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Election 2010 Commentary:
Mass. Republican Party's RINO strategy a big part of election losses in top state races
POSTED: Nov 5, 2010
In an election where Republicans were conquering the country, Massachusetts is probably the only state in America where the Republicans were completely blanked out in all statewide offices and all Congressional districts. Is that just coincidence, or were the Republicans here possibly doing something wrong?
In April 2009 the Boston homosexual newspaper Bay Windows featured a front-page interview with newly elected Massachusetts Republican Party Chairman Jennifer Nassour. She told Bay Windows that the Party will no longer oppose same-sex "marriage", abortion, or other divisive "social issues."
In many peoples' opinion that was the beginning of the end, which culminated in a complete shutout of statewide and Congressional races in Tuesday's election.
The forced big-tent approach to morality has become the Party's official position. The pro-gay, pro-abortion Baker/Tisei team reflected it completely. And if a Republican candidate was personally pro-life or pro-traditional marriage, the apparent strategy was either to never mention it or obfuscate when asked about it.
It didn't work. It confused people. And it alienated a fairly significant part of the Republican Party base -- the part that does a lot of the actual work. At a certain point it started to look pretty ridiculous.
For example, watch this debate between Sean Bielat and Barney Frank on abortion. Bielat's handlers have him attempting to triangulate on the abortion issue. Barney Frank clearly wins this debate. It's a pathetic example of the Mass. Republican Party's strategy on social issues.
This was reflected to some extent in all the statewide campaigns and most of the Congressional campaigns.
As columnist Jeff Jacoby once observed (regarding Mitt Romney's 1994 Senate race against Ted Kennedy), if people are given the choice of a watered-down liberal and a real liberal, they will choose the real thing every time. What he might have added is that when the Republican Party caves in to more and more liberal mush, its rank and file starts to lose their zeal and enthusiasm, and it affects campaigns.
This kind of "moderate" thinking also led to other sources of Republican Party failure:
The Party avoided running against Barack Obama and his policies. After all, in a "big tent" you don't want to alienate Obama supporters. But back in January, Scott Brown won his US Senate seat running primarily as the 41st vote against Barack Obama's agenda. The "new" Republican Party hardly mentioned Obama at all. Did you see any anti-Obama ads -- reminding voters how the incumbents force-fed us Obamacare, cap and trade, takeover of the economy? Neither did we. And when Congressional candidate Bill Hudak bashed Obama, he was thrown under the bus by the Republican bigwigs. However, around the country that was the main reason for booting incumbents.
Party leaders adopted other traditionally liberal issues. For example, early on Charlie Baker announced his support for the Quinn Bill. The Quinn Bill is a program where state money pays for permanent police salary increases if they take some college courses. It was originally a gift to the policeman's union by Democrat politicians, has become very expensive, and is widely considered a boondoggle -- so much so that Democrat Gov. Deval Patrick cut much of it from the budget. So Baker was in the interesting position of being more fiscally liberal then his Democrat opponent. Not exactly a Tea Party approach to government.
All this should send a message to someone. But we're not holding our breath for this bunch to "get it" anytime soon.