Competing holiday greetings from Massachusetts Republicans

If your inbox is anything like mine, it’s chock full of Christmas/holiday/end-of-year greetings from political types.  I’m particularly interested in two that arrived today: one from Kirsten Hughes, the chair of the Massachusetts Republican party, and the other from Charlie Baker, the all-but-certain GOP nominee for Mass. Governor.

Here are the highlights of the Hughes email.

From: Kirsten Hughes <>
Subject: Merry Christmas!
Date: December 23, 2013 10:13:41 AM EST
Reply-To: Kirsten Hughes <>


Christmas is upon us and in just a few days, we will greet the New Year. The end of a year allows us to look back on everything that has been accomplished and gives us the opportunity to gather our strength to meet the challenges of the coming New Year.

[There follows a necessarily short list of Mass. GOP highlights from 2013. The email then continues:]

With your help and support we have the opportunity to make 2014 a monumental year for our Party.


Through this holiday season, let us not forget to reflect on the true meaning of the season—God’s priceless gift of His Son.

Goodness.  Of course there’s nothing wrong with wishing people a merry Christmas, as opposed to “happy holidays” – why, I do it all the time.  But to have a party hack piously instruct on the “true meaning of the season” in the most sectarian terms in an email sent to a list that surely numbers in the thousands … well, let’s just say that doesn’t strike me as a recipe for electoral success going forward.  Plus, to lurch from text and images that link to the Mass. GOP’s “donate” page, thereby pretty much asking you to make a cash gift, immediately to the bit about “God’s priceless gift of His Son” is, shall we say, a less-than-elegant transition.  It’s almost as if Hughes wants you to feel bad about being so worldly as to give money to something so crass as a political party, when the “true meaning of the season” actually has nothing to do with money or politics … and yet, that surely is not at all what she wants.

Baker’s email is worlds apart.  It’s very personal, and actually rather moving.  Here are some highlights.

 From: Charlie Baker <>
Subject: Make Every Day Count
Date: December 23, 2013 2:00:45 PM EST
Reply-To: Charlie Baker <>

This time of year is special. It’s a celebration of faith, a turning of the page to a new year, and a time of charity and good cheer. While it’s all of that for the Bakers, it is fundamentally about family for us. And this year, it’s especially about my mom.

She was born on December 24th, 1932 in Rochester, MN, and as far as I can tell, her birthday – landing the day before Christmas – was never a very big deal when she was growing up. She told me when I was about 15 that she didn’t really care – “I care more about what happens on the other 364 days of the year.”

[There follows some history about Baker's mother's birthday celebrations over the years.]

Over time, my dad’s health remained quite good, and my mom’s began to fail. We all knew this would happen. Dad comes from a long line of men and women who live forever, and mom comes from a family in which Alzheimer’s is a virtual certainty. And my dad – the guy who couldn’t warm up a coffee cake when we were kids – became a terrific caregiver for my mom.

But my parents never worried much. They were brought up to believe that attitude is everything, and as my grandfather used to say to me, “You have to play the hand you’re dealt, son. That’s the way life works.”

And so they played the hand.

My mom turns 81 tomorrow. Last year, we celebrated her 80th birthday at our house, with a big crowd of her most ardent fans. And while it was clear that she was struggling with her disease, she enjoyed the day immensely, and so did we.

This year, my mom will not be joining us to celebrate. The disease, as brutal and relentless as anything I can ever imagine, has made it impossible for her to travel.

So this year, as we gather to celebrate family, we’ll do so with the clear understanding that mom was right all along – it really is about the other 364 days of the year. And our family will renew our commitment to make every one of them count. To those you love, they all matter.

Happy Holidays – Charlie Baker

I don’t expect to vote for Charlie Baker.  But this strikes me as an extremely well done end-of-year letter from a candidate for office.  It tells us something we didn’t know before about the candidate (at least, I didn’t); it tells a story that we can all relate to; and, not incidentally, it helps to humanize Charlie Baker – something that was sorely lacking in his campaign of four years ago.  Also, interestingly, there’s no “donate” link or request for contributions.

So, good job Charlie.


39 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. Two thoughts: one snarky, one profound

    The snarky one: While the party that defends mainstream values would clearly want to exclude atheists, non believers, and infidels I am shocked they would forget the Jews. Even Sarah Palin had a menorah this year! How can we expect them to maintain their commitment to Israel if they refuse to acknowledge that the temple has to be rebuilt in order for the messiah to come?!

    The second thought:

    Prayers are with Mr. Baker and his family. I hope he continues the legacy of Gov. Cellucci in ensuring that these diseases get the research funding and grants that the need. over the summer I attended a wedding of a good friend and saw her walk down the aisle without her father whom she lost to Alzheimer’s earlier in the year. My uncle lost a long term girlfriend who was struck at a very young age (in her 30s) and we saw her decline until she passed. It’s a devastating disease and one that needs all the research funding it can get.

    Two different reactions to two strikingly different posts.

    • Apparently I'm not on the right email list.

      Did the Mass GOP wish you a Happy Hanukkah at the appropriate time? Since that and Christmas aren’t remotely close to each other this year, it seems fitting to drop any pretense to there being holidays. Happy holidays would have been more fitting around Thanksgiving.

      • Bill O'Reilly made precisely that point

        However, holidays do include New Years too. Checking my calendar, I see that this year, at least, it comes after Christmas.

        • Still tone deaf towards Jews

          Again, I understand the need by our friends on the right to exclude heathens, schismatics and atheists-but she certainly kept the ‘Jew’ out of Judeo-Christian with that statement. It’s not a good day when Palin is more
          Inclusive than the MA GOP…

          • The email was dated December 23rd...

            …and especially with Hannakuh well behind us Merry Christmas is appropriate. Just because you mention one holiday doesn’t mean you exclude others. Besides, Hannakuh is a rather minor holiday in the Jewish tradition. They do not see it as equivalent to Christmas.

            • And

              Through this holiday season, let us not forget to reflect on the true meaning of the season—God’s priceless gift of His Son.

              Seems to exclude everyone who doesn’t believe in His Son from the Republicans good wishes this holiday season-and that includes a sizable number of Jews. Anyway, I was being snarky.

      • I checked my inbox,

        and I didn’t get anything from Ms. Hughes around any of the Jewish holidays. I did get a Thanksgiving message, and one at July 4th.

      • Erm...

        Kwanzaa? New Years? Boxing Day?

        Heck, for me as a red blooded Eyetalian American, Christmas Eve is my favorite holiday.

  2. I would be curious to know if Coakley or Grossman sent out holiday wishes

    How about the MA Democrat Committee, anything, anything at all?

    • I heard there were a lot of meetings regarding the War On Christmas that all Democrats have to attend.

      • NY school removes God, Christ, Jesus from 'Silent Night' so as not to "offend" anyone

        And to be more “open” and “tollerant”. I don’t know who the geniuses are at this school district but they have no commonsense. Why bother changing the words to a song to be more PC. Just sing ‘Jingle Bells’ and call it a day or better, just don’t sing anything.’s-“silent-night”-lyrics-switcheroo-213621967.html

        • that was item 4 on the meeting agenda ...

          First NY .. then the world!!!!!

        • to be clear...

          NY school removes God, Christ, Jesus from ‘Silent Night’ so as not to “offend” anyone

          … this would be far less of a problem if the professionally offended did not run/rule the airwaves and hold states hostage, as well as occupy the HoR. It’s a little hard to register shock against the NY school when Fox news, all the Murdoch print that gives you fits, John Boehner and the Tea Party whoo-has and every GOP governmor make a great deal of hay outta being offended that white hegemony ain’t what it used to be.

          Being offended is, frankly, the coin of your realm also.

          • SOO Petr, you are okay with what the NY school did by butchering 'Silent Night'

            I am use to the fog bank rolling in when reading KBusch, but not you. But you seem to imply the NY public school is justified in what the did b/c Fox News is #1 in cable TV and liberals tank when they try to have a show on radio and Duck Dynasty is #1 cable show. We will leave out CBS, NBC, ABC. and the dinosaur media like NY Times who are far-left.

            • Yes, I'm ok with it

              The revised version is preferable to the traditional hymn in a public school setting. The alternative is not to sing the hymn at all, which is also fine with me.

              • Here's an idea

                You could give us all a Silent Night right now Dan and leave BMG this Christmas Eve. You’re future silent protests have my full support. Until then-me think the lady doth protest too much.

                • JC- all you need is 24 others to agree with you

                  BMG has thousands of members, muster up 24 more and I will go on a six month hiatus. Then you and the other 24 can BAAAH….BAAAH all you want to each other.

                  Heck, you can even criticize Charlie Baker for using Grant Anticipation Notes as a funding mechanism and ignore the fact Deval and Grossman have done the same thing.

                • Who gets to heaven?

                  On another thread, DFW speculated on whether “homosexuals” got to heaven or not. Perhaps he can do some direct investigation and come back (or attempt to come back) and report to us.

                  That way, he’d be haunting us more informatively.

                  • Fog is thick and heavy here, blare the horns

                    The speculation was what Phil from Duck Dynasty would believe and if it would match up in a similar fashion to Pope Francis and his belief if homosexuals would go to Heaven, based on what The Bible says.

                    But please forgive her for she got burned by misreading a graph and now deliberately misinterprets a comment I made.

              • See johnk, read Tom who concurs with what NY did to the sacred song Silent Night

                Which, without looking it up, was sung together by fighting armies in Europe, where they laid down their arms to celebrate Christmas.

                I find what NY did reprehensible and a disgrace. But I forgive them, these same people likely can’t change a tire or fix a leaky faucet.

              • Then don't sing it.

                Even churches revise their hymns for more inclusive language, which bugs me especially at Christmas. Personally I prefer celebrating everything to celebrating nothing. I think holiday concerts should include songs from various traditions just as they are.

                • That's a big pet peeve of mine

                  Presumably if you’re in a Church during a Christian service you are there to worship Christ. I really hate when old school hymns are toyed with either to be more PC or to simplify the language. I hate the removal of masculine pronouns for God-obviously the Incarnation is what gives God the “he”.

                  • And they're all by MY guy!

                    Charles Wesley wrote ‘Hark, the Herald Angels Sing’ (Born to raise the sons of Earth..), Christ the Lord is Risen Today (Sons of Men and Angels say…) , and many others subjected to PC revision.

                    I solve this problem by not using a hymnal, since I know all the words anyways, and signing the original words.

            • less disgust is not more affirmation...

              But you seem to imply the NY public school is justified in what the did b/c Fox News is #1 in cable TV.

              I imply no such thing. You’re inability to read is not a lack of articulation on my part.

              I merely stated forthrightly, honestly and completely without guile or artifice of any kind that it is hard to get excorcised about whatever NY Schools do when the professionally offended, including yourself, are so ubiquitous and so obtrusively a part of my world in a way no NY school yet has been.

              • And I will further state...

                … that if the Republican leadership, Rupert Murdoch and every last GOP governor had more shame and stopped acting as if stupidity were a virtue the NY Schools might then be less encouraged to worry about offense giving and less wary of offense taking and get down to the real business of education.

                Or, put another way, you, dan, are a bald hypocrite from waltham, for your hysterical hanky waving at the NY Schools fear of giving offense and your encomium for the daily, highly paid, purveyors of hyper-offended high moral dudgeon.

                Once again, you cannot have it both ways: you cannot support the blood sport of hypersensitive offense taking and then condemn those who dislike the sight of blood for not wanting to play.

                • Off the mark petr, it's the PC crowd wants Phil off the air and the lyrics of 'Silent Night' twisted to mean nothing

                  I support Phil’s right to say what he believes The Gospel says about sin, and let the audience decide if his show is cancelled, not GLAAD or the Thought Police, and I believe in not changing the words of ‘Silent Night’ sung by a middle school. If the teachers of that school thought the words were too religious, then one would think the song should have been removed, as Christopher and I suggested. Those at the NY school who knew the words were changed and thought nothing of it, well, I wouldn’t have them change a light bulb, let alone, teach my kids.

                  • If Phil believes...

                    …the Gospel says that homosexuality is a sin then he is objectively wrong. The Gospels do not address it – period. You can make your argument from Leviticus or the Pauline letters, but if you insist on citing the Bible, at least do it accurately.

                  • Putting the racist back in redneck

                    ‘Duck Dynasty’: Putting the Racist Back in Redneck

                    While his homophobic views are rooted in his religion, his racist views are rooted, well, in his racism. In the category of the way things ought to be, Robertson waxes nostalgic about the “pre-entitlement, pre-welfare” South where godly black folks never said a mumbling word but sang happy songs all the day long. The 67-year-old Robertson, born into a segregated society, would have come of age in the heat of the civil rights movement. Yet, he claims he never saw a black person mistreated in his northeast Louisiana community. In the same breath, he recounts how in his farming town, “the blacks worked for the farmers.” He saw no mistreatment in the fact that there were no black farmers, only black workers. He saw no mistreatment in separate and unequal schools, bathrooms, buses, parks, swimming pools and churches. He saw no mistreatment in all-white elections, juries and governments. Racism can never exist if we simply refuse to see it.

              • Disgust

                A primitive marker for what is right and wrong, for what God does and does not approve of has historically been disgust. There’s a fair bit of new research into disgust. Haidt, in The Righteous Mind, points out that disgust plays a larger role in conservative ethics than liberal ethics. (Conservatives look more for the sacred, liberals more for the universal.)

                To liberals, arguments from disgust always seem kind of stupid. In that light, inter-racial marriages used to evoke disgust. That suggests that disgust is something to overcome or to at least approach skeptically.

                • How about...

                  …How about disgust for that Neanderthalian species also known as the Tea Party Republican? Are liberals allowed to indulge into that, or should they be smothered with neighborly love also?

                  Liberals, progressives, conservatives, tea partiers. All big brush strokes, all most primitive markers.

                  Dr. Johnson once said that patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels. How would we rephrase that, replacing patriotism with liberalism, conservatism or the latest -ism of the day?

                  • Incoherent

                    I have no idea what you are saying. Perhaps meaning wasn’t your aim.

                    For example the answer to “Are liberals allowed to indulge into that, or should they be smothered with neighborly love also?” is obviously yes because of the First Amendment. But that’s not a very interesting observation.

    • I received snail-mail cards...

      …from Martha Coakley and Deb Goldberg.

  3. Being a nicer sounding guy

    doesn’t change the impact of his political and fiscal beliefs. I heard them in the last campaign through his petulant, national Republican voice, and that’s why I didn’t vote for him. Nothing has changed this time. As for the state party hack, they just don’t get it. People don’t like the knee-jerk, reflexive political speak every time they open their mouths. Sometimes a greeting of Merry Christmas just needs to be responded by thank you, and the same to you, not a lecture with political spin.

  4. In other news...

    In other news, Lucius Domitius Aurelianus is wishing you all had a Happy Saturnalia. Some folks up here in the bitter cold North still celebrate the Sun God, Sol Invictus, and hope he will bless us with Spring as soon as meteorogically possible.

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Wed 16 Apr 3:44 AM