The Ugly History of the MA-GOP:
It’s time Republicans and Republican leaning voters send a clear message to the MA-GOP. For decades we’ve tolerated mediocre Republican Governors, telling ourselves: “that’s the best we can do in Massachusetts.” Sure, we’re not likely to elect someone like Scott Walker or Mike Pence to the corner office on Beacon Hill anytime soon. But we can certainly do better than the likes of Bill Weld and his boy wonder Charlie Baker, who not only are as far left on a plethora of issues as Bernie Sanders, but they have become notorious for undermining Republicans, from mayoral contenders right up to presidential nominees.
The policies of these feckless RINOs (Republicans in Name Only) are bad enough. Yet, if it were just a matter of policy, one could conceivably justify holding one’s nose, voting for the proverbial lessor of two evils. After all party loyalty counts for something. But these self-serving political prostitutes have thrown party loyalty out the door. Furthermore, they have gone out of their way to stifle any attempt build a party infrastructure; such as was built in 1980s by the late Ray Shamie.
For those that don’t know the history and inside baseball; I’m going to going to take you on a trip down memory lane.
During the dark, dark days of the Dukakis administration, Ray Shamie quietly set forth on a mission to rebuild the MA-GOP from the bottom up. He focused on Town and Ward Committees and finding good candidates to run for lower office. He was a solid conservative himself, but he stayed away from ideological dogma. Instead he encouraged candidates to run their own races, based on their own local issues.
Shamie’s approach paid off. In 1990, we had a wave election in Massachusetts. We elected a Bill Weld Governor and Joe Malone Treasurer. We also elected 16 State Senators (enough to uphold a veto). Moreover, had between 5 and 6 thousands votes in total across 5 districts gone the other way, the Republicans would have elected 21 State Senators, giving us the Majority. We also increased House Republican Caucus from 32 to 38.
The following election in 1992 was a Presidential year. Bill Clinton won the state in landslide. But because the machine Shamie had built was still working well, Massachusetts elected two Republican Congressmen, Peter Blute and Peter Torkildsen.
This electoral success, was not primarily based on the moderate ideology espoused by these candidates. We enjoyed these victories because the MA-GOP was viable party, that had an organized infrastructure at local level. We had boots on the ground to do all that is required to mount successful campaigns.
Enter Bill Weld. Weld learned quickly that he could gain more personally, if he betrayed his own party and helped stifle challenges to Democrats in Legislature. Likewise the House Speaker and Senate President, discovered newfound power they never had with a Democrat in Corner Office. And so the unholy bargain was struck.
Weld started to demolish all the Ray Shamie build, immediately directing all party resources to himself. The Democrat Leadership in turn, started rolling out a list of pitiful politicos to run for Governor — Who can forget the immortal Mark Roosevelt?
Cellucci continued the same Corner Office Only policy. His reward in 1998 was one feckless Scott Harshbarger as an opponent. Mitt Romney’s 2002 opponent — another total lightweight that was shafted by her own leadership, namely Shannon O’Brien.
By the time Mittens took over, the destruction of the MA-GOP was complete. The Legislature was 85% Democrat. With those numbers the Democrats could override a veto every day of the week and twice on Sundays.
Romney to his credit understood things had to change and actually made a token effort to recruit legislative candidates. The problem is that he didn’t target the right districts. He was distracted, already planning to bail and run for President.
So let’s fast forward to 2010. Charlie Baker ran a lousy campaign. Having been coached by the uber-leftist, self-serving, and often incoherently drunk, Bill Weld, Baker ran to the hard and very extreme left. He didn’t just alienate the base, he went out of the way to poke us in the eye at every opportunity. As a result the base rejected him at the polls, many just stayed home. He was such a drag on the ticket, that one could argue he cost Sean Bielat his race against Barney Frank.
He spent the next 4 years doing a makeover. He campaigned for down ticket Republicans of across the ideological spectrum and he reached out the base, promising that he would not interfere with MA-GOP Platform. And he garnered the support of some us who hoped he’d continue to work ALL Republicans up and down the ticket.
But even then he showed signs of returning to the Corner Office Only. In February of 2014, he attended the Watertown Delegate Caucus, which I chaired. As he explained his campaign strategy, he made it point to state (in front of about 30 witnesses) he needed a low turnout to win. He then got very specific. He said (and I’ll paraphrase): We can’t afford a competitive race for U.S. Senate. That will cause the Democrats to spend Federal money in Massachusetts to defend Ed Markey, thus driving up their turnout. Hmm well that explains a lot doesn’t it?
Follow this – Scott Brown lost a relatively close race to Elizabeth Warren. Say what you will about Brown, he was popular in the State. He could have easily defeated Ed Markey in 2014. He would have crushed him in the 2013 Special Election. But he chose not to run. Why? Do you really think he thought he had a better shot in New Hampshire? Read between the lines folks. Brown was strong-armed by the Baker led, corrupt cabal running the MA-GOP to get out of Dodge.
So why does the MA-GOP Leadership put up with this? Aren’t they interested in building viable party in Massachusetts? The answer is flat out NO. See the Corner Office Only policy serves their interest. The Governor hands out the political patronage. Heck nearly half the State Committee members are bought and paid for hacks, many with patronage jobs. One State Committeeman, who son was given a life time appointment as Judge, actually defended this corruption on Facebook thread. Here is State Committeeman Thomas Stanton’s direct quote:
“If we abandon our efforts to win the Governorship we might all just leave the GOP and become Democrats. If you have a better answer for all the loyal Republicans who seek a career in state government you should say it. I am sure no one wants to give up the corner office just to die for a cause.”
But it doesn’t end there folks. It is blatantly obvious the MA-GOP Overlords, the MA-GOP Chair, the Governor, and the inept Brain Trust on Merrimac Street have ZERO interest in increasing the number of Republican Legislators on Beacon Hill. Even the House Minority Leader, Brad Jones is on this scam. He doesn’t want a larger Republican Caucus, for fear of losing his position as minority leader. He actually hired a staff member that serves on the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) Political Committee. Her name is Andrea Crupi and the NARAL Political Committee works to defeat mostly Republicans. These also happen to be the Republican in State House, that didn’t support Jones as minority leader. Jones went to so far as to actively support Ms. Crupi to fill a vacancy on the MA-GOP State Committee. So he wanted someone, dedicated to defeating Republicans, to have access to all the MA-GOP donor data, voter data, and internal strategies!
Oh, the MA-GOP and Baker give lip-service to electing more Republicans to Beacon Hill. But here are the facts. In 2012, a year when Mitt Romney and Scott Brown lost statewide, there were over a dozen districts in the State that voted for them. And you guessed it. Those districts are represented by Democrats that haven’t been challenged years, if not decades. Those same districts voted for Trump in 2016. Yet Kirsten Hughes who makes nearly a 6 figure salary as MA-GOP Chair doesn’t have political savvy to actively recruit candidates to run in those districts. You would think every one of those geniuses, with political science degrees, working on Merrimac Street would have list of those districts on their desk. They should be making calls to the local committee chairs on a weekly basis and their respective State Committee members, urging them to find candidates in these districts. Moreover, they should be committing resources to those districts, so the potential candidates, can have some confidence of support instead of a knife in the back.
But Chairman Hughes only does what’s told to do by Baker … same as every Chair has done the bidding for the Governor ONLY since Bill Weld. Never was it more obvious that’s she just lackey, than during the 2016 Presidential Election. On weekly basis or more, she sent out emails with her lip service about voting for down ticket candidates and for Charlie Baker’s positions on two ballot questions. Never once did mention that there was Presidential Election, let alone that we should support the Republican nominee Donald Trump. Of course we know why. Baker publicly stated he wasn’t supporting Trump. Do we need more evidence that Baker is a corrupt traitor that treats MA-GOP resources as his play thing?
And this brings back to where I started this column. It’s time we send a loud a message to Baker and MA-GOP on November 6th. Republicans, if you want to viable party in the future, we need new leadership. We get out and vote for every Republican on the ticket, except for Charlie Baker and Karen Polito. If Baker is defeated, all those bought and paid for hacks on the State Committee, will lose their Political Patronage jobs. Many will resign as they’re only in it for patronage. Others will stop going to meetings. Moreover, Baker won’t be in position to spend the raise and spend the millions in dark money to elect more hacks to State Committee, like he did in 2016.
Wait a minute you might say! That means we might have another Democrat like Deval Patrick as Governor. Won’t that be horrible? Yes it will be. But when you think about it, Baker is virtually the same on policies and on those rare occasions when he finds it politically expedient to oppose the Democrats or locates his political gonads, they simply override his veto. So having a feckless “Republican” Governor, that’s really a Liberal Democrat, does the Commonwealth no good.
Yes, Jay Gonzales as our next Governor will painful. But the situation calls for strong medicine. Cancer patients need chemotherapy and radiation. The side effects of which are painful. Charlie Baker is indeed nothing less an intolerable malignancy afflicting the MA-GOP. His cronies that make up over half the State Committee, the National Committee Ron Kaufman, the National Committeewoman Keiko Orrall, the Chair Kirsten Hughes, are metastatic tumors that infest the body. So yes it will be painful in short run. But we must rebuild, just as Ray Shamie did. Baker and his corrupt cabal are standing in way.
Chairman Watertown Republican Town Committee
President Chapter 5 MA Republican Assembly