note]

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Post Election Analysis: What are people saying? Fri, 05 Nov 2010 10:02:43 +0000  Republicans were disappointed that they lost all their congressional challenges, and all their races for statewide constitutional offices. Democrats are savoring a “clean sweep” in Massachusetts in the middle of a devastating collapse at the national level.

There are many good post election analysis articles out on the web worth looking at. I don’t have every good article out there – but I’ve got examples of all the major themes going around and who is pushing them.


Democratic Spin: “Republican Failure”

The Boston Globe says Democratic success was due largely to a well organized “get out the vote” effort, principally engineered in Massachusetts’ urban centers and manned by union volunteers:

“Of all the things that went right for Patrick Tuesday, one big one was Menino’s legendary machine. By the end of the day, more Bostonians had voted than in 2006, supplying Patrick with vital support in the state’s most important Democratic stronghold. Help from labor unions, particularly the Service Employees International Union and the building trades, provided critical muscle on the ground. Neighborhood organizers with decades of political experience lent their expertise and personal networks.”

But Menino’s operation did not make the difference alone. A new generation of political activists worked side-by-side with Menino volunteers, particularly in heavily minority neighborhoods, using everything from text messages to fliers on windshields to lengthy discussions to get out the vote.

Shortly after Bill Keating’s victory over Jeff Perry, retiring Rep. Bill Delahunt commented that the Democratic sweep was the “end of the Scott Brown Effect”. This theme has been picked up in analysis in a bunch of places. Here is a typical example in the Patriot Ledger:

“Democrats quickly labeled their win in the 10th Congressional District a return to Massachusetts’ blue-state roots and a repudiation of the anti-Washington wave that U.S. Sen. Scott Brown rode to victory less than a year ago.

What you see here today is an end of the so-called Scott Brown effect,” retiring U.S. Rep. William Delahunt said before Democrat William Keating’s victory speech Tuesday night.

“It was an oft-repeated phrase as Democrats delighted in Keating’s win over Republican state Rep. Jeffrey Perry of Sandwich.”

There is now talk that Scott Brown is more vulnerable. The argument goes that Brown has voted too moderately to satisfy “Tea Party conservatives”, and that his support of the entire slate of Massachusetts Republican candidates may have turned left-leaning independents against him. Political strategists who thought Brown might have signaled a turning to the right, among the Massachusetts electorate, are now considering that Scott Brown may have been “a fluke”.  The Globe has an article today typical of the kind:

“Ten months after Scott Brown’s surprise victory in a Senate special election, the lackluster showing of Republicans across the state Tuesday is raising Democrats’ hopes of defeating Brown in two years.”

There is speculation on who would do that: Boston Mayor Tom Menino ( because of his GOTV chops), Newton Mayor Setti Warren, and of course Mike Capuano and Alan Khazei.

I don’t doubt some will try. But I doubt Brown is really that vulnerable. All polls show that Scott Brown is still, by far, the most popular politician in Massachusetts. Besides he has $6.7 million in campaign cash – a lot more than he had when he won the seat.


Republican Spin: “We made good progress”

Scott Brown’s victory has been a mixed blessing for the Massachusetts GOP. It got their base excited. It helped them recruit good candidates. But it also gave them a case of “magical thinking.” Instead of fielding strong candidates for state legislature – an unrealistic number of candidates ran for congress. Many districts saw 4 or more Republicans in the primary. Many of these were the types of candidates who could have done well running for State Rep, or State Senator. Instead they were wasted fighting each other in Republican primaries.

Even though they didn’t win any of the races at the top of the ballot, the GOP put more pressure on the Democratic party than they have in many decades. All 5 major constitutional offices had viable challengers, and 8 of 10 congressional races were contested and even though Republicans didn’t win any – 5 races came within uncomfortably narrow margins in a state where Democrats are used to running for Congress uncontested.

And there was a silver lining: the MassGOP picked up 17 seats in the House – more than doubling their representation in the Legislature. Not enough to make much of a practical difference in how our Legislature runs – but a major step toward changing the Democrats’ long time legislative monopoly.

Jennifer Nassour, Chairman of the MassGOP, laid out that case in a letter to GOP State Committee Members:

Nov. 3, 2010

Dear State Committee Members:

No one ever said the battle to elect more Republicans in Massachusetts would be easy. Yesterday proved that, but there are a few observations I wanted to share with you:

– Our party gained 17 seats in the House of Representatives for a total of 32 – more than a 100% increase. In comparison, Massachusetts Republicans gained six House seats and eight Senate seats in the 1990 election. (Please see a full list of the 2010 legislative winners below.)

– Every incumbent Republican won. Importantly, we protected those five open House seats held by departing Republicans, including the vacancy created by Richard Ross’ state Senate victory earlier this year. We ended a 20-year slide by more than doubling membership.

– The gains in the House will give us energy and local leadership we need to continue to grow our grassroots. It will build our farm team as we prepare for future races, including state Senate contests. We already added 100 new city and town committees prior to Tuesday, and we’ve laid the ground work to organize more.

– Many, many of our statewide and congressional candidates performed well and emerged from yesterday’s election as respected, viable contenders for future elections.

– Worcester County proved to be a stronghold for us. We congratulate Rep. Lew Evangelidis who won his race for Worcester County Sheriff, and Jennifer Cassie for being elected to the Governor’s Council. Republicans will represent us in eight Worcester County House Districts: 1st, 2nd, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 11th, and 18th.

– While we don’t have final numbers yet, it is clear that our strong congressional challenges forced national Democrats to pour resources into Massachusetts, diverting them from races in other parts of the country. We played a role in the national wave

As a party, we have reason to be proud of the effort and the gains made on Tuesday because we will hold more seats come January, and we have stronger and broader grassroots. We provided our legislative candidates with the knowledge and tools to run great races, and they succeeded. Our work is far from complete, but we are heading in the right direction.

I would be remiss if I did not thank each and every one of our Republican candidates, from the statewide contenders all the way down the ballot. They put their lives on hold for a year or more to run for public office and everyone of them can walk away with their heads held high.

In the coming days and weeks, we will be analyzing the election results and will provide you with more information as we better understand Tuesday’s outcome and plan for future party building. I thank each of you for your continued support of both the party and our candidates.

Republican Rep. Paul Frost makes a similar case:

“21(pending on a few recounts) new GOP State Representatives were elected on November 2. Despite the other losses in the state, the GOP in the Mass House still gained significantly.  House Republican Leader Brad Jones and his leadership team and the Mass GOP House PAC deserve a lot of credit along, of course, with the hard work of our great candidates this year.  We also had all three incumbent Republican State Representatives re-elected.  Unprecedented efforts this round lead to unprecedented results since two decades ago, despite what happened elsewhere on the ballot. There was no wave ridden this time.”


Tea Party Spin: “Republicans were not conservative enough”

There is a theme going around that Republicans tried to lean too far to the left to pick up centrist independent voters and lost the support of conservative and “family values” voters. Mass Resistance has been promoting this idea:

“In an election where Republicans were conquering the country, Massachusetts is probably the only state in America where the Republicans were completely blanked out in all statewide offices and all Congressional districts. Is that just coincidence, or were the Republicans here possibly doing something wrong?

The forced big-tent approach to morality has become the Party’s official position. The pro-gay, pro-abortion Baker/Tisei team reflected it completely. And if a Republican candidate was personally pro-life or pro-traditional marriage, the apparent strategy was either to never mention it or obfuscate when asked about it.

It didn’t work. It confused people. And it alienated a fairly significant part of the Republican Party base — the part that does a lot of the actual work. At a certain point it started to look pretty ridiculous.

As columnist Jeff Jacoby once observed (regarding Mitt Romney’s 1994 Senate race against Ted Kennedy), if people are given the choice of a watered-down liberal and a real liberal, they will choose the real thing every time. What he might have added is that when the Republican Party caves in to more and more liberal mush, its rank and file starts to lose their zeal and enthusiasm, and it affects campaigns.”

This kind of “moderate” thinking also led to other sources of Republican Party failure:

“The Party avoided running against Barack Obama and his policies. After all, in a “big tent” you don’t want to alienate Obama supporters. But back in January, Scott Brown won his US Senate seat running primarily as the 41st vote against Barack Obama’s agenda. The “new” Republican Party hardly mentioned Obama at all. Did you see any anti-Obama ads — reminding voters how the incumbents force-fed us Obamacare, cap and trade, takeover of the economy? Neither did we. And when Congressional candidate Bill Hudak bashed Obama, he was thrown under the bus by the Republican bigwigs. However, around the country that was the main reason for booting incumbents.

Party leaders adopted other traditionally liberal issues. For example, early on Charlie Baker announced his support for the Quinn Bill. The Quinn Bill is a program where state money pays for permanent police salary increases if they take some college courses. It was originally a gift to the policeman’s union, has become very expensive, and is widely considered a boondoggle — so much so that Democrat Gov. Deval Patrick cut much of it from the budget. So Baker was in the interesting position of being more fiscally liberal then his Democrat opponent. Not exactly a Tea Party approach to government.”

All this should send a message to someone. But we’re not holding our breath for this bunch to “get it” anytime soon.

They have a point. Bill Hudak, derided by many as “too conservative” and a “birther”, and who got very little support from Republicans nationally and barely any from the MassGOP did way better than anyone expected. Most Republican candidates – like Baker – did their best to distance themselves from Hudak.

The House seats picked up in Worcester county were to a large extent “pro-family” Republicans.

Mike Rosettie on RedMassGroup makes the case that the leaders of the Massachusetts Republican party have been drawn from a relatively small number of more “liberal” north eastern Massachusetts Districts, and that it is time for the leaders to be drawn from the more conservative Republican base, Worcester county:

“State House News has reported that both Bruce Tarr and Bob Hedlund are interested in leading the MassGOP Senate Caucus.

I say Hedlund.

We need a change in our Republican leadership.  Our Republican leadership has been concentrated among a few liberal North Shore Republicans.  Meanwhile, most Republicans exists in central Mass, the South Shore and Cape Code.  This is true for both our elected officials and the rank and file.  Bruce Tarr and Brad Jones even have overlapping districts.  This does not represent the party in either geography nor ideology.”


Juicy Insights from David Bernstein

David Bernstein has two really interesting blog posts after the election. The first is that the Massachusetts House is now only barely pro-choice:

“The Massachusetts House of Representatives came within a hair’s-breadth of losing its pro-choice majority as a result of Tuesday’s elections, but will squeak through with a bare edge of 81 of 160 members.

Take these numbers with grain of salt. This is NARAL’s accounting of who is “pro-choice”. For them legislators only count as “pro-choice” if they hew to a fanatical opposition to any regulation of abortion.

Long term, abortion rights is a losing issue. The country is slowly turning against it as 3D ultrasound imaging gives families a clearer picture of what the unborn look like. I’m sure that it is surprising for many that in Massachusetts our State House is now almost evenly divided.


The other insight is that of the Democratic legislators who lost, the majority were not DeLeo allies:

“In fact, here’s something that losers Rogers, Callahan, Patrick, D’Amico, Fagan, Falzone, and Kujawski have in common: their names were not on the infamous list of 91 DeLeo supporters released during that January 2009 succession battle. Same goes for a number of Democratic reps who chose not to run for re-election (some seeking other office), including Driscoll, Flynn, Greene, Harkins, Nyman, Quinn, Rodrigues, Rush, St. Fleur, Tobin, and Wallace.

In fact, of the top 20 on my list earlier this year of Democrats “voting off” under DeLeo — ie, voting against leadership on roll calls — half will be gone when the new session begins in January.

New Democrats, aided by DeLeo’s House Democrats Committee, won 18 of the 22 open Democratic seats, if I’ve tallied correctly. And nearly all of DeLeo’s incument supporters won re-election — in other words, Democrats won house elections almost everywhere their leadership wanted to win. Seems to me the result is that DeLeo will now have more control where it counts, which is within the Democratic caucus.”

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Video: Barney Frank’s Graceless Victory Speech Thu, 04 Nov 2010 23:48:30 +0000 Click here to view the embedded video.

Frank calls out his opponents including the Herald, by name – and the Herald has a reaction:

Newspapers live for moments like the one Barney Frank gave us on election night. To be called out – by name – by a 30-year incumbent. It doesn’t get any better than that.

Now you’d think that a guy enjoying his hard-fought election victory – his first hard-fought contest in just about forever – would savor the moment. Perhaps say a few gracious things about his smart and respectful young opponent. …

So in a speech that lacked any hint of graciousness, Frank thanked his 4th District voters for turning back the “unreasoning anger, vituperation [and] anonymous smears.”

In fact, he insisted, “This was a victory for a concept of government which eschews the anger and the vitriol . . .”

Unless, of course, it’s anger and vitriol coming from Mr. Congeniality himself.

That’s when he launched his anti-Herald screed.

“With the re-election of the Massachusetts delegation and Gov. Deval Patrick, we can acknowledge tonight that Massachusetts has reaffirmed the complete political irrelevance of the Boston Herald. There is no limit to the bias and vitriol [there goes that word again] they unleashed.”

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Video: Rep. Elect Dan Winslow and Sen. Bob Hedlund on the Future of the Massachusetts Republican Party Thu, 04 Nov 2010 13:47:20 +0000

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Video: Charlie Baker's Concession Speech Thu, 04 Nov 2010 13:43:43 +0000 Click here to view the embedded video.

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Joe Van Nes: A Final Message Thu, 04 Nov 2010 12:51:01 +0000
Joe Van Nes

I congratulate Bill Keating on his win. This letter is not aimed at him, just the system in general in which we all live. I hope Mr. Keating has the ability to stand up to special interests and keep the people in mind when he is tempted with money and power. I would also like to encourage him to look outside the box in his search for solutions and not be restricted by the status quo. I’m sure I speak for the entire district when I wish him the best of luck.

Moving on…

You know it’s election season when only “noncombat” troops remain in Iraq and “terrorists” start sending their last minute bombs in the mail from Yemen. Just like they assured us before the primaries, our army was leaving Iraq, the media spent the last days of the election talking about explosives which did not explode. Keep the fear alive, but at controllable levels and you can get the “sheeple” to vote for the “lesser of two evils” every time. I wonder what’s going to almost happen right before the next election.

Voting for the lesser of two evils is impossible when both parties take money from (and owe loyalty to) the same boss. Until we stand up for ourselves by voting with our hearts and minds, don’t expect our representatives to stand up for us. Garbage in, garbage out. Anyone who contributes a little piece of garbage to the pile has to take responsibility for the mess. We have to spread the word to not blame the garbage on the garbage itself. It only takes one smart person to realize that voters will follow the polls, (as opposed to the other way around) before the entire system becomes manipulated.

With that said…
As the only candidate to receive more votes than money I’m happy with the way things turned out. Over 3000 votes is huge when you consider the following: I have never done this before. I ran the entire campaign myself. I didn’t have any money to spend on advertising. The independent vote was split 3 ways.
While I am happy with the results, I can’t help but imagine what we could do with more help, money and experience. This campaign goes to show that we can replace our government of corporate employees with people who care about common interest more than special interest. We just have to take it up a couple of notches.

I’d like to thank my campaign contributors. Without their help I would not have been able to cover the travel expenses and other necessities of the campaign trail. I am also grateful to the people who donated their time. Don’t get discouraged, we have just taken a big step in the right direction. I want to encourage everyone to build on what we have accomplished.


Check out for solutions. Or send me an email

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Massachusetts 2010 Ballot Questions Election Results: Yes, No, No Thu, 04 Nov 2010 03:12:40 +0000 Question – 1-Drop Alcohol Sales Tax – Ballot Issue 2119 of 2168 Precincts Reporting – 98%
Name Votes Vote %
Yes 1,107,141 52%
No 1,029,925 48%



Question – 2-Repeal Housing Permit Option – Ballot Issue
2105 of 2168 Precincts Reporting – 97%
Name Votes Vote %
No 1,212,121 58%
Yes 860,661 42%



Question – 3-Cut Sales Tax to Three Percent – Ballot Issue
2120 of 2168 Precincts Reporting – 98%
Name Votes Vote %
No 1,234,697 57%
Yes 931,081 43%



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