…just a couple of weeks earlier, if I recall.
When I watched the latest piece of crap ad from the RGA in support of Charlie Baker, I immediately recalled that awful feeling – maybe without the knot in the pit of my stomach because at least this time it didn’t involve my twelve-year-old son.
It’s not like they sent guys in orange jump suits this time – I suspect they’ll never make THAT particular mistake again. It’s not even some campaign employees and goons doing the “tomahawk chop” on the corner in Dorchester. That was just around this time as well, I believe. But for me, it’s the same feeling because what this represents is an instinct with Republicans that allows them to repeatedly cross a line – a line it seems they can’t even see. It’s not good.
That morning in 2006, I was stuck in nasty traffic on the Southeast Expressway. I wasn’t moving and I couldn’t turn around and go home. I’ve often thought about how lucky I was that I couldn’t get home. I’m a calm guy — but my son… The traffic protected me that day.
I thought about it a lot back then and I’ve thought about it a lot since, like when Elizabeth Warren and her family were forced to endure this treatment from the strategic geniuses of the Republican party. WHY would anyone do this kind of stuff? Who could possibly think this is a good idea? What motivates them?
Back then, I came to a conclusion that I think was correct. In 2012, it seemed to explain the debacle in Adams Village and today it’s clear to me what the pattern is.
The 2006 Kerry Healey folks who sent the orange jump suit guys and the Scott Brown folks who made fools out of themselves on the corner (and on camera, thank goodness), were having a tough time achieving their goals and they were frustrated. They started the campaigns with a plan, but it wasn’t getting them where they needed to be. In both cases, the race was close. It’s almost always close. But they know they need to bank a lead by the final week because they know we can get our voters to the polls better than them so they need a cushion. When they weren’t getting it, they made changes and tried and tried.
Then they got desperate – and crossed a line.
Starting this campaign, Team Baker and his pal Chris Christie and the RGA had a plan as well. “New Charlie” “Charlie 2.0” “Happy Charlie.” Same right wing policies, but this time with a smile – and he brought his dog to the announcement press conference! For a year they tried to sell this story but it wasn’t getting them the numbers they needed. So the ads got harsher. Forget Happy Charlie. They needed tax cuts – $250 million of them. How to pay for them? Don’t worry, they’ll figure it out. (Stop fixing the bridges like last time?) And focus relentlessly on punishing poor people on welfare. From the campaign AND the RGA. Relentless attacks. And it brought the race closer – a dead heat. But that’s not the cushion they need.
Fire the ad guys with forty-something days to go. WHO does that? They needed more!
I remember this feeling from 2006 and 2012. For me, it starts with anger and becomes something more powerful, resolve.
We need to defeat this kind of politics. Right now.
Talk to your friends. GOTV begins in four weeks.
John Walsh, Organizer