The MA GOP’s latest fail: forgetting about the Connecticut River

Elizabeth Warren was in Northampton over the weekend where she made some comments, the full context of which is not entirely clear.  What she did clearly say is “you’re not as landlocked as some parts of the state.”  And, true to form, our friends at the Massachusetts Republican party have seized on this statement to suggest that Warren had committed a Charlie-Baker-ish gaffe that revealed a lack of knowledge about western Massachusetts.

Unfortunately, it appears to be our pals at the MA GOP who have forgotten key geographical points about western Massachusetts.  You see, to be “landlocked” means to be “enclosed or nearly enclosed by land.”  It does not mean “not on the ocean.”  And, while Northampton is obviously not on the ocean, it is on the Connecticut River, “the largest and longest river in New England.”  Northampton is well aware of its watery neighbor, and of the many activities its residents find there:

Northampton is bounded by the Connecticut River, on which many people enjoy fishing, travel, and recreational activities. Summer weekends will find hundreds of people out on the river in everything from canoes and kayaks to fishing boats, jet skis, and even water skis. The privately owned, 300-slip Ox-bow Marina provides docks, a boat ramp, and boating events. Elwell Recreation Area on Damon Road at Route 9 and I-91 (part of the Connecticut River Greenway State Park) provides canoe and rowing access to the Connecticut River including a paved access ramp to a wheelchair accessible dock on the river. The Oxbow Ramp on Route 5 on the Easthampton/Northampton boundary offers a paved ramp, customarily used by high powered recreational craft and larger fishing boats. The river is also home to crew teams from area colleges and the Northampton Youth and Community Rowing program, which enrolls rowers from 15 – 65+ years of age.

So, sorry Nate, Tim, and the rest of the merry MA GOP gang.  This time, the gaffe’s on you.


10 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. Major Mass GOP gaffe...

    As the video really appears to be taken out of context, we’re only guessing as to what she was talking about. My interpretation was that she was referencing the easy access to 90 and 91 that Northampton enjoys… Could really be anything since the Mass GOP won’t release the video.

    What the major gaffe here is on the Mass GOP’s part is that they’ve released a tracker video on an anonymous Youtube page. The MassGOP twitter account promoted the video first, and it was quickly followed up by a tweet from an RNC staffer.

    The Youtube account is four days old and the only result on Google when you search for the YoutTube username “JamiJaso123″ is this video.

    Hey MassGOP, stop the astroturf. If you’re going to make stupid videos, put your name behind it.

    chrismatth   @   Mon 24 Oct 2:28 PM
    • Landlocked is not a gaffe

      If you look up the definition in Investopedia, in business, the term “landlocked” is used to indicate whether land is accessible by a public thoroughfare. So, Chrismatth is correct. She was referring to access to 90 and 91. And, Elizabeth Warren is absolutely correct. Northhampton is not as landlocked as other parts of Mass, so it has development potential.

      • It's often used in zoning discussions

        There are parcels of land entirely surrounded by land owned by others, whose owners may petition for a right of way, for example.

        And as somebody recently returned from Oklahoma, I could see her regarding the entire STATE as ‘less landlocked than others’ for oceananic purposes.

        It was a stupid and badly thought out press release, exposing the dangers of addiction to negative press releases.

  2. What's that I see?

    Half a hair?

    The “landlocked salmon” example #2 in the very Merriam Webster definition you cite directly contradicts your semantic point about oceans versus fresh water. Therefore, the idea that she was referring to the Connecticut river is nonsense. Almost everyone uses “landlocked” to refer to geographic areas that do not border the ocean (like Vermont, which is frequently referred to as landlocked despite Lake Champlain and the CT river for that matter),

    I tend to agree, instead, with chrsimatth that Warren was using “landlocked” in the less common figurative sense here. Meaning less “isolated” and “discconnected” from business than many other parts of Western Mass. They are figuratively “less landlocked” because of the proximity of Norhthampton to highways, an educated populace and to Amherst.

  3. Maybe Charlie was the one who "found it" ....

    Route 9 bridge going over the Connecticut River in Northampton:

  4. No land for development

    When I hear “landlocked” in the context of development, I think “room to grow”. If a community is “landlocked”, to me, that means they have no more room for development. They’re built out.

  5. Here's the video source ..

    It’s an edited piece from Daily Hampshire Gazette:

  6. She's clearly talking about

    “landlocked” in terms of being in terms of “accessible by a public thoroughfare” as Bluemass notes. Her preceding sentence is about having the right resources; the next sentence is about infrastructure. And in Hampshire County, we do have the infrastructure. Northampton has Rte. 91 and it’s about 15 minutes to the Mass Pike.

  7. I fail to see the problem...

    …even if landlocked is meant literally as having no water around it. If Northampton is on the Connecticut River, especially if the river is still navigable that far up (I’m not familiar enough to know if it is.) then Northampton is indeed not as landlocked as some other communities in the Commonwealth including Greater Lowell communities for example, which while on the Merrimack River are too far upstream for the river to still be navigable. Of course Northampton IS more landlocked than the coastal parts of the state, but I’m sure Professor Warren is well aware of where the ocean is.

    • There's a dam at Holyoke,

      so there’s no navigation downstream without portage. The Connecticut River is great for recreation, but not transportation.

      On the other hand, I’m not sure the GOP leadership could find their collective butt with both hands, never mind the Connecticut River, but I don’t want to “throw rocks at people” so I’ll stop now.

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