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Night at the Roxbury

.08 takes on The Man in a story of intrigue, deception, fact-finding, and chutzpah. Also, I get the word "cranks" linked to me -- as if the google search terms in my referral logs weren't weird enough :)
Earlier today, I was in Roxbury at the Democratic Committee Activists Day, sponsored by the state Democrats. Phil Johnston gave the opening remarks praising the Massachusetts Democratic grassroots, as did almost every speaker throughout the day. During lunch, they had time for a few questions and answers and I figured this was as good an opportunity as any to voice my concerns. I managed to stammer out some version of this question:

The party has talked a lot about how important the grassroots are now and how important they will be in 2006. How do you square that with the actions the DSC took this past week in reducing the number of spots for grassroots members from the committees and in tightening the rules for ballot access in the primary?
Read the rest.

Peter Vickery's Letter Supporting Rhonda Serre

Peter Vickery wrote a letter to The Eagle supporting Rhonda Serre. This shout-out is one of the reasons why Peter is such a favorite among grassroots activists:
You can learn a lot about candidates from the way they run their campaigns. Rhonda is running the kind of grassroots, issues-focused campaign that is helping re-energize the Democratic Party. Many of the people who supported Bob Reich and Howard Dean, and were also part of my successful campaign for Governor's Council, are volunteering their time and skills for Rhonda. Like me, they know that she will be a strong advocate for Pittsfield's ordinary working families.
Read the whole thing here.

Will It Ever End?


Kudos to Blue Mass

The unanimous vote and the Dukakis-McGovern endorsement kind of took the wind out of my sails on this rule change vote. David at Blue Mass has got it all figured out, though:
The rule changes that the party adopted yesterday are all designed to restrict access both to the convention and to the ballot: they reduce the number of delegates, and they make it harder to clear the 15% rule. And it's been reported that these are recommendations of a commission chaired by Mike Dukakis and Jim McGovern.

But according to last year's Phoenix article, the Dukakis-McGovern Commission originally recommended several changes that would expand access to the convention and the ballot.
The rest is kind of shocking. No -- that's not the word I'm looking for -- typical.

Insert "Hill" or "Boss" Pun Here

Hill Boss has dropped out of the Hadley Selectboard race. Personal politics seems to be at play here:
Boss said that some people had suggested that "if both Kate Nugent and I run, a candidate (whom he did not name) could be elected that would be inappropriate for Hadley."

Former Selectman John S. Mieczkowski and newcomer Ellen C. Zion are also running for the seat. Mieczkowski said that one of the reasons he was running was because of Boss.

He said he did not want Hadley to turn out like Amherst. Amherst has taken anti-business stands, Mieczkowski said, and people "can't afford to live there."
John Mieczkowski, as you may recall, was recalled in 2002.

Even More 3rd Berkshire Debate

The Eagle continues its coverage of the debates. Minimum wage is a personal interest of mine -- here are some strong Democratic answers to Kinnas's charge that raising minimum wage hurts teenagers looking for after-school jobs:
Kinnas faced some rebukes from the other candidates, who criticized his portrayal of the minimum wage as something that only applies to teenage workers.

"There are, in fact, many workers throughout Massachusetts and throughout the United States who survive on the minimum wage," Malumphy said. "This isn't just young children."

Serre said she would support an $8.75-per-hour minimum wage. But even that wouldn't be enough for many workers, she added, pointing to a study that concluded a worker in Pittsfield must make $12.58 an hour in order to afford a two-bedroom apartment here.
Serre is an economic development specialist, here what she thinks about job creation:
Serre challenged the idea that tax incentives, free land and grants will help attract out-of-town businesses: "As soon as those tax incentives expire or the cost of living in the neighborhood goes up, those businesses jump to the next community willing to sell their future off for some instant, short-term gain."

Instead of incentives to outsiders, Serre said, Pittsfield and the state should concentrate on "economic gardening" that would help those companies that are here already grow and prosper.
The other dynamic in the race is that Kerwood is clearly ignoring Kinnas and running left for the general. He's pro-gay marriage, pro-minimum wage increase, etc. He's going to lose big-time in the general, but it's nice to see a Republican abandoning core principles to court lefty-values voters.

Democracy For MA Special Election Events

D4MA is getting out the vote for the March 15 primary. In 3rd Berkshire
Rhonda Serre, in 3rd Berkshire (Pittsfield)
Thursday, March 10th, 6:30pm and 7pm -- Chamber and WMEC debate at the Berkshire Music Hall at 30 Union St. off North St. in downtown Pittsfield. Volunteers are needed for visibility and stand outs.

Friday, March 11th, 4pm -- Stand out at St. Luke's Square on the corner of East and Elm Sts.

Saturday, March 12th, 10am -- Stand out in Coltsville, where Dalton Ave. meets Merrill Rd, on the triangular island.
Saturday, March 12th, 12 pm -- Lit Drops

Sunday, March 13th, 12 pm -- Lit Drops

More on the Debates

The Eagle has another report on the Debates
Throughout the session, Serre repeated what has become her campaign slogan, "Don't send City Hall politics to Boston," as she tried to distinguish herself from Malumphy, who is an at-large city councilor, and Speranzo, who is the former city solicitor. Del Gallo called the three "leftists" and urged "people of faith" to vote for him as the only candidate among the four Democrats who is opposed to gay marriage.

Serre, who worked for former state Rep. Christopher J. Hodgkins on Beacon Hill and who is an economic development specialist for U.S. Rep. John W. Olver, continued to portray herself as the candidate most qualified and best equipped to begin representing Pittsfield without having to first learn the ways of the Legislature.
I love Del Gallo -- leftists! Here's more from him
Del Gallo failed to qualify for the ballot because he unenrolled from the Democratic party too close to the election. He is now seeking the Democratic nomination as a write-in candidate and has built his campaign on social issues such as gay marriage and more rights for divorced fathers. Speaking at a near yell yesterday and jabbing his finger at first the audience and then at his opponents, he said he is the only one who will stand for family values.

"People of faith unite. ... I beg of you to come out to the polls March 15," Del Gallo said, adding it is "up to Pittsfield" to prevent gay marriage by electing a representative who would vote in favor of a constitutional amendment banning it and replacing it with civil unions.
Jabbing his finger -- wish I was there -- anybody tape it?

Unanimous Votes

.08 reports that the rules changes vote was unanimous. Well, it's not as if they took the time to solicit feedback.

Romney's veto of retroactive pay raises was overridden. At The Fray, Greg says:
Romney's complete lack of support among even Republican legislators is telling, I think. As he continues to play to a national stage by disparaging the state he supposedly governs, he's going to have trouble getting any traction at home. And psst, Governor: Losing a gubernatorial re-election bid won't be the most effective way to kick off your presidential run. I'm just sayin'.

Phil Johnston Should Resign

Kristen wants reactions to Phil Johnston's latest outrage:
It is absurd to have that many delegates. It is extremely difficult to manage a convention with that many.
If you can't manage it, Phil, resign and let someone else take over.

I just went to DCA Day in Amherst this weekend, a party-sponsored event to embrace all of the new active Democrats that Election2004 brought in. We spent most of the day trying to figure out ways to activate this bounty for the eventual nominee in 2006, and then Phil Johnston ruins the whole thing with this insight into his true feelings about the newcomers. He should have stepped down like he planned to at the end of 2004 -- this gig is getting to big for him to handle. Complaining about too many people wanting to be active in the party -- what a moron. Kudos to Bill Galvin for getting out ahead of this.

I'm not sure I even understand what he hopes to accomplish -- if there are fewer delegates, my money's on the activists getting elected, not the machine.

Update: .08 has details:
The current rules call for 6,257 delegates, but the commission wants to reduce that number to 4,777. The largest cut, some 1,100, would come in those elected from the caucuses. Delegates who are party officials and are not elected are given more representation.
Most Democrats don't care about stuff like this, but the active party members do -- so do prospective Committee members. This kind of stuff turns off the politically active to the Democratic Party.

Final Stretch

Fred Clarkson has some Special Election updates on his Kos Diary. His report on what Article8 wants is very funny:
Now you may have been wondering what is the far right thinking about these races. No? Well I was. So I checked back at the web site of the Article 8 Alliance -- which has posted a handy detailed round-up of the three races. The Article 8 Alliance, the virulently anti-marriage equality group that was so active in the 2004 legislative races (and distinguishes itself with persistent antigay bigotry) doesn't seem to have the juice to do much this time. But, that doesn't mean they aren't doing what they can.
Read the rest.

Democracy For MA will be having updates all the way to election day. I'll try to keep up.

The Eagle is reporting on the campaign contributions to the 3rd Berkshire candidates:
Malumphy and Serre are clearly splitting the support of the influential activist group WHEN, Women Helping Empower Neighborhoods.

Ann Dulye of Pittsfield, a member of WHEN's communications committee, donated $500 to Malumphy, while Serre received $100 from Register of Deeds Mary K. O'Brien, who is on WHEN's steering committee.

Both also received support from former Pittsfield mayors: Malumphy got $500 from Robert Capeless, and Serre received $285 from Sara Hathaway, now communications director with the New England Heritage Breeds Conservancy and Project.

Malumphy also received $500 from Nancy Fitzpatrick, owner of the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge.

Serre, the economic development specialist for U.S. Rep. John W. Olver, D-Amherst, was also supported by Olver ($150) and Olver's chief of staff, Hunter Ridgway ($75).
Kinnas, one of the Republicans, has raised a total of $200 (from himself) and hasn't spent it all yet. There's something admirable about that.

Blog Changes

Felt guilty adding trackbacks to various MA blogs without having a way for any of them to trackback from me -- so I'm now using Haloscan to provide them.

I personally use this page to send my Trackback Ping to other blogs. If you want to add a Trackback, click the "Trackback" link at the bottom of a post, then copy the Trackback URL from the popup to the Trackback Pinger and fill in the rest of the form. You could also use whatever Trackback Pinger comes with your blogging software or provider.

Also added my e-mail address to the right column.

Framing One-Party Rule

.08 is continuing the discussion on electability. At the end of the post, sco writes:
Most importantly, they have to make the case to the electorate that it is worth having a Democratic governor, despite the fact that it would throw the state into one-party rule.
There are two strategies for running for Governor as a Democrat in MA. The one we use all of the time is run as an outsider against the Legislature. I think, in part, this is the reason we keep losing. We have a legislature full of Democratic campaign winners, and the candidate gives them no reason to get involved.

The other way, the way Kerry beat Weld, is to run against the National Republican Party. Normally, this would not be a good gubernatorial strategy (something about politics and how they're local usually applies here), but I would argue that Romney's recent actions opens this up as viable strategy. By going to South Carolina and changing positions to placate the Republican's right-wing base, Romney has made it easy to frame him as an agent of Bush-Rove-Cheney-DeLay in our state.

Doing so has three advantages:
  1. It aligns the candidates with the legislature and gives them a reason to get involved.

  2. It's a way of changing the framing of one-party rule (MA vs. Federal, not Executive vs. Legislative). The stem-cell debate, single-payer health care, gay marriage, energy policy and more are easily plugged into this frame. Massachusetts could be a progressive haven in a radical-right-wing country, but not with Romney as governor.

    In 2004, Montana went to one-party Democratic rule (both houses and Governor flipped from GOP to Dem rule) Look at what that can do (here and here):
    Montana is at such high risk for a wildfire "blowup" this summer that Gov. Brian Schweitzer wants at least some of the 1,500 National Guard soldiers in Iraq and elsewhere to return home for the wildfire season.

    The governor warned Friday the state is like a powder keg because of persistent drought, a shortage of mountain snow and forests full of dry timber.

  3. It unites the entire party -- progressives, moderates, even conservative Democrats will get on board with this. Also, the persuadable unenrolleds can be convinced to vote against the Bush Administration and not the legislature.
Along with this, we could get some anti-Bush Administration ballot questions to help activate this frame -- anti-Patriot-act, anti-war (bring back the National Guard), pro-Social Security, etc.

3rd Berkshire Debate

Last night's debate is covered in The Eagle and Capital News 9. The Eagle's article is especially good -- titled Case of priorities for 3 Democrats, it highlights the differences between the three Democratic contenders. I think the article mostly speaks for itself, but one thing struck me:
All the public safety and educational programs ever devised couldn't operate without funding, Malumphy argued. Government, she said, should first aim to protect the "right to work."
I'm not sure what Malumphy meant here, but "right to work" is a right-wing framing of anti-union practices (see here for examples). I don't even like the idea of a Democrat using the words "right to work" non-derisively, especially in a non-"right to work" state like Massachusetts. Anyway, my guess is that Malumphy is unaware of the other meaning, which is kind of scary, but not as scary as if she was actually pro-"right to work".