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Stem Cell Bill Will Survive Romney Veto

So says Travaglini (see Blue Mass for more). This bill should be written to be vetoed, for reasons I wrote about earlier.


Left Center Left responds to my comment on electability. I was specifically commenting on this from a previous post:
1) I'm not against a primary race per se, I just fear that progressives rallying behind Patrick are doing so for the wrong reasons, in an attempt to secure a progressive as gubernatorial candidate - full stop. David says a primary run could only strengthen Reilly as a candidate: true, unless progressives and partisan types expect him to bend to much to win it – or unless he loses the primary to a less electable candidate, which is more likely to happen if party voters aren't focusing on overall electability or convince themselves that the list of things they happen to want equal electability. In fact, the '02 primary – responsible for the "O'Brien debacle" – proves the case in point. Here, competition and candidate-testing didn't produce the desired result.
We need a primary race so that each faction of the party gets an honest chance to present a candidate. As a progressive, this is the coalition I am trying to build for the general: Progressive Dems, Greens and other non-Dem progressives, Labor, Women, Minorities, Working Poor, Gays and Lesbians, etc. This is not an exclusive list, it's just the major coalitions that progressives target. Are White-Male-Middle-class-Conservative-Dems allowed? Hell yeah! I just have to prioritize. I think this is a winning coalition against Romney -- of course I care about electability -- it's just a lot more complicated than "has good name-recognition a year before it matters" or "has a good resume" or "can win over moderates/conservatives".

Moderate/Conservative Dems are building a different possible winning coalition -- Middle class Dems, perhaps Conservative Dems and Catholics, Labor, Minorities, Women, Moderate Republicans. It's not what I'm trying to do, but I think it's a valid strategy. Romney seems to be building a coalition of out-of-staters, so this coalition might be able to move right and actually be a winning one this cycle -- even so, it's not what I am trying to do.

Come September 2006, it will be a lot easier for me to combine my coalition with the other one if there's a good contested, open, and fair primary. If progressives think they had a fair shot and lost, they will be more vested in the process and back the winner. During the primary, I want the other candidate to recognize that we have a lot of voters with our candidate and they should try to tap into it. If I sit out and let the "electable" candidate have it, he never taps into my voters and becomes less "electable".

This is why Deval Patrick is not a lay-up for progressives. I think he needs to address his labor issues. If I think that Labor is luke-warm to his candidacy and will sit out or back Romney or a third party or undermine him in the general the way Finneran undermined Harshbarger, then it really hurts the winning coalition I am trying to build.

March Surprise

Ok, Only two weeks left, and this resurfaces:
PITTSFIELD -- A plan for a strip club on the city's western edge is rekindling the contentious debate over the city's adult entertainment ordinance and threatening to be-come an unexpected issue in the race for state representative.
Read the story for the detail, but the gist is that two of the Democratic contenders, plus one of the Republicans were in City government when this was debated: Speranzo was City Solicitor (and gave a legal opinion on the matter), Malumphy and Kerwood were on the City council (and voted for the 300 ft. setback instead of pushing for a 400 ft one, rendering the site useless for this purpose). It's going to be interesting to see how this affects the race -- people don't always remember where they heard someone's name, and since the ordinance passed overwhelmingly, Malumphy could be insulated. Serre has a chance to strip off some votes from her two rivals. Here's her first try:
And during the forum itself, Democratic candidate Rhonda Serre said the city should have passed a stricter law that was right for Pittsfield and then fought for it in court.

"So what if we have to go to court because it might not be legal?" she said. "You know what? We are representatives. And a legislator needs to be willing to make the tough decisions if that's what it takes to stand up for you and do what you want done. If we had to battle for this in court for a few years, it may have cost us some money, but for those few years, you wouldn't have a strip club in your neighborhood."
And the debate postponed from last week is now Monday -- Malumphy has to go after Speranzo (claim he gave bad advice) -- Speranzo will need to defend. Serre can take the high road and try to get voters to write them both off.

Gubernatorial Discussion

More Gubernatorial Discussion over at Left-Center-Left. David from Blue Mass Group sums up a decade's worth of Democratic futility with
Am I putting too much weight on the charisma factor? Maybe. But just for laughs, let's look back over the last four Gov elections. 1990: cranky, scary, mean-to-Natalie-Jacobson John Silber loses to affable, happy-go-lucky, incumbent Bill Weld. 1994: sacrificial lamb Mark Roosevelt (who?) loses to affable, happy-go-lucky, incumbent Bill Weld. 1998: charismatically-challenged incumbent AG Scott Harshbarger loses to also - charismatically-challenged - but - incumbent-Gov-in-good-economic-times Paul Cellucci. 2002: charismatically-challenged, really-bad-in-last-debate, State House insider Shannon O'Brien loses to handsome, breezy, faux moderate Mitt Romney. Does anyone seriously think the Republicans won these races strictly on the issues? I mean, really, if issues determined winners, John Kerry would be president
Yeah, what he said.

Political State Report Covers 3rd Berkshire

Jamie VW at PolState MA has a post up about 3rd Berkshire.

As I said in the comments to his post, I agree with Jamie that there's not much to distinguish the candidates on issues. To me the difference is depth of understanding of the issues, knowledge of the legislature and relationships. Rhonda has the best statewide/regionwide political network and experience and will use that for Pittsfield in ways that the city-based politicians that she is up against cannot.

Blogging Mass

Fred Clarkson did a round-up of some local blogs (and cross-posted to DailyKos). I appreciate the mention, Fred.

Anyway, I gathered up the links from there and others in the comments and added all to a new blogroll section -- MA Political Blogs -- I was linking to most of them already, but there are some new ones. Hope all the others mentioned feel compelled to do the same (cough cough).

Supermajority Politics

Romney failed to break the Democratic Supermajority in the MA legislature. This is supposed to render his veto useless, but that only works if enough Dems are on board.

I think there's a lot to gain from passing legislation through Romney's veto. This means finding popular legislation that Romney needs to veto because of the national Republican base that he's courting for his presidential run. I am not too concerned if it's particularly progressive (although that's certainly a plus).

Ideas? (1) Stem cell research is an obvious one. (2) The UMass pay raise that Romney is poised to veto. (3) There's a minimum wage increase bill making its way through the legislature. (4) It's risky, but Blue Mass Group thinks the legislature (not the court) should repeal the Jim Crow era law they use to stop gay out-of-staters from marrying in Massachusetts -- this would definitely be vetoed.

The Democratic nominees for Governor should also be part of this strategy -- publicly denouncing the veto and then visibly lobbying the stragglers in their own party to get on board.

Update: The Fray is pointing to a Globe article that reports that Romney is backing away from closing corporate tax loopholes.
Since he took office, Romney has targeted the creative accounting practiced by corporations in the state, generating hundreds of millions of dollars of tax revenue (without "officially" raising corporate taxes). These loophole-closings have been enthusiastically endorsed by the Democrat-heavy Legislature, but it's the kind of thing that can land you in the GOP penalty box:
Grover Norquist, the politically influential head of Americans for Tax Reform, said in a telephone interview yesterday that "the way to make Massachusetts job-friendly is not to impose stupid tax laws in a Draconian way."
Just pass it through him.

Progressives Back Serre

The Eagle reports that MA progressives are backing Serre. In a race of three progressives, you have to wonder why. The reason is because these groups are made up of activists, who have a long standing tradition of picking a candidate and working for them--usually very early in the race.
She has staked positions that are closely aligned with progressives: She is in favor of single-payer health care, opposed to charter schools and supports gay marriage, to cite a few.

But her competitors for the Democratic nomination -- Christopher Speranzo and Pam Malumphy -- both have similar stances on the issues. Lori Bonatakis, a self-described committed political activist with Western Mass for Progressive Change, said the group chose Serre based on her experience, which it expects will translate into accomplishment on Beacon Hill.

"She is an ideal progressive candidate because she has those values and has the experience and the knowledge to support those values," Bonatakis said. She estimated that the group has between 5,000 and 6,000 members in Western Massachusetts, but did not have membership numbers for those who will be eligible to vote in this election. The 3rd Berkshire District consists of 12 of Pittsfield's 14 districts.

Vickery, who won the Governor's Council seat with more than 60 percent of the vote, has personally endorsed Serre. He credited Western Mass for Progressive Change and the Progressive Democrats of Massachusetts with helping get voters to pay attention in November to the oft-ignored race for the panel that approves state judges; he thinks its influence could be equally strong in this special election

"It's not about e-mail," he said of the group. "It's about personal contacts. People say all politics is local; I think all politics is personal. What they have done is take their e-mail correspondence and built personal relationships out of it, so they don't just know each other as e-mail addresses, they know each other as individuals."

Controlling the Debate

Short article about the first Pittsfield Special Election Debate. Only observation is that most of the article deals with the heroin issue. Rhonda Serre got out ahead of this a couple of weeks ago, and as a result she owns this issue and the article reflects it:
"Heroin has taken over this city and anybody who doesn't know that hasn't been paying attention," declared Serre, a Pittsfield resident who worked as an aide to U.S. Rep. John W. Olver, D-Amherst, until taking a leave to enter the race.

Serre, replying to a question from an audience member, said Pittsfield is no longer just a midpoint on a drug supply line between Montreal and New York City.

"We are a destination. ... We are a marketplace," she said.

If she is elected, said Serre, she will continue to work with state and federal authorities to cut off the supply of drugs. She also said advancing economic development in Pittsfield and increasing the availability of affordable housing will reduce the demand.

Malumphy and Speranzo both said the drug problem pervades Berkshire County. They called for continued cooperation between law enforcement agencies at all levels and an increase in funding for drug enforcement.
Nice work.

Jesse Gordon for Cambridge

This is kind of exciting news. Jesse Gordon, a fellow MA for Deaner, is running for Cambridge City Council -- Jesse was very generous with his time and energy to me personally and also to Northampton4Dean (and really, the whole state). I am sure his energy, experience, and enthusiam will be a huge boon to Cambridge. Good luck Jesse!

How Goes Milton...

Nice piece in the Globe about Deval Patrick and his ties to Milton:
Raised by a single mother, Patrick was recruited by A Better Chance, a Boston-based program that helps match talented inner-city students with prep schools willing to help them. In 1970, Patrick set off for Milton Academy. "I remember coming down Centre Street and there was the campus spread out. I had never seen so much privately owned lawn in my life," he said.

The materials he received from the school specified that students wear jackets at dinner. His grandmother took that to mean a windbreaker.

"That first night, the other students were putting on their corduroy and tweed blazers, and I was there in my windbreaker," he recalled.

Some faculty members and parents of other students took him under their wing, offering support and encouragement.

Especially important were the late A.O. Smith, an English teacher, and Smith's wife, Aubrey, Patrick said. "He was central to my life. There isn't a day goes by that I don't think about him."