Final Debate Before Democratic Senate Primary: Markey Hits Back

  - promoted by david

Another day, another debate. This one was in Springfield, rescheduled from last Monday, which was of course the day of the Boston Marathon attack. It was the last debate before the primary on April 30, one week from today.

At yesterday’s debate Steve Lynch tried to paint Ed Markey as soft on homeland security and Markey, whose record shows otherwise, was slow to rise to the challenge. Tonight he was more prepared and the exchanges got testy, on that and other issues.

Here are my notes:

Markey came out swinging on the terrorism issue in the early going. He said (rightly in my view) Lynch’s performance last night was “a page from the Karl Rove Swift-Boat playbook.” He added that the 2002 vote against the Joint Task Force was because Bush put law enforcement into military hands for the first time in our history, and Lynch voted with the GOP and against the rest of the Massachusetts delegation on that.

Markey added that his votes on port security were because the bills did not contain provisions to screen cargo entering the U.S. for nuclear weapons (the record confirms this). Now it was Lynch saying Markey voted against the rest of the delegation and indeed almost the entire rest of the House. Markey said he would do it again, because a “port security” bill with no nuke screening is no good.

Lynch said Markey’s record made it a “mystery how you can call yourself a supporter of homeland security.” He then said Markey was “so far out on the left” that he couldn’t get behind “basic stuff like offering condolences to the families” after 9/11. He expressed the view that there was a repeated effort by “your side” (the “left?”) to skirt basic decency issues. “It’s about the people. You get hung up on policy.”

Markey said the Republican-sponsored resolution in question stated that, because of 9/11, we have to invade Iraq. If it had been just to praise those who responded and offer condolences to victims’ families, he would have voted for it. But there was no Al Qaeda in Iraq, the resolution suggested there was, and he wouldn’t be part of that deception. Again Lynch was with the GOP and Markey with the rest of the delegation.

On the Miranda exception applied to Tsarnaev:

Markey said he’ll defer to the decision of Obama and his DOJ on this issue. Lynch said he “absolutely” agrees with a limited opportunity to question without Miranda where we are not sure if there is a remaining risk of more bombs and bombers, then went back to hitting his port security point.

On North Korea:

Lynch: We’re doing it right, Obama has the right policy: caution but backed up with proper preparation. We have to be sure not to get in the way of Russia and China’s security interest, and to work with them. We have to reassure our friends in the region like Japan and South Korea. We are most effective in that region when collaborating with our international partners.

Markey: We are very fortunate to have John Kerry as Secretary of State, and I am impressed by his work on this. Everything Kerry is doing is carefully calibrated to elicit specific responses from the North Koreans. We are paying for our past error in thinking we could sell nuclear power plants to Iran and North Korea. Kerry is now saying to South Korea, “we have your back.” A strong message that must be heard: U.S. will not allow sociopaths with nukes to hold world hostage. China has to be more aggressive, North Korea completely dependent on China for resources. Get the rest of our coalition on board to ostracize North Korea and anyone who helps it.

Preventing Iran from getting nuclear bomb:

Markey: Nuclear non-proliferation is always paramount. A Iran nuclear bomb would threaten Israel, but also NYC, Boston, and DC. A real danger to us. Kerry doing an excellent job, again cleaning up the “residuum” of sale of nuclear materials to these regimes. We must build a coalition to impose the strongest possible sanctions in the history of the world to squeeze Iran, and we’ve done that. We must make it clear we won’t tolerate their having a nuclear weapon. We all have to stand with Obama and Kerry on this.

Lynch: Not a lot of difference in our positions on this. China and Russia have influence in this region as well, as do the EU, Turkey. Two-way system: I agree with Ed’s point of pressure on Iran, but also want to stress our support for Israel, the only true democracy in the region. Israel is not perfect, but neither are we. Still, there is a lot of love for Israel and its people in U.S. They are vulnerable. We must create consequences for Iran if they take that step.

Markey: When Israel attacked Iraq to destroy its nuclear program in 1981, they were condemned by world leaders, including Reagan, but I praised it. If Hezbollah and Hamas put down their weapons, there would be peace. If Israel did that, there’d be no more Israel. We must stand with Israel.

Lynch: Pakistan also is a nuclear power, and a shaky regime. At the point where civilian leadership is unstable, military still the big player. Need a wider perspective on how we approach non-proliferation in the region. It’s not just Iran.

Chained CPI:

Lynch: Social Security does not contribute to deficit, and is desperately needed by more and more seniors. Over half of them, 60% of them, rely on it for most of their income. I opposed payroll tax cut in 2010 and 2011 because it would drain Social Security funds and muddy waters on its funding. FDR was afraid of that, structured it to make workers pay into it so “no damn politician” will touch it. When we stopped paying in via the payroll tax cut, Lynch voted against it twice. It still passed, not sure how Markey voted. We just need to tweak it. We should raise the cap. A-Rod $40 million, pays very little. If you make 40K, you pay it on 100% of income.

Markey: These programs are called entitlements, but people have contributed throughout life. The GOP wants us to forget that, and forget that a big part of the current deficit is the Bush/GOP tax cuts, two wars not paid for, and the lost revenue from the GOP casino on Wall St. that led to collapse. The economy was saved only saved because Democrats were willing to take tough votes. Social Security is solvent to 2033. Let’s talk about other “entitlements,” like Big Oil’s $40 billion in tax breaks, the $100 billion the Pentagon wants for more nukes we don’t need, the $80 billion for NATO burden sharing, when there’s a zero chance Russia will invade Germany and France. GOP not talking about those, only cuts that wil hurt the poor and sick and elderly who had nothing to do with economic collapse.

Lynch: Don’t forget, the GOP tried to privatize Social Security not long ago. It would have been catastrophic if the crash came in 2007-08 and that had happened. Proud of Ed and myself, the Democrats, for stopping that.

Markey: We need to handle the deficit, but let’s not forget this ancient animosity of GOP toward Medicare and Social Security. The GOP voted against their origination. Paul Ryan’s budget again would voucherize Medicare. That would harm seniors seriously, Bush just tried to privatize Social Security. You can’t negotiate with people who don’t believe in the existence of these programs

Unemployment (Western Mass. specifically):

Markey: We have to complete the Boston-Springfield rail line. It will bring jobs out to Western Mass. and make it attractive for businesses. I will work with President Obama to create a manufacturing hub in Western Mass. It’s an ideal location. We need more broadband in rural areas. I fought for $45 million in the 2009 stimulus for Western Mass. to connect its schools, libraries to the internet. Also, keep funding for research at UMass and other colleges, and a legal pathway to citizenship for immigrants to make the most of the talents of people working out here already.

Lynch: I would repeal NAFTA, but Markey voted for it. They said it would not take jobs away but it did. Western Mass. hit hard by NAFTA, really all the way from Worcester to Pittsfield. Good manufacturing jobs were lost. Thank Ed Markey for that. I worked at the GM plant in Framingham, great job, but that region was hurt when Ed voted for NAFTA. His Telecommunications bill, he said it would create 1.5 million jobs. Instead we lost 500,000 jobs. There is no broadband in Western Mass. In Pittsfield the cable company won’t show NESN, they have them watching the Yankees. Duopoly: Verizon and Comcast. No other choices. It was a terrible bill.

Markey: Clinton said he’d enforce NAFTA labor and environmental safeguards. He couldn’t assure his successor, Bush, would as well. Lynch talks about auto plants but voted against the TARP auto bailout, which is the only reason that industry exists today in America.

Lynch: I don’t want to call you a liar, but you are. They were separate bills. I voted for the bailout of the auto industry. I voted against TARP, which was for banks, not manufacturing. TARP was a disgrace, you voted to take money from taxpayers in my district who don’t even have bank accounts so Goldman Sachs could pay bonuses after screwing up the economy.

Markey: I note that Steve is being inappropriately personally insulting. Steve voted against bill to bail out the auto industry, just 3 years ago. The UAW endorsed me for that reason. You can’t create your own truth.

Lynch: Fact checkers will sort it out, but TARP and auto bailouts separate. Markey is not a liar, just misinformed. I stood with regular people, taxpayers. You stepped up for Wall Street while they paid each other bonuses.

Markey: Steve is incorrigible.

Marijuana – How will you respond to DOJ’s oppostion to medical marijuana in states, like Massachusetts, that have legalized it?:

Lynch: I might lose some votes, but I thought the vote to legalize it was a terrible thing. I work in the recovery community, helped establish Cushing House for boys and another for girls. We had a cluster of suicides in South Boston – 14 young men over 18 months – due to drugs. I’ve spent a lot of time on that. I’m not saying all who smoke a joint will be heroin addicts, I smoked pot as a kid. But most addicts started with pot. I understand the medical values, but can we have a pill form? We’ll end up spending a billion on rehab because of legalizing marijuana.

Markey: I supported the referendum. Medicinal marijuana makes sense as long as standards are put in place to protect against abuse. People with cancer and other painful diseases need the help. If a physician acting properly prescribes it, it’s OK, but the dispensaries constructed must be carefully regulated to ensure it’s not a common dispensaton of marijuana onto the streets. It is important to work with the feds to ensure that they respect what we are doing here, and will not prosecute under federal law people participating in our state program. I hope the federal government will defer to us on this and we can help people.

Lynch: I understand those arguments, and they are well reasoned. But what we’ve seen in other states like Colorado, the average medical marijuana patient is a white male, aged 18-25, being treated for anxiety and migraines. So the evidence on this is not good.

Markey: Massachusetts has strong guidelines so this can be used for those who need it. Those with cancer and other specific diseases.

ACA: Isn’t Lynch vote against it understandable b/c of cost control rationale?

Markey: No. This was the dream of Truman, Ted Kennedy, Barack Obama. We needed to put it on books to ensure all children are ensured, that people are not denied coverage due to preexisting conditions, to stop them from going bankrupt due to illness. It was the proudest vote of my career. Just as Mass. was a model for the nation on universal access, we are trying to be a model, at the state level, for cost control. But we had to put the law on the books in the first place, and the whole delegation voted for it but Lynch. Obama, Vicki Kennedy, Kerry all asking him to vote yes, he voted no.

Lynch: Clinton tried to do welfare reform, Gingrich twice gave him an unacceptable bill, twice he vetoed it and they got it right the third time. Then he signed it. Here we didn’t fix the bill. It has three flaws: 1. it gives insurance companies an anti-trust exemption; 2. no public option; 3. it adds taxes on healthcare that are making employers run away. People are losing their doctors, and even their hospitals. The insurance and pharma industries got everything they wanted, 31 million new customers. We paid the ransom and let them keep the hostages. Now we have no leverage.

Markey: You were the only member of the delegation to vote no. You attacked me personally last night and tonight on erroneous facts. You were not standing up for everyday Americans with that vote. The ACA is what the Democratic Party is all about. There was one vote. You said no and I said yes.

Lynch: I was also the only member to read the bill. Not just one vote. Original House bill had a state-based public option, no antitrust exemption. I voted for that. I voted against the final conference bill that was flawed.


Lynch: Ed is great on policy, I’m great with people. I fought for people on crime and drugs in the projects. I fought export of good jobs via NAFTA. I’ll fight for Social Security for seniors, for decent broadband here in Western Mass. Ed and I differed on some things. He was for the banks, and I was for citizens. I was for the fishermen, Ed was for the fish. He was for NAFTA, I wasn’t. Like a lot of people in Springfield, I strapped on work boots for 18 years. You don’t see people like that in the U.S. Senate. Senator Warren great, but would be helped by having a ironworker there to help her.

Markey: Steve says he’s for people, not policy. Which people did he stand for on his healthcare vote? On a woman’s right to choose? On the sequester that is taking $3 billion out of homeland security funding? He didn’t vote for the auto bailout. I am running for U.S. Senate to stand up for ordinary families in our state. My father grew up in Lawrence in a 3-decker. When my aunt died, I met the people who live there now. They are Dominican immigrants with the same aspirations my family had, just different accents. Our job is to make opportunity and the American Dream available to all.


40 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. Thanks for the great summary...

    The summary makes them both seem pretty impressive, more impressive than if I’d seen it I’d guess!

  2. On the auto bailout

    A split decision.

    Markey was right that most of the loans to GM and Chrysler were from TARP funds, but Lynch was right that there was a separate House vote. That vote covered only about $15 billion in direct loans to automakers, while TARP provided about five times that amount.

  3. Lynch lies so shamelessly

    He made the false claim about NESN last night. David Bernstein asked about it on Facebook and A TON of people from the Berkshires wrote in pointing out that they have NESN. Last night it could be attributed to ignorance. Now, surely someone has brought the truth to his attention. Being that ignorant would in itself be a reason not to vote for Lynch, but now he’s resorted to lying.

  4. This old thing?

    But most addicts started with pot. [Lynch]

    People are still saying that? I’d bet any amount of money that most addicts started with beer. Outlawing that worked out pretty much the same as the War on Nonalcoholic Drugs has. Victimless “criminals” stigmatized for life; violent criminals provided with a lucrative industry; Constitutional protections ignored in the frenzy to pursue and fund a moralistic program of persecution.

    The more I hear from Mr. Lynch, the more I think he’s a Reagan Democrat. We don’t need any of those; certainly not in the Senate.

    • I'm not so sure...

      If you’re a high schooler, it’s often easier to obtain and hide pot than it is beer — which is bigger, doesn’t have a private sales infrastructure, and is not very tasty when consumed at room temperature…

      • I'm Not So Sure?

        You’re basing your opinion here on what you think that high school kids might do based on their lack of access to a fridge? And that beer is slightly larger than a bag of marijuana? C’mon, stomv, you can do better.

        The reality of the situation, of course, is that high school kids drink more alcohol more often than they do smoke pot. According to, you know, the data. The CDC does the most comprehensive survey research in this area and they’ve found that:

        Though notable progress also has been made in reducing alcohol use, alcohol remains the most commonly used drug among high school students. Since 1999 the percentage of high school students who drank alcohol during the past 30 days decreased from 50% to 39% and, since 1997, the percentage who reported binge drinking (having 5 or more drinks of alcohol in a row during the past 30 days) decreased from 33% to 22%. Yet, more than 1 in 3 high school students reported current alcohol use in 2011, and 1 in 5 high school students reported binge drinking. Furthermore, marijuana use during the past 30 days decreased from 27% in 1999 to 23% in 2011

        See also here for an interesting report on alcohol and drug use and high school grades:

        In other words, while usw of both is going down thanks to better education and law enforcement, alchohol is used about twice as much as marijuana by high school kids. Fact.

        Without getting too much in to the weeds (hee, hee) on the “gateway drug” nonsense, I can’t help but also point out that marijuana prohibition definitely increases the possibility that marijuana users will try other more addictive and harmful drugs. Prohibition fosters the black market and black market dealers naturally try to expand their product lines and encourage their buyers to purchase more expensive (and addictive) products. Legalizing marijuna use (as with alchohol) would sever this link, end the black market, and make it even more unlikely that marijuna users would ever move on to cocaine, heroin, or prescription drugs.

        • To be fair...

          the CDC report is “alcohol” not “beer”. And a six pack is a hell of a lot larger than a nicklebag if you need to hide it from your parents in your room, your backpack, your locker at school, your car, etc.

          I don’t have any idea what fraction of the servings of alcohol consumed by high schoolers is beer vs. wine vs. hard liquor. While I don’t expect that kids are sipping fine whiskey, pouring some vodka in with a soft drink is an easy way to hide the alcohol from others’ eyes and from their own taste buds.

          P.S. Your first line of thinking [alcohol most commonly used drug by teens] and the second line of thinking [legalizing weed would sever the link] seem contradictory when viewing alcohol or pot as gateway drugs to more dangerous and addictive substances.

          • Milk is a gateway drug?

            Over ninety percent of heroin addicts drank milk as children. Shall we therefore outlaw milk? I think the more salient question is what portion of pot smokers move on to heroin (or other addictive drugs) and compare that to, say, alcohol.

            I remember well when Ronald Reagan focused on enforcing marijuana laws when he wanted to show some high-visibility progress on the “war on drugs”. Pot is very photogenic for such uses — a kilo of pot is BIG (compared to, say, cocaine). At the start of Reagan’s campaign, most of the pot smuggling was done by amateurs, making them easy targets for publicity-seeking federal agents.

            Organized crime LOVED the move. The effect of the action was to remove the cheap competition and raise the street price of pot so that it was competitive with more addictive and more easily controlled (by the mob) alternatives. Kids started buying their dope from truly dangerous sources instead of friends of friends. The result was an explosion in cocaine use (especially in white suburbs).

            Some portion of pot abuse (as opposed to use), along with alcohol and a bevy of more dangerous substances, is self-medication for undiagnosed or untreated emotional disorders. Making pot harder to get primarily moves those abusers from pot to some alternative.

            Meanwhile, if pot was a gateway drug, then we would have had a MASSIVE epidemic of hard drug abuse during the eighties — including by politicians like Mr. Lynch, Mr. Obama, Mr. Clinton, and probably Ed Markey. Literally EVERYBODY in my high school (in a Maryland suburb of Washington DC) and in my college (in Pittsburgh) chose pot over alcohol in the late sixties and early seventies. As far as I can tell, the most harmful effects of that use were the direct result of its criminality.

            As the father of five children (at least two of whom acquired cigarette habits in high-school), I’m far more concerned about controlling the use of cigarettes than marijuana.

            Other than its political benefits, it just doesn’t make sense to treat marijuana the way we do. It appears to me that even those political benefits are rapidly turning the other way — and it’s about time.

          • To be even more fair

            I was using “beer” as shorthand for alcoholic beverages. I did not intend it to be taken as excluding Southern Comfort, or vodka, or whatever your parents had in the house.

          • Not Really Contradictory

            I see your point here but I think the contradiction goes away if I further explain that I do not believe that alcohol is at all a “gateway drug” ? And that the main reason that pot is a “gateway drug” to some extent is that marijuana prohibition means purchasers are introduced to black market dealers of a range of illegal drugs? More generally, I agree with the “is milk a gateway drug?” line of thinking that the entire concept of a “gateway drug” is an uninformative way of thinking and not a legitimate reason to oppose legalization of marijuana. Correlation is not causation.

            • Unfortunately

              Even solid progressives Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey still refuse to take up the call for legalization. Clearly the voters are ready for it, who will be the first to take a plunge?

              • And honestly

                The fact that is is illegal is what attracted so many friends to it, I feel like after college very few people still bother with it, and those that do have a right to in my opinion. Then again I went to U Chicago, we blasted Led Zeppelin but we drank port while smoking cigars and discussing Aquinas and Hobbes.

              • Yes, Unfortunately

                Solid progressives tend to view a public stance in favor of marijuana legilization as poor politics. As progressives and Democrats, they seem to fear being labeled “soft on crime” hippy-lovers. Not entirely ironically, I believe that marijuana legilization will ultimately come about as more and more *conservatives* reach the conclusion that legalization is a way to increase liberty. To that end, it’s worth noting that the only current US Senate candidate willing to support legalization is Republican Dan Winslow who, pretty wisely, as said:

                I disfavor decriminalization of marijuana because it increases demand from illicit sources. Instead, I think we need to legalize marijuana (likely starting with medicinal marijuana in view of the current federal prohibition) and then regulate it and tax it. Only by lawful production of marijuana will the cartels, crooks and drug dealers be put out of business in the US. – State Representative Dan Winslow (R-Norfolk)

              • Count this progressive out!

                Honestly, I don’t understand why the new progressive orthodoxy is to go all libertarian on the idea that doing something harmful, definitely to yourself and possibly to others is OK. I can understand not doing the whole War on Drugs thing and emphasizing treatment over penalty. I’m open to relaxing federal laws to allow states the freedom to handle this their way. I might even be OK with medical usage as an absolute last resort under strict administration and supervision of a doctor over and above the regular prescription process. However, I have yet to see a good reason to affirmatively say that it’s OK for it to be used recreationally. I also find it interesting that the progressive stance seems to be doing something harmful to your body is OK, but God forbid you gamble with your own money that does not cause physical harm.

                • Questionable assumptions

                  I don’t understand why the new progressive orthodoxy is to go all libertarian on the idea that doing something harmful, definitely to yourself and possibly to others is OK.

                  A. There is no such new progressive orthodoxy. Sorry, but you’re not the maverick free-thinker you imagine.
                  B. It’s not a libertarian idea; it’s a personal-freedom idea.
                  C. If your big objection is the “definitely personally harmful” bit, why are you not campaigning for a return of Prohibition of liquor? You’re surely aware of how many people die each year from intoxicated accident, from liver disease, and directly from overdosing on alcohol. The harm you ascribe to marijuana is not just less clear-cut; there is a great deal of debate over whether there is any such harm.

                  • Rather than alcohol...

                    …I think the closer comparison is cigarette smoking. People can drink in moderation and all will be fine, and I understand red wine may even be good for the heart. If I were dictator and thought I could make it stick I’d ban smoking in a heartbeat for all of its personal and public health negatives, but I don’t campaign for it since I know it wouldn’t work and we’ve managed to keep smokers away from the rest of us more and more. If it already were legal I might not clamor to ban it, but since it already is I have no desire whatsoever to legalize another method of lighting up and inhaling garbage.

                    • Not remotely equivalent

                      Tobacco is the most addictive substance you can get without a prescription. Studies have determined that it’s more addictive than heroin; some people become addicted after one cigarette. Most cigarette smokers need to get a fix many times per day. Pot smokers may develop a dependence, but it’s not a physical addiction like tobacco.

                      It’s intuitive to think that putting any kind of smoke in your lungs is going to be bad for them, but

                      A large new government study [2012] has found that smoking marijuana on a regular basis, even over several years, does not impair lung function.

                      Unlike alcohol, it’s practically impossible to take a fatal amount of marijuana. If smoking is the delivery mechanism, you soon get so high that you forget to keep smoking. You could eat it, but you’d have to eat a lot of it – some government sources say 1/3 of your body weight.

                      In strict medical terms marijuana is far safer than many foods we commonly consume. For example, eating ten raw potatoes can result in a toxic response. By comparison, it is physically impossible to eat enough marijuana to induce death.

                      Using pot can certainly contribute to hazardous situations. It is irresponsible to drive while high, just as it’s irresponsible to text while driving, or to try and deal with a lit cigarette you’ve dropped in your lap.

                      Where did all this fear of marijuana come from? Henry J Anslinger: A Vigorous Anti-Marijuana Campaigner. It’s an amazing story. In short, we’ve been fed a pack of lies for 75 years, and they’re still at it.

                    • I find it hard to believe...

                      …that a whole and long-standing policy is entirely the work of one man with an agenda, especially one who has been dead for longer than I have been alive. What do outfits like the American Medical Association, the American Lung Association, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Centers for Disease Control say?

                    • Follow the money

                      The GAs are dependent on funding approved by politicians. The AMA is not a progressive org.

                    • I want their assessment...

                      …without filtering it through ideology. If we start with the attitude of we can’t trust the doctors because we don’t like their ideology we’re just as bad as the anti-science crowd on the right.

                    • They have been prohibited from doing any research

                      I fear your naivete is showing.

                      It has been illegal to even conduct studies using marijuana. Funding for research has never been available. The government has insisted, for decades, that marijuana is so incredibly dangerous that it can’t even be studied. In the hysteria of the time, even hemp was made illegal (hemp had been a staple of US industry).

                      The opposition to marijuana has always been grounded in hysteria.

                    • For crying out loud!

                      If we can’t do research then neither side can back up their arguments very well. Where do people who claim it has medical benefits come up with that if they haven’t been researched? How do we know that harder illegal substances are dangerous if being illegal means you can’t even study it. I disagree with that restriction if it’s true. Between kirth’s claim that money trumps professionalism and your claim that you can’t even study yet you’re sure it’s OK it seems y’all have quite a conspiracy theory going!

                • Sometimes the cure is worse than the "disease"

                  While we live in a society that crumbles around us because we “can’t afford” to sustainably fund federal, state, or local government, and while we simultaneously live in a society that encourages the aggressive marketing and sale of far more dangerous materials (especially to young people), and while we can’t find a way to keep gunpowder, guns, and ammunition away from crazies and criminals, I honestly do not understand how we can then defend devoting precious government resources towards restricting marijuana and its derivatives.

                  Among other things, I think that legalizing marijuana provides substantial economic growth (especially in rural areas), creates jobs, and provides potentially significant tax revenue — all while reducing rather than increasing whatever harmful effects are associated with the substance.

                  I would hope that the differences between government sponsorship of predatory gambling and allowing marijuana are transparently obvious, but apparently they aren’t. Let me therefore offer a few specifics:

                  1. Nobody is proposing that the government be in the marijuana production and distribution business.

                  2. Marijuana is potentially a viable crop (and source of tax revenue) across most of the nation — including Massachusetts. The state of California, in the midst of an extreme fiscal crisis, could net an enormous increase in tax revenue and economic growth if one of its largest cash crops were legal. Here in Massachusetts, where the “buy local” movement is thriving, legalizing marijuana could bring far more economic growth — especially to western MA — than anything contemplated from casinos, slots, and the lottery. I welcome the prospect of the state of New Hampshire scrambling to find a way to compete with such a move — geography and economics combine to provide a significant advantage to Massachusetts, especially in comparison to alcohol, tobacco, and gambling revenue.

                  3. Legalizing marijuana works to reduce, rather than increase, the harmful effects of its abuse — unlike the proposed gambling legislation. It is hard to imagine the marijuana counterpart to the sorry spectacle of down-and-out residents crowding convenience stores and Keno parlors to throw away their already meager share of the state’s wealth. Legalized marijuana invites the creation of an entire agricultural industry spread across the state, as opposed to the construction of a handful of highly-coveted (and easily controlled) sites in already-challenged neighborhoods.

                  Finally, there is nothing “new” about this “progressive orthodoxy” or about the libertarian component of the Democratic view of the world. I think that keeping marijuana illegal has more in common with government efforts to impede sexual freedom than in gambling.

                  I think my right to pursue my happiness using marijuana is comparable to my right to have sex with any consenting adult I choose. Yes, of course there are risks associated with irresponsible exercise of those rights. I think the evidence shows that the motives of interfering with each have more to do with prudery than any objective standard of societal harm.

                  • Economic arguments aren't all that persuasive...

                    …when public health is at stake.

                    • "Public health" IS an economic argument

                      The argument for intrusive public health measures — flouridation, seatbelt laws, helmet laws, etc. — IS an economic argument. The (correct) assertion is that the collective cost to society of the targeted behavior justifies the limitation of that particular behavior.

                      In the case of marijuana, this is compounded by the reality that there is no “public health” argument against marijuana — at least in comparison to the long list of far worse substances that are both legal and aggressively marketed. Prudes made similar “public health” arguments against sodomy and homosexuality for decades — the arguments against marijuana are no better supported.

                      In my view, unsubstantiated appeals to undocumented “public health” concerns aren’t all that persuasive when fundamental rights such as the pursuit of happiness are at stake.

    • Lynch will further degrade the Senate

      Calling a colleague a liar on a televised debate
      Saying “your side skirts decency issues.”
      Telling bald face lies about colleague’s votes
      Telling bald face lies about what’s in bills
      Telling bald face lies because that suits his debate style
      Lynch is a repub-thug and we don’t need any more of them. We need fewer of them.
      BTW, when did Lynch first mention the public option for health care?

      • Methinks that this is a bit over the top

        It’s perfectly possible for people to make mistakes, particularly under the stress of a campaign, a debate, hot lights, television, etc. That’s why using words like “liar” are frowned upon, and rightly so. Frowned upon when Lynch reportedly did it last night (I didn’t see the debate), and frowned upon when you did it on this thread.

        Just my two cents.

        • It happens to be true in this case

          Background on Lynch’s comment: Lynch has hit Markey for months for voting in favor of TARP. Markey says he had to vote yes or the entire financial system would collapse, and the economy with it. Paul Krugman, who hated the idea of a bailout, agrees with that. Lynch says Markey voted to screw the taxpayer and help “his buddies on Wall Street.”

          Then, last night, Lynch said NAFTA had killed Western Mass. as well as the Framingham area, where he worked at the GM plant at one time. Markey said, hey, if he’s so big on auto jobs, why’d he vote against the TARP that bailed out the automakers? (See my comment above for details on that.) Lynch said, “I don’t want to call you a liar…but you are.”

          This is the same guy who spent the last two nights claiming Markey’s votes against port security bills, etc., mean he’s “so far out on the left” (quote from last night) that he’s soft on terrorism. It took me about 2 minutes to find press accounts that Markey voted “no” because there was no screening for nuclear bombs. Lynch’s people either didn’t check or knew damn well it was a lie. Either is inexcusable in a Democratic primary.

          Last night Lynch said Markey and his “side” lacked “basic decency” for failing to vote for a resolution offering condolences to 9/11 victims. Markey correctly pointed out, it went on to say Al Qaeda was in Iraq and we should go in there to bring “justice” to the 9/11 terrorists. Lynch and Lieberman were the only two New England Democrats who voted for that pile of lies.

          He said on Monday that Markey’s the one who tried to overturn Roe v. Wade. In the mid-1970s. Lynch had a NARAL score in the 50s just three years ago. He said he voted against the ACA because it had no cost control and gives patients over to the private insurance companies. The antidote to that was a public option. Which he opposed.

          Lynch’s misrepresentations have been legion. Markey calling him out on TARP wouldn’t even crack the top five in Lynch’s parade of bullshit. Now Lynch is trying to exploit last week’s tragedy by smearing Markey falsely. It’s truly appalling.

          • this part galls me most

            He said on Monday that Markey’s the one who tried to overturn Roe v. Wade. In the mid-1970s. Lynch had a NARAL score in the 50s just three years ago. He said he voted against the ACA because it had no cost control and gives patients over to the private insurance companies. The antidote to that was a public option. Which he opposed.

            Again, I’d be willing to hold my nose for a pro-life Democrat if they cooperate with the President and his nominees in the Senate. Sen. Casey (D-PA) is staunchly pro-life, but has focused his efforts in that arena on reducing abortion rather than outlawing it, and has not tampered with the Presidents nominees. Lynch could have chosen to do that, he could have chosen to say we could not afford a public option and he felt the ACA was a private insurance giveaway, and he wanted to go back to the drawing board when the economy improved. He could have said these things and articulated a consistent, moderately conservative but still Democratic position. He refused. Instead he lies about Markey’s record while hiding his own. Despicable. I am cautiously optimistic Markey can pull it off, and if he does, I am hoping we can ready a primary challenger against Lynch. Anyone on here live in his district?

          • I don't doubt misrepresentation

            I merely opined that using the word “liar” is, oftentimes, a bad rhetorical choice of words. It might be a technically correct choice, or it might be one of a few possibilities (i.e. “Lynch’s people either didn’t check or knew damn well it was a lie. “), it might be a mistaken statement, it might be a misunderstanding. Could be lots of things which are problematic but don’t suggest the same malevolent intention of lying.

            Again, just my two cents.

            • Understood

              But there’s a whole laundry list of things he’s twisted. Even if it’s true that Ed Markey called for overturning Roe v. Wade in 1976, Lynch knows his record since 1981 has been the exact opposite. He still repeats his charge for months on end. That, to me, is close enough to a lie.

              I also see a big difference between private citizens calling a Congressman a liar based on a number of things being twisted, and one Democratic Congressman calling another one that a week before a Democratic primary. Lynch has been playing fast and loose with the truth for months, but things remained fairly civil. Trailing in the polls with a week left, out comes the nasty.

  5. very well done Fenway49.

    I wish every debate summary was this excellent an admixture of concision and explication. You have set a new bar here.

    • Thanks

      It occurs to me I spent much of two years taking copious notes by computer at witness interviews in a giant legal proceeding, then writing reports on those interviews based on my notes. I just typed what they said as fast as I could, then had to take some time fixing the 2 million or so typos and making it remotely coherent.

  6. I just got a long

    very irritating robocall from Lynch. It took about 30 seconds before they mentioned Lynch’s name. The guy’s desperate.

    • What was the gist

      of the call?

      • A lot of crap about how hard

        I (the caller) works, something about the marathon bombing, and Steve Lynch is just like me. I usually screen 800 number calls, but decided to answer. After I answered it, it took forever to figure out what the call was about.

        This AM there were national security commercials by both Democratic candidates. Lynch was pure pandering, thanking the many people who worked or helped after the bombing. Remember Scott Brown “from the road” thanking some old veteran for his service? Who left these guys in charge of thanking people? Markey actually had a testimonial from someone at Logan talking about him visiting after 9/11 and what legislation he supported. I liked that better.

  7. In fairness to Lynch on the pot issue...

    Although I’m for the legalization of medical marijuana, I think Lynch is sincere in his position against it. By all accounts he was an alcoholic who cleaned up his life and has been a tireless advocate for addiction treatment.

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Tue 28 Mar 6:03 AM