Lynch and the DOMA brief – what is going on?

A very odd story... - promoted by david

The Globe has an interesting report about Congressman Lynch being the only member of MA delegation not to sign on to a brief urging the Supreme Court to strike down DOMA.

Lynch’s people blame an “email glitch” as the reason Lynch did not sign.  Apparently he would have signed if he had known about the brief. That strikes me as suspicious.  Was there really only a single missed email?  That seems unlikely.  I would also be surprised that Lynch and his staff are not dialed in enough to the Democratic leadership that they would not know about the brief.

The Lynch campaign is floating a conspiracy theory about the email glitch.

In a follow-up tweet, Lynch campaign spokesman Conor Yunits called the e-mail glitch “convenient given D.C. effort to choose candidate.” Much of the Democratic establishment in Washington threw its support behind Markey in the opening days of the race.

That seems like a dumb and counterproductive thing for the Democratic leadership to engage in.  I doubt we will ever know what is really going on, but it all seems a bit bizarre.

The far more interesting thing in the article are the votes that kept Lynch from getting HRC’s highest rating:

Lynch was dinged for not supporting two pieces of legislation backed by the Human Rights Campaign: a proposal seeking to bestow the same immigration benefits to gay immigrants as those enjoyed by heterosexuals, and an extension of spousal health care and other benefits to federal civilian employees.

Those are bad votes, really bad votes.

Recommended by somervilletom, mike_cote.


21 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. What a shame that this “glitch” resulted in Lynch continuing his historical opposition to full and meaningful equality. I am sure that Lynch is crushed.

    sabutai   @   Sat 2 Mar 11:41 AM
  2. Reluctance to fill in what I don't know

    This sounds bad either way.

    It’s quite possible, indeed, that Rep. Lynch will be our nominee — particularly if the Republican primary battle turns into a competition over who’s the Biggest Lunatic.

    So right now this sounds as if it could be a misguided person trying to make Lynch look bad, or it could be Lynch trying not to offend more socially conservative Democrats. Neither story is a good one.

  3. "Chosen candidates"

    Sounds an awful lot like the defensiveness of Marisa DeFranco when Warren was in the race taking up air. How’d that paranoia-sounding (“the establishment is against me!”) strategy work out for DeFranco again?

    • Well...

      Insofar as the DSCC is “the establishment”, the establish was against DeFranco and is against Lynch. Mind, that doesn’t mean they’re insurmountable as past experience. Already playing this card on something so small does make a candidate look like a whiner.

      sabutai   @   Sat 2 Mar 8:34 PM
      • The establishment was against DeFranco

        Because she sucked. I went to the debates, I heard some of her speeches. She was terrible. Not hide-your-face terrible, but certainly not-ready-for-prime-time terrible.

        The establishment (and a gazilion outsiders) flocked to Warren because she was good. VERY good. AND an outsider. Trust me, getting the establishment to like an outsider is pretty incredible. But Warren pulled that off. It was a consensus-driven movement, not “hey, you establishment types, let’s have a conspiracy to keep DeFranco off the ballot!” But DeFranco kept talking like it was a conspiracy.

        No, people genuinely wanted Warren to be the nominee. Sometime a cigar is just a cigar.

        • Was the "establishment" (however we want to define that) even against her?

          I almost think that’s going too far. I like Marissa and really appreciate both her passion and the work that she’s done for good causes (as both a professional and volunteer), but she just didn’t resonate in the race.

          Most of us have been there where we just didn’t resonate and it can sting, but it doesn’t always mean the establishment was out to get you, and it’s not even always your fault.

          Insofar as any opportunities in that primary were denied to Marissa by the “establishment” (an amorphous term that’s easy to rail against because it can mean almost anything), I don’t think any of it was bitter or personal or an attempt to somehow subvert democracy… it was just a reflection of where the race was at.

          To that point, both the Democrats and Republicans have knocked someone off a ballot during a state convention in recent years. There’s just a dramatic difference in the way those parties went about doing it.

          When Mihos was booted off the Republican ballot, he was running close to even with Charlie Baker in the polls — close enough that a lot of those delegates must have been afraid Mihos could win over the “establishment’s” candidate, or at least force Baker to go negative to beat Mihos. The hammer was swung and Mihos was booted.

          When DeFranco was dropped from the ballot, it wasn’t because any hammers were swung. No shenanigans were made by a handful of elites from behind the curtain to keep her off the ballot. She simply didn’t have the votes.

          I don’t think the Massachusetts Democratic Party is perfect, or that the progressive movement in Massachusetts is perfect… but we’re all a pretty open and enthusiastic lot.

          We may not hand anyone a spot on the ballot just for showing up, but we’re not going to take it away, either. I don’t think 15% of the state convention’s delegate vote count is a particularly high threshold.

          Plus, the open process of electing delegates makes it exceedingly difficult for any shadowy group of powerful insiders to deny anyone who’s put in some serious grassroots work a spot on the ballot… even if John Walsh one day was replaced with the twisted-mustache version of himself from the Mirror Universe.

          RyansTake   @   Mon 4 Mar 9:08 AM
    • Whether they’re right to do so or not, there’s no doubt the establishment is pushing Markey hard. To deny it makes you sound crazy.

  4. Sounds like an ordinary snafu

    Email went to the wrong person and the people putting the brief together figured Lynch wasn’t interested — he’s often outside of the progressive consensus with the rest of the delegation, so it’s not hard to believe he’d take a pass on this. Reading more into it than that (either thinking that the email was deliberately mis-sent or thinking that Lynch is playing games with this) seems mistaken. Lynch seems to genuinely want to tone down his prior social conservatism, so playing games with this seems really stupid. Ditto for idea that Lynch was set up here — Lynch may very well be the Democratic nominee, so why antagonize him?

    This may be one where it’s safest for all to assume a simple screwup.

  5. 4th on he didn't sign since late 2011

    The version of the article linked above is missing a key passage that was in the hard copy of the Globe today, and online here. This is actually the fourth such amicus brief that Lynch has failed to sign in recent history. Looks like this is a pretty long-running email problem and/or conspiracy to make Lynch look weak on gay rights. Or maybe that’s just the way he is:

    Markey supporters had already pointed out that Lynch failed to sign three friend-of-the-court briefs challenging DOMA going back to November 2011, a pattern they said speaks for itself. Nadler’s spokesman, Ilan Kayatsky, could not ­address the earlier briefs.

    An aide for a senior Democratic House member who signed all four briefs said it is unlikely that Lynch missed all of them because of e-mail glitches. “With the level of publicity around each of these, I find it very difficult to understand that that could possibly happen,” said the aide, who spoke anonymously because the aide’s boss wished to stay out of the Lynch-Markey fray. “It’d be one thing if he missed the first one, but to miss four, it just doesn’t hold any water.”

  6. His participation in the St. Patty's Day Parade speaks volumes as well

    As David Bernstein pointed out, the organizers have a constitutional right to be dicks, but that doesn’t mean you have to support their dickish behavior. If they were excluding, say, Jews instead, would he be quibbling over their right to do it, or boycotting like all civilized people? What’s any different about discriminating against gays?

    • Is this THE Boston St. Pat's parade?

      If so I thought it was an event all the pols had a presence in or made an appearance at. I don’t blame candidates for trying to get all the exposure they can, though Lynch is probably not hurting for exposure in South Boston.

      • No, progressives don't march

        “The” Boston St. Pat’s Day parade is just a neighborhood affair in Southie, not a bigger deal than Dorchester Day, Bunker Hill Day, or Haitian Flag Day. It has featured fewer politicians than in most of those other annual parades for several years. Supporters of equality, starting with Mayor Menino, generally boycott it. They get their publicity, though, by going to the breakfast that morning, which is what gets the TV coverage anyway.

      • In the past, Christopher,

        you may have been right. Not anymore, because most politicians have long since realized that they don’t want to walk in a parade in which their gay constituents are specifically singled out as not-invited.

        RyansTake   @   Mon 4 Mar 9:15 AM
  7. If Lynch was upset about missing out on signing the brief, he could have made a clear public statement in support of equality. Something like: “a glitch got in the way of my signing this brief, but nothing will get in my way of supporting full civil equality for LGBT people when I am Senator”.

    But instead he offers weak excuses? This tells me all I need to know about how unimportant LGBT equality is to Mr. Lynch.

    • It’s not like this guy has a history of supporting LGBT rights to begin with, that makes this sound plausible. If he had been a backer all along, we’d all be like, DUDE, but seriously.

      I’m all for sudden changes in the direction of equal rights for LGBT, and there are legitimate sudden turnarounds (one of my state Reps was one) but like the Right to Choose, it seems AWFULLY conVENient that just as he’s trying to get statewide Dems to pick him in a primary, he SUDDENLY gets his back up about not getting his name on this brief, and becoming “pro-choice.”

      It smells of the worst kind of pandering, and if I don’t like it in a Republican, I HATE it in a Democrat. Stop insulting our intelligence, please.

      • Pull a Toomey or a Romney

        Tim Toomey got primaries by Avi Green for his votes against choice, against gay equality, and for the death penalty. As soon as the primary was over, Toomey changed his mind on all three issues since he realized he had to reflect the will of his constituents. That’s a change of conscience rather than convenience. The other direction is Romney, to be lukewarm for choice when running in MA (and show your church’s President pie charts supporting that decision) and then be lukwarm against choice when running in the GOP primary (I am sure pie charts were involved there too). Sounds like Lynch is pulling a Romney, its an awful lot easier to check the right box than it is to put your name on the line that is dotted and take a stand.

  8. Please

    This guy won his very first public office by challenging the incumbent state rep in a primary. his basis for running? Said incumbent had failed to support with sufficient vigor the decision of Wacko Hurley to cancel his parade rather than obey state court orders to allow a gay group to march.

    Steve Lynch won his very first office largely by demagoguing on this very issue, and has done virtually nothing in two intervening decades to suggest he’s changed his mind. Except one day in 2011 he woke up and realized he’d like to run statewide, not just in his Southie-based district, and decided he’s totally for same-sex marriage. Sure.

    This weekend State Sen. John Keenan (D-Quincy) came to our city Dem caucus as a Lynch surrogate. One of our members asked him what role Lynch would play in pressuring the parade to be inclusive this year. He said he’d “pass that on” to Lynch. I am not holding my breath.

  9. Lynch says he wants to shake up Washington...

    apparently by being the both the Party of No and a Party of One at the same time. Perhaps he can start calling himself a Whig and be done with it.

    • Not sure

      Lynch is more socially conservative than the Whigs, and his enthusiasm for Keystone expansion and American militarism strike me as more of a Jacksonian characteristic. He is definitely a Democrat-of the 1830s variety.

      • Sorry, I meant Whig more as an antique obsolete reference.

        I could have used No-Nothing, or Bull Moose Party, but they carry their uselessness to modernity in a different way. Again, Sorry.

        • No problem

          The Whigs were the precursor to Lincoln’s Republicans, and the Whigs in Britain were a precursor to Gladstones Liberals. So I have respect for them, but you are correct there are none left.

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