Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker introduced former state Rep. Karyn Polito as his running mate this morning at a press event in Shrewsbury.
Both candidates dodged questions about Polito’s Tea Party affiliation and anti-LGBT record. During her 10 years in the state House, Polito voted for a constitutional amendment that would have defined civil marriage as exclusively heterosexual, voted against repeal of the law preventing non-resident same-sex couples from marrying in Massachusetts, voted against protecting transgender people under the state’s hate crimes and anti-discrimination laws, co-sponsored an anti-gay “parent’s rights” bill penned by anti-LGBT hate group president Brian Camenker, and filed an official complaint when the Registry of Motor Vehicles began allowing transgender people to change the sex designation on their drivers license without proof of sex reassignment surgery.
Asked by a reporter whether Polito considers herself “under the Tea Party umbrella”, Polito answered in reference to Shrewsbury that “This is my umbrella. This is home. These are the people that support me and this is who I represent.”
Calling herself a fiscal conservative, Polito went on to say that “I believe in small government, lower taxes, less regulation. That’s what my record stands for, that’s what I believe in my core, and that’s the label that I ask you to assign me.”
Whether she also believes in her core that LGBT people should still be discriminated against under the law, as her legislative record indicates, neither she nor Baker would comment.
When a reporter from Boston Herald noted that Polito’s social policies differ greatly from those of Baker’s former running mate, openly-gay state Sen. Richard Tisei, and asked whether that difference was a factor in Baker’s choice of Polito, Baker would only restate the campaign’s apparent tagline, “jobs, schools and communities”.
“Giving the people of Massachusetts a state government that’s as thrifty and hardworking and creative as they are. That’s the way we’re going to run this race, and that’s what we’re going to talk about,” he said.
There’s a radical-right elephant in the room. The question is, how long can Polito and Baker pretend it isn’t there?
Update (12/6): The Baker campaign has released a statement on Polito’s marriage views. Read about it and my reaction here.
Sorry, I have to call out your McCarthyism. She spoke briefly at one meeting, when she was doing outreach, and that’s a Tea Party affiliation? Really laurel, Karyn Polio has enough problems to go after. Let’s play fair.
If Polito isn’t sympathetic to the tea party, she had a fine opportunity to say so today, since she was asked directly. She chose to leave the question unanswered.
And this —
— is a bit weasely, but I’d certainly want a stronger affiliation if I were a Tea Partier.
There are others. See the comment below about Allen West, for example. But as I said, she could have put this TP stuff to rest if she wanted to. She apparently doesn’t want to.
So she talked about Allen West as being a role model for Americans. But, some of her best friends are not Right Wing Reactionary Nut Jobs. Ergo, she is not responsible for what she said while campaigning.
So you are suggesting that we can vote for her because we should not base our vote upon what she says while campaigning? That makes no sense at all.
and lost his show on MSNBC because he has at least twice launched into major insane tirades (that would have made Mel Gibson proud) filled with anti-gay slurs (including the F***** word) and yet some people are still jumping to his defense claiming that he is not anti-GLBT because he only called people F*****s under these circumstances and as such, you cannot deduce from that that he is anti-LGBT.
Which then leads to your defense of Karyn Polito, that we cannot make the connection that she is a Tea Party Wack Job, simply because she was speaking at a Tea Party Event, because she only did it ONCE and she did it while campaigning.
That it would be McCarthyism.to assume she is a Tea Party Wack Job simply based on the fact that she spoke at a Tea Party Event while campaigning and spoke in glowing terms of the Tea Party Darling Allen West.
You want to call out Laurel for her supposed McCarthyism simply for accepting Ms. Polito at her word.
I would like to call you out on your “Calling the Kettle Black” nonsense of defending Ms. Polito because she only said it once at a Tea Party Event.
For the record, unlike sexual orientation, being a ignorant, hate-filled POS is a choice and Ms. Polito has demonstrated this through the choices she has made.
I trust this is enough to reply to.
It is a truly a strange world where I can call out a tactic, and add at the end of my statement that Karyn Polito has plenty to attack but not like this, and that gets called a defense of Polito. (Since I wasn’t defending her, the notion that I was using the Alec Baldwin defense threw me.)
So there’s some evidence that Polito is nice to Tea Partiers when she wants their votes.
Know who else is nice to Tea Partiers when they want their votes? Every other Republican.
“McCarthyism” was strong, and I’ll retract it. But laurel did engage in guilt by association, which I dislike, and to be honest I’m getting weary of demonizing Tea Partiers. I don’t think it works for us.
Really? Ok then, how many times does a person have to speak at tea party events or accept awards from them to graduate from ‘guilt by association’ to ‘jimc thinks there’s a there there’?
That’ll win the election.
I don’t know the answer to your question, but I still disagree with the designation based on what you presented. I find jconway’s evidence more convincing.
But, again, I think the bottom line is that I don’t like the tactic. I didn’t mean to insult you.
Someone like Baker feels pressure to curry favor with the MA GOP base by taking on someone like Polito, but Polito’s positions place her outside the current statewide mainstream. This is why, even with the seat open and a presumed frontrunner who’s anathema to many MA Dems, the race is winnable.
JimC-The Globe’s article today says that Polito just four months ago and told a Tea Party crowd in Stoughton that the national GOP doesn’t have a good message, but Allen West does. The Tea Party gave her an award, the same one the aforementioned West was given in 2012. That’s Tea Party enough for me.
Andrei Radulescu-Banu says
Charlie Baker has a John McCain problem – he’s not in the mainstream of Massachusetts GOP, and he has to put his Sarah Palin on the ticket to curry support from his party’s right wing extreme.
I’m glad the Swampscott manse or the J Press tie convinced Baker he needed to diversify his ticket, but this was the wrong way to do it. Frank Cousins could’ve been picked, bolsters a law enforcement message and he wouldn’t risk his seat to run for LG. This takes away an electable Treasurer candidate while also adding tons of social conservative liabilities to weigh down this ticket. I know Martha Coakley must have a big smile on her face today, she can run against the anti-woman and anti-gay Baker-Polito ticket. Wonder if Baker’s brother will pull a Mary Cheney and denounce his brothers political cowardice on LGBT issues?
so apparently you don’t know that Frank Cousins could be indicted at any time. He’s also from Essex County like Baker so not much regional diversification.
Other notes to posters above.
There is no “the” Tea Party. It has less central organization than the garden clubs of MA. In MA the various local groups are more often found fighting with each other than organizing against the left.
How can Richard Tisei and Karen Polito both be Tea Party?
Republicans speak to Tea Party groups because that’s where Republican activists congregate. The town committees are weak and there’s few other spots to find troops.
I believe Karen Polito has more money than Baker. She drives an Escalade.
This whole post started as an LGBT post. While most people here didn’t characterize Tisei as anti-LGBT in 2010 or 2012, when he got press in national gay magazines the comments to the articles all had him as anti-gay. Baker-Tisei lost P-town 80/20. So why should Baker bother even trying? If Republican equals anti-gay, is there any use?
Baker probably can get only a few votes over 50% in the best case scenario. Had to be a woman (so jconway, Baker-Polito is anti-woman? Charlie in person is clearly not gender biased. Polito is a woman) to at least blunt some of the anti-women attacks. Had to be from central MA. Polito can raise money and is a solid campaigner. So this make sense. I get that everyone here hates her as they would any Republican but ultimately the LG candidate has to be a Republican, and I haven’t heard any alternatives.
Here is the money quote in your comment:
I don’t care whether or not a formal “Tea Party” organization exists. The views of those who self-identify with the Tea Party make Barry Goldwater, William F. Buckley, and Robert Welch look like left-wingers.
The fact that Republican activists congregate at “Tea Party groups” says all I need to hear about the Massachusetts GOP.
The choice of Karyn Polito only underlines just how extreme — and extremely out of touch — the Massachusetts GOP is.
I get it. At least you’re honest and consistent about it.
Statewide MA GOP candidates do have a hard road, but somehow they are not out of touch with what 45% of the population of the state want. The question is whether there’s a swing vote in the middle they might garner.
“Hate” is a stronger word than I like to use.
I have no patience with political thugs and terrorists. Shutting down the government over and over, threatening to default on our national debt, intentionally destroying the operations of Congress, conscious campaigns of lies, disinformation, and distortions about health care, the economy, climate change, and host of others threaten the very fabric of our society.
I don’t force Massachusetts Republicans to “congregate” at Tea Party gatherings. I didn’t force Charlie Baker to choose a running mate who gushes about Alan West.
I have equally thin patience with Democrats who do the same (even though there aren’t many). I remain open to any Republican candidate who chooses to behave differently.
If you want to characterize my stance as “hate”, I can’t stop you.
but wondering if you have ever met Charlie Baker? He’s not a thug or a terrorist.
I have been to rallies though with some really live cigar smoking thugs, though and they were holding Elizabeth Warren signs.
My high school had the usual assortment of thugs (we called them “greasers” or “hoods”). They generally sat together in the back of the bus or classroom, and did what such kids always do.
There were also other kids who, for whatever reasons, chose to hang out with the crowd at the back of the room. Some of our athletes fell into the latter category. These were “nice” kids … they dressed well, got passing or above average grades, and didn’t get into the kind of trouble the first group was known for.
Charlie Baker may not be a thug or terrorist, I’ve never met the man. He does, however, choose to affiliate himself with a political party that has made that offensive behavior the centerpiece of its identity. His choice of running mate underlines that choice.
I don’t doubt that you may have seen thugs at various rallies, holding Elizabeth Warren signs. I fear that misses the point. I suspect that there are groups that congregate because they want to cause trouble. I doubt that Elizabeth Warren chooses to intentionally associate herself with those groups.
Sounds a lot like pushing nasty stereotypes of union members, when there’s little question today’s GOP is the preferred choice of thugs just about everywhere. Personally, the thugs I saw during Elizabeth Warren’s race were doing fake war whoops or assaulting me at a gas station because I was for Warren instead of their boy Brown.
If this was the 1950’s, would you have denounced Hubert Humphrey for belonging to the same party, indeed the same caucus as Sen Richard Russell?
You want to put local politician Charlie Baker on the same team as Ted Cruz and I just don’t lump people together that way.
Sorry I can’t post the “thug” photos I have because I don’t have a spot. If you can direct me I will. I put those people in that category not only for their appearance, but two other characteristics. Until the Brown/Warren debate in Lowell, I had never seen anyone on either side smoke at a sign-holding event. It’s just not done. This one had plenty, particularly cigar smokers, and the sign holding was shoulder to shoulder. Everyone smoking had a Warren sign. There was also a great deal of rudeness outside the event, and all that I witnessed was from middle aged men towards senior citizen women. Again, Warren supporters vs. Brown. I realize you are more comfortable with your preconceptions, but that’s what I saw.
In answer to your first question, a resounding YES. I, and many Democrats like me, purged the racist southern Democrats from the party in 1968. That was the right thing to do. It cost the Democrats the south, and I note that the GOP has been only too happy to embrace and pander to the southern racists since then.
I smoke cigars. Just saying. Not everyone who smokes a cigar is a thug.
Groups that organize to support a candidate are different from mobs that organize to cause trouble. The Tea Party is an example of the latter.
There were many mobs who organized to fight desegregation during the civil rights struggles. Many of those mobs also enjoyed harassing, bullying, and worse of blacks in they encountered. Certain politicians spoke to those mobs. I didn’t vote for them. I also think it’s fair game to characterize those politicians as racist, because they were well aware of why the group was organized.
You are missing the point about Tea Party groups. Ms. Polito chose to speak to Tea Party groups. That is qualitatively DIFFERENT from rude behavior at a political rally. Like the hate-groups during the civil rights era, the Tea Party organizes to cause trouble. I think it is accurate to characterize Ms. Polito as a Tea Party sympathizer in recognition of her choice to speak to those groups.
The bottom line remains that the national GOP has become a party of thugs and terrorists, dedicated to destroying the operation of the US government. Such choices have consequences.
somervilltom smokes cigars. somervilletom is a good man, and far from thuggish in appearance or behavior. I found somervilletom’s home office* absolutely disgusting because of the cigars.
That last bit is gratuitous; I’m just keeping it real.
* somervilletom no longer lives in the home to which I refer; he’s since, well, moved to Somerville.
I, too, found it disgusting. I now smoke only outside.
It’s a lot harder to have a scotch and a cigar outside during this time of year. That said, the summer I spent smoking cigars and sipping mint juleps on a friends back porch was a summer well spent.
Sure, I’d condemn Hubert Humphrey if he sought executive office and named Richard Russell or someone from his end of the party as his running mate. I would have been working for my party to stand for the right things, the Richard Russells of it be damned. My ancestors were involved in that very fight in the 1920s, working to put an anti-KKK plank in the Democratic platform against the strong resistance of its Southern wing.
Truman, expected to lose in 1948, desegregated the Armed Forces in an election year. You didn’t see him pandering to the worst elements of his party. And make no mistake, the Tea Party crowd is nasty and nihilistic, even if your sensibilities are more offended because someone smoked a cigar outside the Lowell debate.
John Tehan says
If my memory serves, Humphrey fought Russell for 15 years until the Civil Rights Act finally passed in 1964. Has Baker dared utter any criticism of “Shutdown Teddy C”, or fought against anything Cruz stands for? If he has, I haven’t seen it, please provide links.
If you have photos to post, go sign up for a free account at flickr.com. Upload the photos, then click the “share” box, it will give you code that will allow you to post them in the comments here.
aren’t both tea party.
But such is the state of politics.
Perhaps, maybe, because it’s the right thing to do. I don’t mean to suggest that he should recruit a gay candidate or even a works-really-hard-pro-gay-politician as a running mate.
But Baker should try to appeal to LGBT voters because, in doing so, he’d be espousing ideals and proposals which are fair and just, and that is something worth doing.
“We’re here to be the governor and lieutenant governor of all of Massachusetts.” But choosing an ardently anti-LGBT pol as his running mate effectively neutralizes that statement. He clearly doesn’t care whether or not LGBT people are included in the definition of Massachusetts.
I am not from out of state, was born and raised in Cambridge and have a lot of family in Essex County. Uncle John used to work for Frank and I know his record is of a moderate Republican in the Weld-Cellucci mold, who, like Ralph Martin, could appeal to a broader electorate due to his race. Didn’t realize he had a corruption issue, though obviously that is disqualifying. Martin is still free. that would add diversity to the district. So would a woman.
Why not a strongly pro-choice, pro-gay marriage woman like Kerry Healy? A social liberal and fiscal conservative libertarian like Carla Howell? Mary Connaughton nearly won statewide herself and has a far more socially liberal record on this issue than Polito. Polito has voted repeatedly to re-litigate a closed issue the voters repeatedly made clear they don’t want to re-open. Even going as far as to redefine the Constitution to exclude gay marriage. Even John McCain wouldn’t go that far. She’s just too conservative for MA. See every post I made about Baker, he is the frontrunner, but this move now puts social issues back on the table. That only benefits Democrats.
Carla Howell is the author of the Sales Tax repeal in 2010 that proved very difficult for Republican candidates. I believe is not a Republican but a Libertarian.
I’m pretty sure Martin is not involved in politics, and anyway has a sweet gig at Northeastern.
Mary Connaughton made a public announcement a few weeks ago that she would not be a candidate for any office in 2014.
Any other suggestions?
Get a stringer bench of socially moderate female candidates. I could respect her if she was for civil unions and at least resigned to LGBT rights. Bakers brother should be pulling a Mary Cheney right now. All the outreach Baker did seems like such a fraud now.
According to today’s Herald (Hillary Chabot and Matt Stout) Baker wanted either Tom Reilly, whom he ultimately decided against trying to recruit, or Mary Connaughton, who declined. The funny part is that the Herald lists, as a “con” of the Polito choice, that Polito’s “socially moderate positions are similar to Charlie Baker’s and will make it harder for the GOP ticket to excite conservatives.”
Having just wasted 60 seconds reading the vile Howie Carr, I’m off to take a shower.
That’s twice as long as it took Howie to write it.
out of the 60 was in face-palm mode at the thought of thousands of people falling for this shit.
That’s interesting. I wonder if she plans to run for something else.
As in the former DEMOCRATIC Attorney General? If so, was there the slightest indication he would be open to a party switch and why?
Was he that much of a sore loser from 2006 nomination fight? Why bother picking a running mate at all? Just do as Dems usually do and anybody runs and the voters decide.
And also presumably because declaring a running mate will discourage other Rs from entering the field, which could lead to a messy/ugly primary.
He is all lovey dovey when talking about having BBQs with former co-worker Randy Price and his husband, and bashed Huckabee and Santorum as ‘snake eaters’ but still indulges in gay bashing he doesn’t even believe in. Rush does the same thing. At least a fundamentalist like Santorum believes in the bullshit he preaches. Obviously Howie has one rule for his private persona and one for his public one. Wish Randy could pick a better friend.