The intersection of good ideas and politics is always intriguing to me. Calculating political risk can be challenging and you need good information to make informed decisions.
With his revenue proposal, Governor Patrick is standing up for what he believes and asking all of us to do the same. That’s why I love the guy.
His plan to put Massachusetts in a strong position for economic growth over the long term by investing in education and infrastructure requires more revenue to succeed. And succeed it will. In truth there’s virtually NO debate that this is a good idea. It’s not just 57 prominent economists who say these kinds of investments are wise. People all over the Commonwealth are making their voices heard. here here here Even the Boston Herald poll tells us the public understands that these investments make sense. If you look, you can even find a REPUBLICAN (!) who will praise what the plan will accomplish — even if they don’t want to pay for it.
The plan is now being discussed in the legislature and predictably (and wisely) different folks have different takes on HOW to do these very good things. Again, I’ve been impressed that very few people argue against the benefits of doing what previous generations did to make our world better. Everyone knows that the Greatest Generation sacrificed and made long term decisions so that their children and grandchildren could live in a better world.
Now it’s our turn.
You know, as Chair of the Mass Democratic Party, I love every Democratic elected official — proudly and on the record. I offer my thoughts here in the service of helping those Democrats – giving them my best political advice, for whatever it’s worth.
I know that there are many legislators that are committed to improving our kids’ education and the infrastructure that helps our businesses thrive and they would do anything they could to make that happen. I also understand that there are legislators who worry about the cost of government and find supporting increased taxes – even for things we want – very tough. Most legislators fall in between and need to work to balance these concerns. I get that.
I even accept that there are legislators who don’t give a damn about anything other than getting re-elected. Hey, it’s a great country, right?
What gets me scratching my head is those folks who put political calculations first on their list but insist on calculating their political risk using 23-year-old (1990) data. That seems foolish to me. No, more precisely it seems dumb.
You see, we actually HAVE much more recent political data — only four months old as a matter of fact. Let’s take a look:
– On November 6, there wasn’t a single incumbent Democrat who lost to a Republican anywhere in Massachusetts.
– In truth, three incumbent Democratic legislators lost in primaries to Democratic challengers last fall.
– Thankfully, in 2012 Democrats retired four one-term Republicans who arrived in the 2010 Tea Party surge that swept the country and one other who had been singing this right wing tune for a number of years.
– In addition, there were a few other races where Democratic challengers came within points of unseating one-term Republicans.
– On Election Day 2012, there were tens of thousands of Democratic organizers on the ground for GOTV. Over the last few years, these local organizers have learned how to execute a grassroots, issues-based, community-organizing campaign in their communities. It’s inspiring, isn’t it?
I support Governor Patrick’s revenue plan for Massachusetts to grow faster by investing in education and infrastructure and I congratulate the legislators who are working to determine the best way to do that. I expect the final plan might come out a little different from the one the Governor proposed. 😉 It’s all good.
For the few legislators that are only calculating their own political risks, I’d suggest that 23-year-old data can be misleading. More recent results suggest that when looking for political risk, right wing Republicans might not be your biggest problem.
John Walsh, Chair
Massachusetts Democratic Party