What type of Democrat[s] are we?

Obviously I agree with this. Lynch is famously "pro-life", of course. But it was his dithering, incoherent, and embarrassing Hamlet act on health care which sticks in my craw especially. It was as if he just really Couldn't. Figure. It. Out. That's not what we need. - promoted by charley-on-the-mta

I started this as a reply to David’s post “Lynch hits the ground running,” but decided it deserves it’s own post because vetting our two candidates is an important discussion to have. I hope the readers will agree. And in the interest of full disclosure I should mention, though I’m sure the post will make it clear, I am supporter of Congressman Markey for US Senate.

There are some distinct differences between the votes Congressmen Lynch and Markey have taken during their careers in Congress. And it’s the votes more than any stump speech or polished video that will tell us how our next US Senator from Massachusetts will act. So I share with the BMG community some information I’ve gathered from the interwebs and elsewhere these past few days. This was spurred on by a great post I discovered that highlighted some of the key votes between these two men: What is a Massachusetts Democrat? Ed Markey and Stephen Lynch offer two Very Different Answers  For those that are too lazy to click the link it shows that Rep. Lynch voted in favor of reauthorizing the Patriot act, oil subsidies, high levels of military spending, and warrant-less electronic surveillance. He also voted against ending the war in Afghanistan.

To this list I would add the following votes:
Energy: Rep. Lynch has voted in favor of oil pipelines, as you can imagine Rep. Markey one of the countries champions against global warming did not.

Military: While we played a support role in Libya Rep. Lynch voted with the vast majority (i.e., 95.7%) of Republicans in making it clear Congress did not authorize a military intervention in Libya.

Healthcare: And let’s not forget one of the bigger votes. On the Affordable Care Act, Rep Lynch voted against the ACA while Rep Markey voted in favor or expanding healthcare coverage for millions of Americans.

Obviously this is just a few of the many votes and I hope others will chime in with more. But with the highlighted votes above Rep. Lynch has time and again voted against the interest of Massachusetts voters and the President we reelected. So what say you BMG? Are we as a state more “Markey Democrats” or “Lynch Democrats”?


22 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. I think about this question

    a lot: what does it mean to be a Democrat?

    Once upon a time, there was an actual Left in America. It was largely purged during the first half of the century. As a country, we now a fly on a wing and a half. The GOP has been taken over by its extreme, but it still functions as a complete. Our wing has been clipped. If we still had a true Left, we’d have pressure on the guys like Rep. Lynch, who is a legitimate centrist Democrat and represents a certain kind of union tradition.

    I forgive Markey for NAFTA. In those days, I thought it was a good idea. In those days, I was a more conservative Democrat. I know better now. I hope he does too.

    The ideal Democrat for me knows that social issues are important and leads on them, but s/he also understands the largest determinant of quality, the largest problem we face as a country and a world is the inequality that arises from poverty and the concentration of wealth in the hands of a few.

  2. Hedging on abortion

    From this Globe article

    “I don’t think that undermining or repealing Roe v. Wade makes things better,” Lynch said. “It doesn’t limit abortion. It just changes the setting from a clinical one to one that’s more dangerous for women.”

    Nevertheless, he said he would vote to confirm Supreme Court nominees who oppose abortion rights. “Absolutely,” he said, saying the issue is not a “litmus test” for him.

    That said he would still have been a vote for Roberts and Alito. He is trying to sound more moderate but still gives Markey an opening. The question now is if Brown stays out do his supporters flock to Lynch in the open primary? If Lynch makes his a character issue and runs as an outsider and against pro-business votes Markey took does that set him apart? Not sure yet but Markey has to do better to respond.

  3. As I think more about this

    I would add how well does each candidate represent the Mass Dems platform?

    Just look at the preamble:

    We want health care to be a basic human right;
    We want everyone to be able to work for a living wage and have the right to organize;
    We want a high-quality education to be accessible to every person;
    We want to play an active role in addressing climate change;
    We want everyone to have a safe and healthy environment, including open spaces;
    We want to promote clean energy technologies, conservation and efficiency;
    We want safe and crime free communities;
    We want all persons to be treated as equals;
    We want a transparent and ethical government;
    We want taxes to be reasonable and expenditures to be fairly distributed;
    We want roads, bridges, and public transportation to be safe and reliable;
    We want strong national defense, security at home and abroad, and pledge to support veterans and all who have put themselves in harm’s way on our behalf;
    We want strong diplomacy and support nonviolent conflict resolution as a first resort in our domestic and foreign relations and call for a reduced military budget that allows for investment in human needs;
    We want voter equality and access to government for all; and
    We respect and embrace the values of people across the spectrum of beliefs.

  4. Great post- important to remember

    these crucial differences. Lynch (who used to be my Congressman) definitely alienated me with his vote in favor of the Iraq War, and his subsequent reluctance to abandon support for it even when it became clear that the WMD’s were a mirage, or a lie. The Patriot Act and the FISA stuff are also, definitely, marks in the negative column against Lynch (and Obama, FWIW). It will be interesting to watch these guys debate.

  5. What type of Americans are we?

    I would like to thank jkleschinsky for this thoughtful post.   But my question would be different.  The next Senator will represent everyone in Massachusetts, and if we pick the right person, he can be a voice for millions more across this nation, those who play by the rules, were made promises that were never kept (these folks were LIED to, IMO) and now face a lower standard of living.
    Energy- People are facing tough times at the pump and I understand if taxes/fees are raised on companies, they simply pass the buck down the food chain.  If these subsidies were removed and gas prices spiked b/c of it, would Markey propose eliminating the federal gas tax?   Obama favors the Keystone Pipeline, he just wants to wait for the new plans to re-route the pipe.  Has not the construction of the begun in the southern leg?  Of course it has.  Lynch knows we cannot go cold turkey on fossil fuels, and the trade unions who need the work so they can put food on the table, support this construction. 
    Military- So shame on Lynch for supporting President Obama on Afghanistan???  That what you are saying?  When it comes to declaration of war, I agree with Rand Paul,  you need congressional approval.  Hell, I don’t think Vietnam was a declared war.   Please click the link jkleschinsky provided.  Ed Markey wants to make deep cuts in the military.  Well if you read the news, the economy contracted last quarter, the blame, according to the White House, was the Republicans threatening sequestration and defense cuts.  Hence, you want a recession, vote for Ed Markey, he will deliver, it’s in writing. 
    Healthcare- Please do not forget the fact that Mr. Lynch supported the House version which included a public option, which is exactly what we need, competition against the insurance companies.  Lieberman made sure that was gone in the Senate.  Making the insurance companies and their CEO’s richer is not exactly what America needs. 
    Of course, never, ever forget the trade bills Ed Markey supported, GATT and NAFTA.  Even worse, The Seattle Times reported that Markey sold his NAFTA vote to Clinton.   The guy did not even vote on a conviction of belief, it went to the highest bidder!!  Those votes by Ed Markey did more collateral damage than the financial meltdown in 2008.   The millions impacted by these dumb trade deals weren’t bailed out, all they were given was a handshake and a big thanks and an apology from Mark Bail.  Well, you can’t put “thanks” in the bank but we can give them a Senator who will fight for them and all workers.  Anyone can  yell at a BP exec, it takes a leader to stand up to your party, even your own president, and tell them when they are wrong.  Support Mr. Lynch and you will see someone push Obama to relook at these trade deals, as even Obama promised he would do in 2008.  Markey ruined the private sector unions, so let’s help rebuild them by supporting Stephen Lynch.  

    Don’t turn your back on them now.  My goodness, for those in a union, these folks are your brothers and sisters!  Join me and let’s help them and those who will be impacted down the road.  

    • Dan, you're a union

      member, aren’t you?

      • Mark-bail- I feel like you are putting me on the witness stand

        asking me if I belong to a union. Are you feeling guilty about your support for Markey knowing the damage he did? Oh I forgot, you forgave him. IMO, one can only forgive if you were personally hurt, am I wrong? So my question to you is were you one of the few million Americans who got screwed by Markey’s support for NAFTA or GATT? If not, then your forgiveness for Markey’s inexecusable trade votes are worthless.

        No, I do not belong to a union. That is why I said “your brothers and sisters” and not “our”. Have you ever been to a paper mill, Mark? Actually see firsthand the people there, working hard with pretty dangerous equipment. And if you are not careful, one could easily lose a limb. Long time ago (when they were still open around here), I would do some work at these places, change belts, things like that, nothing special. But what was seared in my brain was the grit and determination of the workers to do their jobs and not a one ever complained. I believe most of the private unions across this country were no different and your guy, Ed Markey, said they were expendable by voting for NAFTA and GATT. You want to give Markey a pass, I want the truth to get out and hold him accountable. There is a major upgrade from Ed Markey or John Kerry for that matter, that man is Stephen Lynch.

        Thanks for asking Mark, pleasure was mine.

  6. FYI

    We at PM have been busy with the State House cosponsorship deadline but we did put together a small vote-by-vote comparison of Markey and Lynch in preparation for our decision on who to endorse, you can find it here(sorry, PDF). What was really helpful for me to see was the ratings by various different advocacy groups ( few examples: Markey and Lynch both get a 100% from the AFL-CIO, Lynch has a 10% NARAL score to Markey’s 100%). It definitely helped me gain a clearer picture on the two, based on their records and not just what I had read about them (or discovered from their strangely thin candidate websites…)

    • Thanks, jkleschinski for pointing out the other votes that the great post at irregular times missed. The Keystone XL pipeline is a particularly interesting political vote – as well as being important on the substance – because it split the ‘labor dems’ from the ‘green dems’. I don’t even remember how many times the Republican controlled House brought up a vote on Keystone specifically to expose that split. Obviously, we know, that being ‘green’ and being ‘pro-jobs’ are not mutually exclusive and in fact are quite complimentary, but it is interesting to see where Markey and Lynch came down on votes where Boehner et. al. worked hard to force the D’s to split.

      • Now I'm worried

        That Brown supporters may defect to this primary to screw with us. Especially if all they got is a nobody on their side.

        • Surely that's why dan is here

          I don’t know how worried we need to be, but I think you’re right.

          This is why I’m not sure I’ve ever liked how easy it is to pull a Democratic primary ballot — I’m pretty sure that where I grew up (in MD), you had to be registered in a party for some fixed period in order to vote in a primary for that party.

      • Not entirely

        The Keystone XL pipeline is a particularly interesting political vote – as well as being important on the substance – because it split the ‘labor dems’ from the ‘green dems’

        Plenty of unions, and Dems who support and are supported by unions, who opposed Keystone XL. The main support was from building trades.

        • I'm a union guy, but

          not all unions are right on all issues. Some unions supported the Vietnam War. Others discouraged people of color and women from their professions. Then there are the locals that are mobbed up. Solidarity is a beautiful thing when the issue is a valid one.

          Keystone is bad news. Massachusetts unions should not have supported casinos either.

          • I wonder how labor will break

            I suspect SEIU to go for Markey, and possibly some of the other unions like Teachers and UNITE-HERE. Lynch will likely get police, ironworkers, and some other trades. It could get ugly.

            • I doubt it will

              get ugly.

              I’m politically active with the MTA (local organizing, not leadership) and have had little interaction with other unions. The leadership may talk, but that’s where it will end.

              At the Warren-Brown debate in Springfield, there were some of the trade unions there with Warren signs. We stood next to each other, but that was it. The phonebanking, etc. we do on our own.

              The cops will generally support the most conservative candidate. They might endorse, but I don’t think they do much campaigning. I can’t speak for the trades people, but I’m guessing its similar.

        • Fenway49- are the building trades considered the "omega" union

          while the public or SEIU are the “alpha” unions? Again, it is very easy to be against Keystone if your members will receive no work from the project.

          • No value judgments at all

            Dan. All the unions are important and God knows we need more of them, and stronger. My only point is that even labor is split on Keystone. It’s not all of labor on one side versus all “environmentalists” on the other. And those groups shouldn’t be, and increasingly are not, mutually exclusive.

            On Keystone, it’s easier to be against it if there are no jobs at stake, sure. It’s harder, but still possible, if there are jobs at stake. You have to weigh the pros and cons, considering more than just your own short-term interest. There might be jobs in building a Guantanamo or Japanese internment camp too, but it doesn’t mean AFL-CIO unions should support one.

  7. With Brown out maybe some of this is moot...

    …but as a Markey supporter I thought Lynch justified his candidacy at the DSC meeting quite well last night using the argument that he is better positioned to bring back people who went for Brown’s regular guy schtick.

    • That's what I'm worried about

      We don’t win by being Brown-lite (tan?) we win be being true to our core values.

      • Tinkerbellism?

        It’s not the case that if we clap our hands really hard we’ll win. Favorite example: 2004. Howard Dean.

        What it minimally requires is a coherent story. And it’s best if it’s tied to some apparent aspect of the candidate’s character.

  8. Is that really all

    he has to say?

    How about the part where he loses regular Democrats with his unpalatable positions on issue after issue?

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