Reich positions Healey as progressive candidate for DA

Email (no link) from Robert Reich, progressive hero of the 2002 Massachusetts gubernatorial campaign, where he received 25 percent of primary votes (Romney eventually beat Shannon O’Brien 49.8 percent to 44.9 percent).

Maura Healey is the only candidate for Attorney General who believes in repealing the casino law, the only candidate to release her taxes, the only candidate to support a clean election and a real ban on outside spending in the race. She has clear plans on the challenges ahead for Massachusetts, from protecting children to reducing gun violence and combating prescription drug and opiate abuse. 

I’m proud to add my voice to those urging Democrat and Independent primary voters to support Maura’s campaign to be the Commonwealth’s next Attorney General.

I’d say the claim that Healey is “the only candidate to support a clean election and a real ban on outside spending in the race” is a stretch, but it is a mystery why Tolman won’t sign on to the stronger version of the clean elections pledge that Healey has proposed which covers direct mail as well as other forms of advertising. David’s review of the current state of play on this issue, which to the best of my knowledge remains the status quo, is here; if anyone has an update, please explain it in the comments.

A Spectacular Day in the 6th for Congressman Tierney and his supporters

This was a big day for Team Tierney. - promoted by david

The band was playing, hundreds and hundreds of people were there — and there was just a ton of excitement. That pretty much sums up how today’s rally for Congressman Tierney in Salem went, with Senator Liz Warren headlining the rally as she made her endorsement of Congressman Tierney official.

What really stood out to me at the rally was how closely they’ve truly worked together. Senator Warren made note of it in her speech — that long before she was a Senator, Congressman Tierney would always be someone who would listen, whether it was on consumer protection or on making student loans more affordable.

As an even better demonstration of their partnership on the issues, the two of them would have been having this rally last week if not for the fact that both Liz and Congressman Tierney had to be in DC together to be with the President as he acted to help millions of Americans with their student loans — an issue Liz and John have worked together on really closely, two of the biggest forces in pushing it along.

Below is Congressman Tierney’s Press Release on the event from the email they sent out. It lists many of the ways they’ve worked together and describes just why it’s so important to reelect Congressman Tierney.

We need someone with the strong progressive values Congressman Tierney has consistently demonstrated over the years — and to make any progress in the House, Liz Warren does too. That’s how we’re going to get real progress across the country — and across the entire 6th district.

Convention ("#demvention") winners and losers

It’s all over in Worcester.  Two days of speechifying, delegate wrangling, and rapid-fire tweeting have come to an end, and it’s now a slow-motion sprint to the September primary.  Where do things now stand?

Winner: the BMG hive mind.  Many thanks to everyone who participated in the convention prediction post, and to Kevin Mentzer for crunching the data.  As a group, BMG’s prediction for the balloting for Governor was 38 (Grossman)-23.5 (Coakley)-22 (Berwick)-12 (Kayyem)-4 (Avellone).  The actual result was 35.2-23.3-22.1-12.1-7.  So we pretty much nailed it.  Especially impressive were the facts that we almost exactly predicted the absolute numbers and the margin for Coakley and Berwick’s very close 2-3 finish, and that we correctly predicted the margin by which Kayyem would miss 15%.  Well done, everyone.

Losers: Juliette Kayyem, Joe Avellone, and James Arena-DeRosa.  There’s no sugar-coating this: anyone who couldn’t muster 15% of the voting delegates won’t be on the September ballot, and therefore has to be counted among the weekend’s losers.  Avellone’s failure was no surprise – he wasn’t a factor in the caucuses, and never found (or even seriously looked for, it seems) a message that resonated with the folks whose votes mattered yesterday.  Kayyem’s failure did surprise some, but at the end of the day, she, too, never really came up with a convincing rationale for her candidacy.  ”Bold” is fine as an abstract notion, and there’s nothing wrong with being younger than the other candidates.  But neither of those without more is good enough, and the “more” never really materialized.  Frankly, Berwick’s platform was always “bolder” than Kayyem’s, and one does have to imagine that the barely-concealed disdain for unions in Kayyem fans like Globe columnist Scot Lehigh hurt her with delegates more than it helped.

I confess to being disappointed that Arena-DeRosa didn’t make the ballot, since of all the Lt. Gov. candidates, his résumé struck me as the most interesting (though I never saw him, or any of the others, on the campaign trail).  But he didn’t raise much money, and obviously didn’t generate the delegate enthusiasm necessary to clear 15%.  So, onward.

Winner: Don Berwick.  The only way he plausibly could’ve won bigger would be to have taken second place behind Steve Grossman.  Nonetheless, he did way better than pretty much anyone (save the BMG hive mind) expected, and with Kayyem and Avellone out, he’s now got the “not a professional politician” field all to himself.  He needs to quickly put some meat on the bones of (e.g., explain how he will pay for) his most dramatic proposals – implementing Medicare for all, ending child poverty, etc.  If he can do that, this could be a much better campaign than most people expect.

Winners: Warren Tolman and Maura Healey.  By all reports, both Attorney General candidates gave terrific speeches, and both got what they needed from the delegates: Tolman got a majority, and Healey was only a few points behind.  The polls show them close.  This is anyone’s race.

Loser: the DCU Center.  Reports of the facility itself are not good.  Perhaps most appalling, at least one (the only?) elevator apparently was not working, making it extremely difficult for people who have trouble with stairs to get around.  That should never, ever have been allowed to happen.  In addition, Charley and others relayed unhappy reports of terrible WiFi, non-functional electrical outlets, and so on.  And for heaven’s sake, couldn’t it be possible for people to get something decent to eat, or to bring their own food, for an event that lasts most of a day?  There must be a better venue somewhere in this great Commonwealth.

Winner: annoying Twitter hashtags.  Yes, the hashtag “#DemVention” is painfully lame.  But it actually worked really well.  It’s not too long; it’s easy to remember (because it’s so annoying); and it’s very unlikely to capture unrelated tweets.  *sigh*

Winner: the 15% rule.  As I’ve stated before, I don’t really like the 15% rule.  But the rule did exactly what it’s supposed to do: it winnowed the field of candidates by eliminating three who had not generated sufficient enthusiasm among delegates to the convention.  Whether you think that is a good thing is a different question, but there’s no denying that the rule worked well according to its terms.

What else is on your list?

#DemVention Survey Results - Bragging Rights

Great stuff. Congratulations, all! - promoted by david

I’ve calculated how close each person was to guessing the actual results of the Dem Convention. I did it for each race as well as overall. To calculate I simply added up the distance from the actual (in absolute terms), For the overall result I calculated both the total (non-weighted) and the weighted average by race (so the race for governor didn’t count more than the race for attn general even though there were 5 values). The overall winner was the same regardless of weighting/non-weighting.

So without further comment, the results.

Governors race – hlpeary

Lt Governor – discobolos

Attn General – suffolk-democrat (nailed it)

Treasurer – striker57

Overall, all 4 races… drumroll please….  kkickmanma (2nd place sue-kennedy and 3rd – discobolos)

One very interesting note – The BMG Average actually outperformed everyone on the call for the Governors Race and came in at 3rd overall. It didn’t do so well with the other races.

Please feel free to comment on the surprises of the races (for example, Arena-DeRosa not making the cut, Lake coming in 2nd overall, how tight Healey/Tolman ended up, etc).


Joke Revue: After Tea Party win, GOP proposes end to Social Security, return to child labor, and gun rights for pets



WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—The morning after Tuesday’s stunning Tea Party victory in Virginia, House Republicans unveiled a sweeping new legislative agenda, proposing an end to Social Security, a return to child labor, and unprecedented gun rights for pets.

“The Republican Party is the party of common sense,” said House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). “And such common-sense proposals as electronic ankle bracelets for immigrant babies and a barbed-wire fence with Canada are long overdue.”

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) echoed Speaker Boehner’s sentiments as he touted his signature legislation, “to put Americans under the age of twelve back to work.”

“Instead of spending all day playing with Xboxes, our kids should be in factories assembling them,” he said.

As for what is perhaps the most controversial G.O.P. proposal, guaranteeing gun rights for pets, Boehner said, “It’s clear that the authors of the Second Amendment meant it to apply to all mammals. All our new law says is, if you have four legs and a tail, you get a gun.”

When asked about future relations between House Republicans and President Obama, Boehner did not mince words. “If the President thinks he’s going to get the kind of cooperation and flexibility he’s gotten out of us for the past six years, he’s kidding himself,” he said. “The honeymoon is over.”


NEW HAVEN (The Borowitz Report)—After a report from the Yale Center on Climate Change Communication showed that the term “climate change” elicits relatively little concern from the American public, leading scientists are recommending replacing it with a new term: “You will be burnt to a crisp and die.”

Other terms under consideration by the scientists include “your cities will be ravaged by tsunamis and floods” and “earth will be a fiery hellhole incapable of supporting human life.”

Scientists were generally supportive of the suggestions, with many favoring the term “your future will involve rowing a boat down a river of rotting corpses.”

“Any of these terms would do a better job conveying the urgency of the problem,” Tracy Klugian, a spokesperson for the newly renamed Yale Center for Oh My God Wake Up You Assholes, said.


Resigning House Leader Cantor Reflects On All The Accomplishments He Thwarted

WASHINGTON—Looking back on his 13-year tenure in the House of Representatives with reverence, resigning House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) reflected on the long list of accomplishments he had thwarted during his time in office, sources confirmed Thursday. “From obstructing a jobs bill to put Americans back to work in 2011, to derailing gun control measures any time they reached my desk, I feel blessed to have had such an incredible run of preventing productive policies, and even a few pieces of landmark legislation, from ever passing,” said Cantor, explaining that as a young man, he “never would have dreamed” that some day he would be in a position to hinder the entire American lawmaking process and completely neuter dozens of bills. “Of course, I’m disappointed because I thought I had many more years of impeding accomplishments ahead of me, and I’ll be the first to admit that I never quite managed to stall environmental policies as much as I would have liked. But at the end of the day, I’m very proud of how I helped Congress accomplish so little during my time in office.” …

Daniel Kurtzman:

“Something happened this week that in the past was always completely not controversial, we brought home a prisoner of war. Bowe Bergdahl is his name, from the Afghanistan war. Of course if you saw Fox News, you saw what really happened: Obama surrendered to the Taliban.” –Bill Maher

“It was a tough week for conservatives because, you know, on the one hand they love the military and soldiers, but they hate Obama. So at first, FOX News was like, ‘We don’t want to weigh in until all the facts were distorted.’” –Bill Maher on the Bowe Bergdahl prisoner swap

“I’m kidding, of course. They weighed in right away. And the conclusion they came to is if there is one inviolate, eternal, etched-in-stone rule, which is that we never leave an American solider behind in war, unless Obama does it and then of course it’s a stupid, horrible thing to do.” –Bill Maher

“Exactly right. Good presidents, people like George Bush, he sends people to war. They don’t bring them home and rescue them. This is America, we rescue insurance companies and banks.” –Bill Maher

“We don’t trade terrorists for hostages. We trade arms for hostages. But there are of course aspects of this story that are actually controversial. Like this guy may very well have been a deserter, which is not good. You just can’t pick up and leave in the middle of your job. You’re part of a military unit, not the governor of Alaska.” –Bill Maher

“Look, whatever happened over there in Afghanistan, we’re not going to find out or really know for a while. He will spend weeks, they say, recovering and then months until he can get an appointment at the VA.” –Bill Maher

My Response to Scot Lehigh post convention rant

Lehigh frames the discussion, oetkb offers a response ... - promoted by Bob_Neer

Scot Lehigh wrote ……

My response:

Any miscues present at the Dem Convention pale in comparison to the absolute disaster called the Republican Convention. Maybe the Democrats took too long to count the votes, but the speeches and cajoling among delegates and candidate campaign supporters proceeded as it should. The final vote was a true reflection of the wishes of active party participants. Mr. Avellone was an executive in a health insurance company and a pharmaceutical company. This was not someone the attendees wanted to be directing health care reform. Insurers are a major part of the problem, not a solution. Federal and state laws are dampening their excesses, not their own initiatives. As for Juliet Kayem her speech was lackluster, and she broke Regan’s rule of politics about denigrating fellow Party members. She also had nothing new to offer, and her campaign contained few specifics(boldness is not a program) how she was going to tackle the State’s problems. Each of the candidates for nomination has a substantial resume, but experience at getting things done with some showing of political expertise is what won the day. AG Coakley has long been a member of the Party and is seen by the public as doing a more than adequate job in her post, but those attending felt politically that some of her decision making was shaky. This allowed Dr. Berwick to challenge her with a clear vision and a solid lifetime of achievement in the public arena. If you want to criticize the vote counting mechanisms, that is reasonable. If you want to argue that little was accomplished at the Convention, that is false. The people who attended the Convention and those they represent will be the street soldiers to get their nominee elected in Sept and in November. The process on Saturday will organize and bolster their efforts. Is Mr. Lehigh saying that there should be no parties at all? This is a belief that harks back to the conflict between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. Today’s political scene, unfortunately, has not favored independent candidates. Maybe some day that will happen, but not likely for some time. By the way nothing is stopping Dr. Avellone or Juliette Kayem from being write in candidates. They did get the required number of signatures. Sen Angus King and Sen Bernie Sanders won as independents in their state, and Sen Lisa Murkowski won by write in.

This just in: Kayyem and Avellone fail to make primary ballot

Juliette Kayyem’s campaign has just emailed the following statement:

Today Juliette did what she has done from the beginning of this campaign – she put bold ideas on the table to move Massachusetts forward. While the campaign fell short of our 15% goal, Juliette got people talking about criminal justice reform, climate change, and strengthening our state’s infrastructure. Even though Juliette won’t be going to the Corner Office, she’ll keep fighting to level the playing field so that every person has a fair chance.

I haven’t seen anything official yet from the Avellone campaign, but it seems very clear that he, too, will not reach the required 15% to make the ballot.  UPDATE: Avellone has now confirmed that he did not reach 15%.  The vote-tallying is not complete, but as of now it seems that Martha Coakley and Don Berwick are in a close race for second place, after Steve Grossman.

Developing, as they say in the journo biz…

Convention Twitter feed

It's a little before 3 pm, and the balloting has just begun. Word from the party is that 4,609 delegates checked in and are eligible to vote. That means that the magic number to get on the ballot is 692. I'll update as results come in. - promoted by david

The Massachusetts Democratic Party’s convention is tonight and tomorrow, as you probably know. BMG’s Worcester bureau has sprung into action to ensure that you don’t miss a thing. At least, a thing that we thought was worth tweeting. Charley is there tonight, and I’ll be there tomorrow.  UPDATE: sadly, real life having intervened, I am not able to make it to Worcester for Saturday’s festivities.  So I am adjusting the Twitter feed to show all tweets using the convention’s official hashtag (#demvention), since Twitter is probably the best way to keep abreast of breaking developments (this will result in the occasional troll tweet sneaking in, but it’s still the best way to stay up to date).

Maura Healey: a prosecutor, not a politician

A strong launch from the veteran prosecutor and former professional basketball player. Video:

Convention speech (email, no link):

Seven years ago, I joined the Attorney General’s Office as HEAD of the Civil Rights Division. It was one of the best decisions of my life. I had the chance to fight discrimination and inequality – to stand up for people who need an advocate – and to use the law for social and economic justice.

I led with my head and with my heart. And I have been working for you.

Our victories — from taking on big banks and stopping foreclosures, to ending DOMA and combating climate change. Those should make us proud to be Massachusetts Democrats. …

As your next Attorney General, I will also be an independent voice. Never afraid to challenge the status quo. Just look at the issue of casinos. We need repeal on the ballot, and I am supporting repeal. The evidence is clear – casinos bring addiction, bankruptcies, and foreclosures.

So, if we want to get serious about income inequality, then gambling is not the solution. But, if repeal loses, then we need an Attorney General who will hold the gaming industry accountable. And I will.

An “independent voice:” It will be interesting to see how Healey’s campaign stressing professionalism and independence (plus basketball, invented in MA — a universally appealing credential) squares off against Warren Tolman’s emphasis on his “long track record of standing up to entrenched interests” and years of work as a Democratic state legislator.

#DemVention: An ending, and a beginning

Last night I saw a convention somewhat in search of its identity. Eight years ago we had an interesting and contentious battle between three credible candidates, and a sense of urgency to turn around a historical moment — a state that was underachieving somehow, which needed a vision.

You can quibble about results, and you should. But I think it’s fair to say that there’s been a new sense of possibility in Massachusetts — even of obligation. We’ve seen the success of health care reform, and seen it go national. Ponder the immense irony that Gov. Patrick’s successful implementation of Chapter 58 helped launch Mitt Romney’s 2008 run. It then provided Romney’s biggest 2012 albatross — because it worked so well that the Democratic President and Congress beat Mitt to the punch and passed the “Same #$%ing Bill.”

Furthermore, imagine the scene in the State House on this day seven years ago — the day the anti-marriage ballot initiative was shelved by 75% of the legislature. And see what’s happened around the country in that time — unimaginable without principled moral leadership from Governor Patrick. Last night, every single speaker lauded Massachusetts’ leadership on marriage. Look at the history — it was not always this way, not even very long ago.

So last night was the Governor’s valedictory evening. I’m not at all clear as to the tone and agenda of the next. I’m hearing a very welcome emphasis on class and poverty issues: Minimum wage activists getting signatures; Berwick stating the end of homelessness as a central goal; Grossman’s proposal on universal pre-K. This is not merely a run for Gov. Patrick’s third term; there’s a focus on the underside of an economy based on info-, bio- and clean-tech.

Who has been left behind? Who gets left out? If you’re a middle-class person trying to find housing, and finding your own income in competition with fresh biotech dollars, you might be thinking, Maybe it’s us.

The technocratic aspect of governance will be a factor in November as well. Between DCF and the Health Connector meltdown, we have to wonder if the Big Dig has been replaced by IT contracting as the place where tax dollars die in the dark. The ability to craft good policy (ie. with health care) does not translate into the ability to make the computers talk to each other. The next Governor will have to place greater emphasis on IT procurement and implementation … not things politicians are known for, and not the things that fire up activists.

I’ll be very interested to see how the delegate count shakes out today — but more importantly, why uncommitted delegates align the way they do. What do they want from their candidate? Sure, who’s the candidate, but what’s the program?

Impressive Juliette Kayyem

David and I had an opportunity to sit down with Gubernatorial candidate Juliette Kayyem earlier in the campaign to discuss her candidacy and the issues of the day. I was impressed.

First, this is a candidate from a rising generation. Kayyem’s heavy hitter resume — civil rights attorney, homeland security advisor to Governor Patrick overseeing the Massachusetts National Guard, and Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs at the Department of Homeland Security, among other accomplishments — is remarkable by any standard, but especially when set against her relative youth: she is 45 years old and fluent in the discourse of Generation Y, not to mention Generation Why. Martha Coakley, Don Berwick, Steve Grossman, and Joe Avellone, by contrast, have an average age that is two decades older and are from a different era. Scott Lehigh recently made a similar point.

Second, she has achieved successes in a range of fields, from government to academia (lecturer in Public Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School) to the media (CNN analyst and Boston Globe columnist) to crisis management (awarded the Coast Guard’s highest civilian honor for her work helping to coordinate the national response to the BP oil spill). That speaks well to her intellectual agility, management effectiveness, and quick thinking: critical skills for a governor.

Third, her campaign, from its website to the responsiveness of its staff, has been consistently well run and professional. That is of a piece with the competence that leaps from her record, but is not always typical of Massachusetts politics, as many readers of this blog know from painful experience.

Finally, this articulate, determined candidate spoke fluently about her love for the Commonwealth, her ambitions for the state, and the possibilities that government can create when it works for collective advantage rather than the comfortable perquisites of power for insiders.

Progressive politics thrives on change and new voices. Kayyem offers both in an impressive package. Our Democratic Party has an opportunity this weekend to define its identity for the next election cycle and beyond. It will be stronger if it embraces new candidates with proven records of substantive accomplishments.

Before you vote tomorrow, watch this!

Pretty well-done video. - promoted by david

We have all heard people (and some candidates) say that they are “Socially Progressive, but Fiscally Conservative”. It’s time for a new paradigm. What does it mean to be a Fiscal Progressive? Watch to find out.

Leland Cheung – Fiscal Progressive

Companies invest in order to gain a return. Our government is no different – only we’re investing in technology, education, and transportation. Investing in each other and ourselves creates economic growth, which starts a virtuous cycle that provides increasing tax revenue, to again reinvest in the next generation.

It’s time to start talking about investing, intelligently in our values. If you believe in those values, I ask for your vote tomorrow.