Mass. GOP chairman election: “enthusiasim” vs. “union thugs” [updated with restored video]

Bumped. According to the candidates' websites, the current count (as of noon Tuesday) of State Committee member endorsements is 28 for Green, 27 for Hughes - extremely close. Interestingly, Hughes has the support of the best-known "establishment" Republicans in the state, including Charlie Baker, Scott Brown, Ron Kaufman, and House minority leader Brad Jones; Green has some very vocal conservatives including Herald columnist Holly Robichaud. I find it fascinating that Rep. Dan Winslow, normally associated with the Scott Brown/Charlie Baker wing of the party, has cast his lot with Green. -David

Kirsten Hughes candidacy for MA GOP Chair derailed by BMG?! Let's hope not, but Ms. Hughes made both of her videos private a few hours after David's post went live, as you can see by trying to click through on them. -Bob

Fortunately, BMG will stop at nothing to bring you the news, so we are pleased to present the bootleg version of the "Hughes for Chair" video, version 1 - embedded in the post below. - promoted by david

As you may know, there’s a real barn-burner of an election going on across the aisle right now.  Bob Maginn, having “not heard the voice of the Lord calling [him] to seek reelection as chairman of the Massachusetts Republican Party,” stepped aside. Who will fill the void?

IN THIS CORNER … Scott Brown’s hand-picked choice: Kirsten Hughes.  Hughes was a mid-level staffer on Brown’s failed Senate campaign, and is also a sitting Quincy city councillor.  She recorded a video in which she outlines her qualifications and vision for the job of chair. Unfortunately, she misspelled “enthusiasm” in the video, detracting somewhat from the professional polish she’s trying to convey. UPDATE: that error was apparently deemed bad enough that the video has since been taken private; only this screenshot survives in the public domain. Hughes has since re-released the video without the misspelled words; you can see it at this link.

And yet, despite the misspelling, that video is a lot better than the first version she recorded, which is just embarrassing, yet for some reason remains visible on YouTube. UPDATE: I found version 1 earlier today on Hughes’s YouTube channel. Version 1 has since been taken down, but fortunately BMG’s super-high-tech video replicator (a/k/a my cell phone) got it first.

Brown has strongly endorsed Hughes, yet many elected officials (including some closely linked to Brown such as Rep. Dan Winslow (R-Norfolk)) and State Committee members have endorsed Hughes’s opponent, suggesting that Brown holds little influence within the party despite his high name recognition and approval ratings.

AND IN THIS CORNER … Rick Green, a businessman and head of the Mass. Fiscal Alliance (whatever that means). Green recently appeared on Jeff Kuhner’s show on WRKO, and pulled off what many would consider impossible: he made Kuhner sound like the reasonable one in the conversation. Check out this rant from the beginning of the segment – entirely unprovoked by any question from Kuhner.

Wow – “union thugs.” And the “Democrat party.” Talk about sticking to the bad ol’ Republican playbook of demonizing working people and blaming others for your own problems. Amazing – the more that strategy fails, the more committed people like Green seem to be to trying it again. Hey, knock yourself out, Rick – as long as you guys stick with the failed strategies of the past, you make our job much easier. UPDATE: I asked Dan Winslow via Twitter whether, since he has endorsed Green, he also endorsed Green’s “union thug” theory of Democratic superiority in Massachusetts. So far no reply, despite Winslow’s usually swift Twitter response time, but I’m sure he’s been very busy of late. You can read our back-and-forth at this link; basically, Dan has refused to answer the question.

So, those are your choices. It’s going to be close – as of now, Green’s and Hughes’s endorsement pages show an exact 28-28 tie among the listed State Committee members. If you had a vote, which one would you pick?


25 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. I like the earlier video better

    It seems more genuine. As to the misspelling in the later video, perhaps she is trying to make a blunt point about just how much work there is to be done at the Massachusetts GOP. Or perhaps she is trying to see how closely viewers are paying attention. Or if Republican state committee members can read. Of course, she is not the only candidate to misspell a word in a promotional video.

  2. Because I’d like to see the Chairman of the Republican Party explain why his lobbying organization, Mass. Fiscal Alliance, is exempt from the state’s lobbying laws.

  3. The Mass GOP is letting us down.

    I really wish the Mass GOP were better. I wish they had better leadership, and, I wish they tried to campaign on issues.

    If the Mass GOP provided better competition, then we would be forced to also be better. Scott Brown caused us to develop a great field operation, for example. Our field response to Brown allowed us to win in 2010 and 2012.

    Because their leadership is weak, and because they have no new ideas, the Mass GOP is letting us down.

    • It's a tough position because

      they need to appeal to about 5-6% points of the electorate. Ms. Hughes has that part right. This suggests they need to moderate on some issues to appeal to more voters. (A debatable point, I know). But Republicans (and the Unenrolleds that love them) are generally Republicans because they believe in Republican ideas. And Republican ideas these days are pretty freakin’ crazy.
      And to top it off, we Democrats dominate the state. They have almost no chance of pushing their agenda or pet projects through.

      Being head of the MassGOP has got to be a thankless job.

    • Screw that

      The Green Party is letting us down. Oh to have the Green Party be the minority party in Massachusetts. The Dems would force them to be a bit more measured and careful, and the Greens would force the Dems to do a better job for peace, for the environment, for justice, and for labor. At the state level we can’t do much for peace, but we can for those other three… and I believe that the Green Party being the minority party could pull the Democrats farther to the left on those positions. And that, methinks, would be a great thing for both the Greens and the Dems.

      I’m not arguing that this is going to happen in the next year or three, but there’s always hope that the Greens will shatter the 1% mark in voter registrations, and then the 5% mark. At that point, they’d be a legit force.

  4. In the newer video

    she ends up voicing over her introduction. Better on the lip gloss though.

    My vote for Mass GOP chair rests solely on who would produce the best comedy material. At this point, I can’t tell which candidate would do that best.

  5. Video's Removed?!?

    David, your links to these videos was working this morning but now says “This video is private.” Taken down in response to this post? Claim victory!!

  6. Too bad

    Ed Factor has a great urban agenda for the GOP over at RMG-softening opposition to gay marriage and immigration reform coupled with Clintonian ideas about lifting up the non profit sector to do work it does better than government, social enterprise building, focusing on small rather than big business, focusing on localized green efforts, anti corruption and campaig finance/electoral reform, and sane and reasonable gun control tied to better policing. Unfortunately all his ideas were laughed out of the park by everyone including Rob Eno. It’s surprising how conservative the MA GOP has gotten in just ten years since the end of the Weld-Celluci era. They were a lot more moderate and effective then and lo and behold had more statewide and local offices. Now it seems their only asset is Scott Brown who will be damaged goods if he loses a second time.

    It reminds me of the Catholic Church to some extend. What was once a neighborhood based, community affirming and building organization fell victim to top down leadership blind to the needs of the public it serves. It as nothing to do with being theologically conservative or progressive and everything to do with leadership that looks down on anyone different and crushes dissent rather than learning from it. Went to mass at the fastest growing Episcopal church in Chicago yesterday and the welcome and neighborliness I felt had nothing to do with liberal or conservative and everything to do with feeling respected. If the MA GOO doesn’t learn it will go the way the Catholic Church has around here-a “purer” but smaller and marginalized flock-all thinking the same.

    • Good analogy

      I think the analogy between the GOP and the Catholic Church is even stronger than you suggest (I’m glad you’ve found an Episcopal parish that works for you — I was an active Episcopalian for more than thirty years).

      Your top-down versus bottom-up dichotomy is precisely accurate. I suggest, though, that the tie between top-down organizations and their many dysfunctions is far stronger than your comment would suggest.

      Top-down organizations, virtually by construction, end up creating feelings of contempt and disrespect in their members — the very nature of a top-down organization strongly encourages such contempt and disrespect by those who hold the concentrated authority and power. I see great resonances between the breakaway factions of the Episcopal church (who use gay ordination of Bishops as a stalking-horse for their real target — women’s ordination) and the Southern racists within the Democratic party of 1968. Both groups found themselves on the wrong side of history within a bottom-up organization that celebrates individual dignity and freedom. Both groups fled that organization towards a receptive and far more hierarchical new home.

      The (top down) Catholic church is actively pandering to breakaway Episcopalians just as openly as the GOP pandered to breakaway racist Democrats in 1968.

      The abhorrent “brand” of the GOP today — nationally and here in MA — accurately reflects the fundamental values of the party. The GOP actively sought to embrace and nurture those (racist and sexist) values starting with the Goldwater loss in 1964. The extremism of today’s GOP is the predictable and expected outcome of that drive towards extremist purity. No short-term window-dressing or marketing message will change that in the space of a year or two.

      It took decades for the GOP to become the monster it is today. It will take decades to change that identity.

      I suggest the best path for an effective counterpart to the Democratic party is, as stomv suggests, some other party — like the Greens.

      • Very good analogy

        It also shows in the sense that Benedict allowed the anti-semetic and sedevacantist (you and Christopher probably understand this definition, but a group that feels no post V2 Pope is even legitimate!) Society of Pius XII back in, and he tolerates married priests so long as they are Anglican. Father Cutie is a controversial figure, but he had a talk show and evangelized on Oprah and could have brought more younger and browner Catholics back into the fold. But he decided to leave the priesthood to get married and then became an Anglican priest. I know for a fact the church I went to yesterday in Chicago has a lot of lapsed Catholics in its pews, as do many in the Boston archdiocese. I have disagreements with many Episcopalians and its leadership, but yesterday when welcoming us the Pastor asked if me or my fiancée had any issues with what we’ve seen so far, we told him we did (some minor ones) and he told us he would meet with us and work them out. You’d never see that in a Catholic Church-and there are many wonderful priests I worked with who wanted to do more but felt tied and constrained. I’m not converting, and its unlikely my fiancée will ever identify as anything other than Methodist but we found a parish to explore together that we are comfortable with. Inclusivity does not mean trying to be something for everyone it just means listening and reaching out.

        It’s a lot less lonelier to be a socially conservative Democrat than it is to be a a socially liberal Republican. My brother, sister in law, and a good friend who will likely officiate at my wedding are all relatively socially conservative evangelicals, but they remain Democrats since they hate war, love the environment, and favor economic justice. They also feel their views are respected in the Democratic Party and the GOP is groupthink personified. While I am too liturgical to be Methodist they have a great motto-open hearts open mind, open doors. The GOP has closed its heart, mind, and doors to so many Americans for so long it will be awhile before they can be opened again.

        Also the Greens need to stop wasting time on vanity campaigns and start winning local elections. My friend Luc Schuster did in Cambridge, no doubt others can follow suit. That’s a two party system is favor.

    • OMG! We might become "Dem Lite!"

      I find Eno’s panic that the GOP might offer Dem Lite candidates plain amusing. Possibly he has occupied the Hannity Bubble for too long, but there are lots of voters in Massachusetts eager to vote Republican because they like balance, because they like having two parties. (Think CMD. CMD would probably vote for any reasonable Republican that appeared on the ballot because he regards a one party state and partisanship so toxic.) Instead Republicans offer up candidates burdened with so much nastiness and anti-empirical nonsense that even those who would love to vote Republican can’t bring themselves to.

      These people are professional losers and proud of it.

      • I think it's good for the party

        to have people pulling it to the extreme. I’m glad when Dems pull hard on the Democratic base/party/politicians/platform to move farther to the left.

        The key is this: the party also has to have enough strength toward the middle of the political spectrum so that the end result is thoughtful evolution in a measured way — this way the culture of the party slowly adopts the movement and it becomes perfectly reasonable. I think the Dems have been successful on this one in a few areas, including opposing Iraq/Afghanistan and gay rights, including but not limited to marriage. We Dems haven’t moved leftward enough on green issues for my taste, but there’s progress there too. On other issues we haven’t evolved leftward — some would argue that the Dems are getting soft on labor and have gotten soft on education, for example.

        Nevertheless, the national GOP doesn’t have folks who are moderate, helping the GOP resolve which issues should move rightward and which should stay or move to the middle. End result: they’ve drunk the kool-aid on every single issue, and will even go out of their way to take an anti-view to the Dem’s pro-view on an issue which isn’t even core to their beliefs (like environmental issues and like civil rights issues, for example).

        Still, I don’t begrudge Eno for pulling the GOP rightward. Political parties need purists. The GOP’s problem is that they don’t have anybody pulling back, helping ensure that the party’s platform and culture evolves in a sensible and measured way, instead of just a lurch to the extreme.

  7. Rick's handing out verbal swag bags

    His website bestows the honorific “Hon.” on all the State Committee members who have endorsed him (as in “Hon. Bill Ryan of the First Essex District”).

    Can Kirsten top that?

  8. Is she taking credit ...???

    for the pick up in GOP House seats in 2010 and Scott Brown’s fundraising? Really?

    Wow, first we have the gawdawful video and in that video she raised 42 million for Brown and picked up a bunch of House seats. Amazing, from her mid-level positions she had some herculean achievements!

    Imagine what she could do as MA GOP Chair!!! : )

  9. My conspiracy theory

    I’ll bet of the 25 SC members who haven’t endorsed the majority go with Hughes because she’s Brown’s pick. A loss for Hughes is an embarrassment for Brown going into the special election and the establishment will recognize that… Rep. Winlsow probably knows she’s going to win, but he’s also smart enough to see the grassroots folks are with Green. He also doesn’t have a vote. The folks swayed by a Winslow endorsement are also likely more-so swayed by a Brown/Baker endorsement. When Brown loses the Special, Hughes will be blamed. Winslow goes into 2014 having stood with the grassroots pick of Green and is rewarded with the support of the grassroots who are angry at the Republican Chairwoman (they ALWAYS are) in his run for Gov.

    Or it’s a Brown vs Winslow power struggle. That’d be cool too.

    Also, black helicopters and union thugs.

    chrismatth   @   Tue 15 Jan 1:30 PM
    • Hmmm...

      A loss for Hughes is an embarrassment for Brown going into the special election and the establishment will recognize that…

      Inside baseball from the party which can barely field a baseball team? I’m not saying you’re wrong, but I am saying that 99.99%+ of potential Scott Brown voters won’t know or care about this outcome.

      • I agree.

        But it will still allow for a couple more sorta-bad stories about Brown not being in control. Takes him away from attacking Markey et al for a bit.

        chrismatth   @   Tue 15 Jan 2:19 PM

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