Sorry Charlie

Charlie Baker had a rough night last night.  He was giving a speech at an event billed as “the 10th Annual Boston Spirit LGBT Executive Networking Night,” and he found himself unprepared for, and unable to handle, the attendees’ displeasure with his unwillingness to commit to, well, much of anything with respect to the transgender rights bill now under consideration in the legislature.  Here’s how his speech ended.

#awkward

Since his disastrous 2010 campaign for governor, Baker has generally done a good job of hiding the fact that he can be a pretty short-tempered guy who doesn’t handle criticism particularly well.  That public façade started to crack for real last night (here’s another, milder example of cracks starting to show).  Should be interesting to see where he goes from here.

Joe Boncore wins 1st Suffolk and Middlesex Special

A pity. Comment from progressivemax: "As you alluded to, this election is only temporary. One of the Progressives can run again in the General Primary Election on Thursday (yes Thursday) September 8th. Hopefully only one Progressive will run, preventing a split vote. It still will be a tough race since Rizzo’s votes are more likely to go to Boncore, than a progressive." - promoted by Bob_Neer

Per Politico’s Lauren Dezenski

Boncore 4019
Rizzo 3620
Livingstone 2803
Edwards 2363
Hwang 2092

Progressive women of color are batting 0-3 in special elections, as yours truly predicted.

Rizzo’s campaign allegedly distributed transphobic mailers attacking Livingstone, who had been making inroads in Revere. Boncore’s campaign disavowed similar mailers attributed to them. Either way, a nasty race with transphobic undertones.

Not a good night for the Mass Democratic Party in my opinion. Boncore’s dad is a Winthrop City Councilor and close friend of Speaker Robert DeLeo, who was officially neutral in this race. Congratulations State Senator elect Joe Boncore, seeing as there are no general election opponents in the May 10th general or (as of yet) in November. The job is yours!

The Conservative Wing of the State Republican Party Is Not Going Away Without (Another) Fight

While Globe reporter Andrew Ryan was in church on Sunday, someone left this leaflet opposing the transgender public accommodations bill that is pending in the state Legislature on his car.

Authorship of the leaflet was claimed by a group called “Renew MA Coalition.” You can learn more about the coalition on its Facebook page, which features a photograph of Presidential candidate Ted Cruz and conservative State Rep. Jim Lyons flanking Chanel Prunier, the former Republican national committeewoman from Massachusetts. Prunier was turned out of office last week in a very close election by Gov. Baker’s choice, State Rep. Keiko Orrall. Orrall’s victory capped the Governor’s largely successful effort to replace socially conservative members of the state Republican committee with moderates more in line with Baker’s views. Those views include support for gay marriage, but so far at least, do not include support for the transgender public accommodations bill.

As the Governor continues to face considerable pressure to endorse the bill (his failure to do so caused the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce to uninvite him to an event later this month at which he was originally to be honored), the conservative wing of his party continues to hold firm to its abiding opposition to rights for transgender persons.

Transparency in the House of Representatives: "If it's good for the Goose..."

Bumped, because we had the scoop. The new edition of Commonwealth Magazine, out today, features a story about House Speaker Bob Deleo's vise-like grip on that chamber, with a lengthy for instance detailing how a Republican amendment cutting back on a bill to reduce civil penalties for drug convictions came to be adopted with no debate whatsoever. BlueMassGroup hates to brag, but we had that story a month ago. Plus, our story included the video. - promoted by hesterprynne

The editorial boards of both the Herald and the Globe are calling on the Legislature to repeal a misguided 1989 law that revokes the driver’s license of anyone who is convicted of a drug offense and imposes a $500 fee to reinstate a license after the suspension time (one to five years) has been served.  The law was conceived in the fond hope that it would deter drug use. Thirty years later, we know that it doesn’t, and what’s worse, it steers those with drug convictions back toward recidivism by adding to the re-entry obstacles they face.  

Last September the Senate passed a bill to repeal the law, and in January the House approved part of that bill. Both editorial boards greatly prefer the Senate version. The Senate repealed the license suspension law in its entirely. The House, on the other hand, kept the license suspension law for some drug trafficking crimes — it adopted an amendment to that effect that had been filed by a group of seven Republican representatives. One of those Republican representatives, State Rep. James Lyons of Andover, told the Globe that license suspensions should continue to be imposed on “thugs who are selling drugs to our family members.” The Globe disagreed with him, dismissing his argument as “a tough-on-crime sentiment that harks back to the original, 1980s-vintage view that led to the failed law.” The Herald, often a Lyons fan, parted ways with him on this issue and urged the House to agree to the Senate in conference committee negotiations on the bill.  

For those not familiar with Rep. Lyons, he’s the Massachusetts chairman of the Cruz for President Committee,  his legislative priorities include reducing the state income and sales taxes and requiring the Legislature to comply with the public records law in order to end the practice of lawmaking by backroom deal outside of public view.

You may be curious how Rep Lyons and his six colleagues succeeded in keeping a portion of the license suspension law in place. It has something to do with lawmaking by backroom deal outside of public view.

Joke Revue: No One in Nation Notices Total Disappearance of Chris Christie

Bumped, for laughs. - promoted by Bob_Neer

Borowitz:

No One in Nation Notices Total Disappearance of Chris Christie

TRENTON (The Borowitz Report)—No one in the United States has taken note of the total disappearance of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who vanished from view several weeks ago.

In interviews with residents across the country, few if any Americans displayed interest in, or concern about, the whereabouts of Christie, who, until he disappeared, had been a once-prominent political figure.

“I hadn’t really thought about him until you mentioned it,” said Trenton resident Carol Foyler, echoing the opinions of many others in the Garden State.

“Huh,” she added.

Tracy Klugian, a resident of Teaneck, said that it took him a moment to remember who Christie was, but then acknowledged that it was “kind of weird” that he had disappeared.

“I mean, he used to be here and now he’s not,” he said. “Whatever.”

At the University of Minnesota, the historian Davis Logsdon said it was “highly unusual” for a governor of such a major state to simply drop off the radar without anyone noticing.

“Chris Christie’s disappearance raises a whole host of questions,” he said. “Where did he go? When did he leave? Does he plan to come back? To be honest with you, I don’t care.”

Efforts to contact Governor Christie for this article were not made.

Onion:

Trump Catches Self Briefly Believing Own Campaign Rhetoric: ‘Whoa, That Was Scary For A Second There,’ Says Candidate

BETHPAGE, NY—Admitting that he was overcome with terror after realizing what he had done, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump told reporters he caught himself briefly believing his own campaign rhetoric during a rally Wednesday night. “Oh, Jesus, for a few seconds there I actually found myself agreeing on a deep, personal level with the things I was saying—what the hell was I thinking?” said the shaken GOP frontrunner, recalling with horror that, right in the middle of his speech, he started to readily accept his vows that he would unite the country, force Mexico to finance the construction of a border wall, and eradicate ISIS. “Wow, I’m not sure how I started buying into that load of bullshit about other countries starting to respect the U.S. if I become president. That’s just so clearly ridiculous. I’ve got to be on my toes a little more and make sure this never happens again.” Trump also reportedly expressed serious concern that many of his supporters appeared to believe him when he said he would act more presidential if elected.

Daniel Kurtzman:

“We have New Jersey governor Chris Christie on the show tonight, which means right now, Donald Trump is unlocking his basement going, ‘Oh, no, he escaped.’” –Jimmy Fallon

“In an interview, Spike Lee said that Bernie Sanders’ campaign song should be ‘Brooklyn’s in the House.’ Today, Bernie Sanders said, ‘I don’t know who this ‘Spike Lee’ is, but I hope he can deliver the Asian vote.’” –Conan O’Brien

“Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have scheduled a debate for next Thursday in Brooklyn. Which is about as close as Bernie Sanders can get to Wall Street without spontaneously combusting.” –Seth Meyers

“Donald Trump is polling so badly with women that at a rally last night, he had his wife, Melania, introduce him. Because if there’s one thing that’s guaranteed to get American women on your side, it’s a foreign model who’s married to a billionaire and never has to work.” –Conan O’Brien

“Donald Trump told The Washington Post that he’ll be able to get the United States completely out of debt in eight years. When asked how, Trump was like, ‘Easy, declare bankruptcy and start fresh! It’s fantastic. I’ve done it already. It’s amazing.’” –Jimmy Fallon

“Bernie Sanders said today that none of the ideas he’s proposed in his campaign are radical or unrealistic other than, of course, the idea of a 74-year-old Jewish president with a $2 haircut.” –Seth Meyers

“I saw that Jeb Bush is going back to giving speeches after his failed run for the Republican nomination. He’s actually a very talented motivational speaker, because after you listen to his life story, you feel great about yourself.” –Jimmy Fallon

“An STD clinic in Los Angeles is copying Bernie Sanders’ campaign slogan to advertise its testing services. ‘Feel the burn? Freestdtest.org.’ Makes sense because just like STDs, Bernie’s campaign is super popular on college campuses.” –Jimmy Fallon

“Donald Trump met with the Republican National Committee today. I wish I could have been a part of that meeting. Like Dr. Frankenstein meeting with his monster.” –Jimmy Kimmel

I will be an alternate delegate for Bernie in CD6

Kudos! - promoted by Bob_Neer

The Bernie Caucus was held in Newburyport yesterday April 9th with over 20 candidates vying for 5 positions(2 women delegates, 2 male delegates, and 1 male alternate delegate). There were 2 slates from Essex County running, and I was a single delegate seeker from Middlesex County.

Sixteen men were seeking the 3 male slots. After the 2 male full delegates were chosen, after 3 ballots(Tristan Whitehouse, and James Thompson), this left 14 left to compete for the one alternate delegate. Only 4 decided to continue. On the third ballot I prevailed with the help of the 8 people from the Reading Town Committee, and 107 other caucus attendees I had only recently met, or did not know at all.

The women delegates who won, also on the 3rd ballot, were Nancy Weinberg and Audry Proctor, also from Essex County.

To say the least, I am thrilled, after campaigning by grass roots on my own. I also appreciated the moral support I received from BMG’ers, and my own Town Committee Members who could not attend.

There was some controversy that fortunately was settled through the voting process, and the stellar job Marianne Rutter, Chair of the Boxford Democratic Town Committee, who calmly explained and reexplained the Democratic State Committee Rules, and made things run smoothly. The doors opened at 11:30am at the Newburyport City Hall, and drew to a conclusion shortly before 6pm.

The controversies were mainly on two issues.

Apparently since Hillary’s Caucus in the 6th was uncontested, and settled, there was some urging for Hillary’s supporters to travel to Newburyport, and vote for someone there. At first, early in my rounds to Town Committees, I thought this was OK, actually from statements, from the uncontested delegates themselves, but then I found out that caucus voters take a pledge that they support Bernie Sanders. I quickly abandoned that road. None of my support came from such caucus goers, and I am grateful for that. Quite frankly I think the pangs of conscious of breaking the rules took care of that issue. Still some attendees thought this hanky panky persisted, and interrupted some speakers with their displeasure.

The second controversy was from a small group who did not succeed with their rhetoric of do or die for Bernie. I did not vote for anyone from this group. They show up here or there, and are not in sync with Bernie’s strong assertion that he will support and work for the Democratic nominee.

So it was a day of real American politics, mostly good and a little bad. However I feel the winning delegates will perform their responsibilities as they should. I know I will.

Thanks again who all had a part in giving me this once in a lifetime opportunity.

Globe goes all-in on anti-Trump editorial

Impressive work, for its content, and for its remarkable use of the Internet to distribute an innovative way to make an editorial point (“The GOP must stop Trump”), from the newspaper currently being lionized around the world for its pathbreaking work uncovering the Catholic church’s child sex abuse scandal in the Hub. A front page in Trump’s America.

RIP Barbara Anderson

One of the most influential non-politicians in Massachusetts political life passed away yesterday.  I can’t say that I agreed with her often.  But nobody can doubt her commitment to her cause, or her effectiveness.  Condolences to her colleagues, friends, and family.

UPDATED: Clinton and Sanders Caucus Results Open Thread

Happening today! - promoted by david

Following a long standing tradition here on BMG here is an open thread for people to use to post caucus results. There will be eighteen caucuses around the state today. In each Congressional District there will be a caucus to elect Clinton delegates and a caucus to elect Sanders delegates.

Voting in a presidential primary caucus is an interesting experience for anyone who takes part.  It is a great opportunity to network and meet political junkies from throughout your Congressional District.  If you are helping on a campaign, it is a fine place for signature collection since everyone is registered as Democrats.

WHAT TO EXPECT

Just a reminder that your vote at the caucus doesn’t change the number of delegates for either candidate, but simply determines which supporters go to Philadelphia.

Krugman dispatches Sanders

Another week, another icon of the left disses the Democratic Socialist.

What I think has happened here is that Sanders decided that he might actually win the nomination and went negative — “unqualified!” (an absurd, even insulting, and arguably sexist, claim on its face, but more to the point, if true, why wait until now to make it) — to try to close the deal. A bad choice, I’d say. First, he probably won’t win the nomination no matter what he does because Clinton has the lead and will probably do well in the states with the most delegates. Second, he has such significant weaknesses himself — some of which Barney Frank and Paul Krugman have explained — that any effort to bring the campaign down will wind up hurting him more than his rival. A better strategy would have been to try to keep riding the kindly Vermont grandfather wave and hope to beat expectations in New York, California and the other big prizes. NYT:

But in any case, the way Mr. Sanders is now campaigning raises serious character and values issues.

It’s one thing for the Sanders campaign to point to Hillary Clinton’s Wall Street connections, which are real, although the question should be whether they have distorted her positions, a case the campaign has never even tried to make. But recent attacks on Mrs. Clinton as a tool of the fossil fuel industry are just plain dishonest, and speak of a campaign that has lost its ethical moorings.

And then there was Wednesday’s rant about how Mrs. Clinton is not “qualified” to be president.

What probably set that off was a recent interview of Mr. Sanders by The Daily News, in which he repeatedly seemed unable to respond when pressed to go beyond his usual slogans. Mrs. Clinton, asked about that interview, was careful in her choice of words, suggesting that “he hadn’t done his homework.”

But Mr. Sanders wasn’t careful at all, declaring that what he considers Mrs. Clinton’s past sins, including her support for trade agreements and her vote to authorize the Iraq war — for which she has apologized — make her totally unfit for office.

This is really bad, on two levels. Holding people accountable for their past is O.K., but imposing a standard of purity, in which any compromise or misstep makes you the moral equivalent of the bad guys, isn’t. Abraham Lincoln didn’t meet that standard; neither did F.D.R. Nor, for that matter, has Bernie Sanders (think guns).

I disagree with Krugman, however, that this is bad for the Democrats. A fierce primary makes the eventual nominee stronger. But it is probably bad for Sanders.

Surprise! Candidates say dumb things.

It’s just a fact of political life: any candidate for president, however disciplined, will at some point say something really stupid at what seems like an impossibly bad time.  It’s the nature of the beast: the spotlight that shines on anyone making a serious run for that office is incredibly bright, and candidates are human.  They get tired and frustrated.  They make mistakes.

In the last few days, that’s exactly what has happened.  Hillary Clinton said dumb stuff to an activist on a rope line, and it became a big embarrassing story.  Eric Fehrnstrom, in some masterful concern-trolling, likened it to Bob Dole’s “stop lying about my record” moment, and he’s not far off.  But then she baited Bernie Sanders into a line of personal attack, and he fell for it, repeatedly calling her not “qualified” to be president.  That, too, has blown up into a big embarrassing story.

They’ve both said other dumb stuff recently.  Sanders’ interview with the NY Daily News editorial board was pretty much a disaster, making him look impatient and unprepared (plus, he may actually have believed that you still use a token to get into the New York City subway).  And Sanders’ campaign manager’s recent comments about Clinton were even stupider than what Sanders himself said.  Clinton, meanwhile, inexplicably continues not to release her Goldman Sachs speeches, hailed Nancy Reagan as a leader in the fight against AIDS, and who can forget her wondering where Sanders was in the fight for health care in the 1990s, when he was in fact literally standing right behind her?

I think we do our candidates a disservice by trying to explain away these mistakes.  I think we should acknowledge that our candidates are human, and that they are going to say stupid things from time to time.  I also think we should hold the candidates we support accountable for their errors, as well as for their policy positions with which we disagree (yes, Bernie’s record on guns is lousy; yes, Hillary is too hawkish).  More honesty from everyone in the political process can only help.

Senate Charter School Debate Today

Today the State Senate debates the charter school bill its Ways and Means Committee released last week.

The Senate declined to take up a House bill increasing the current cap on charter schools during the last legislative session, and so is under some pressure to advance a proposal of its own. The Senate Ways and Means bill increases the cap, but it also imposes more requirements on how charter schools operate, addressing the concerns of charter school critics that these schools are currently able to cherry-pick those students who are already most likely to succeed.

(Mass Budget has prepared a useful guide to charter school funding, which will help you pick your way through this polysyllabic thicket by defining terms like foundation budget rate, above foundation rate, facilities aid rate, and charter reimbursement formula.)

The Senate proposal got an immediate thumbs down from Governor Charlie Baker and other charter school advocates. And the Globe editorial board, while giving the Senate a “thanks for playing” pat on the back, says that the conditions the Senate wants to impose on charter schools are too onerous.

So it is looking increasingly likely that a proposal to increase the cap that does not include the Senate’s additional conditions will be on the ballot in November. This proposal has the backing of not only the Governor but also of a coalition of business interests who say that our low-income urban communities are in crisis. The coalition feels so strongly about our low-income urban communities that it is planning to spend $18 million (an amount that the Globe’s Jim Sullivan says will “obliterate state campaign spending records”) to ensure the ballot question’s success.

Hive mind, have at it.