Much has been written about Scott Brown’s surprise victory and I’m reluctant to pile on some more. But with this post I hope to offer a unique and useful perspective – an insider’s view from the outside.
Some background: I worked closely with three campaigns this past fall: Grossman, Patrick, and Pagliuca. Before that I worked in DC and volunteered a ton as an undergrad at Tufts. Right now I’m on leave from Massachusetts politics, teaching English at a small Islamic boarding school in rural Malaysia through the US government’s Fulbright grant. So when I say I have a high-altitude take on the events of the past month and a half, I mean it.
I’m writing today (my first full BMG post) to say that the view from up here ain’t too pretty but there’s some hope on the horizon. The rest of the country and the world (yes, Scott Brown made it into Malaysian newspapers) is now seeing Massachusetts through the prism of its newfound role as the nation’s bellwether and the political fulcrum of our partisan politics. This website had its most trafficked day as Massachusetts voters elected a Republican to the United States Senate. People want to know what will come next in Massachusetts. They want to see how we’ll regroup, whether this is the beginning of a sea change in the state’s political attitude.
Let’s show them some gumption…
Our President once said that the one reason and the only reason to be involved in politics stems from a desire to get things done. As progressives, I believe, that’s what we’re in it for. As John Walsh always says, Democrats get reelected because Democrats produce results. We need to be focused like a laser beam on producing results and helping candidates who have proven they can do so.
Part of our role is going to be acting as the loyal opposition to Senator Brown’s agenda and the faction of the Republican Party that helped send him to DC. But we need to constantly reiterate what it is we stand for and double down in defense of the politicians who will stand up for what we believe in. Let’s think for a moment about what this means in the Commonwealth.
We have one of the most progressive, successful, results-driven Governors in the entire union. Let’s pull out all the stops to get him reelected and send in Constitutional officers who can help him continue the work he’s doing.
In Massachusetts we have a Democratic legislature that isn’t perfect but has produced some impressive legislation in recent years (ethics, transportation, and auto insurance reform come to mind). Let’s give them the support (and pressure) they need to keep doing their job.
And we have a solid blue Congressional delegation that is one of the most talented collections of political individuals in national politics. Let’s make sure it stays that way.
With a fresh defeat behind us and constant reminders of the poisonous anti-incumbent atmosphere across the country, it’s easy to get pissed off and turned off. It’s easy to throw in the towel in Massachusetts and focus on how frustrated we are with national trends or politicians’ apparent inability to govern in times of crisis. I know it looks ugly on the ground. But there’s no time for wound licking and we can’t let up.
There are a few other headlines I’d like to see in the newspapers here. I am fully confident that I’ll see them this fall but it’s going to take some hard work. I know you’re up to it.