I recently discussed how bad economics can be good politics. In the last couple of weeks Republicans have tested the proposition that bad foreign policy can be good domestic politics. Efforts to discredit a Commander-in-Chief amidst efforts to deal with a still unfolding foreign policy crisis may not be entirely unprecedented, but the scale and intensity of present Republican efforts in this regard surely are. Continue reading
I’ve recently read a terrific book recommended by Professor Duquette, The Outrage Industry: Political Opinion Media and the New Incivility by Tufts professors Jeffrey M. Berry and Sarah Sobieraj. Lucky for me, Professor Berry came over to UMass Boston for an interview with me that will air on Commonwealth Journal WUMB radio 91.9 FM Sunday March 9 at 7:00 PM.I hope you will tune in and let me tempt you with a little preview of this important book and its cast of characters: Rush Limbaugh, Rachel Maddow, Glenn Beck, etc. Continue reading
The presumptive 2014 Republican nominee for Governor, Charlie Baker, will have to campaign hard to win in November simply because the state of affairs in the Bay State is pretty good and the outgoing Democratic governor, despite concerted efforts by rightwing pols and pundits, will exit the stage to general applause. Unfortunately for Baker he has the additional burden of his political party’s very unpopular brand in Massachusetts. Continue reading
Recently the Boston Globe ran a story detailing how Independent candidate for governor Jeffrey McCormick either did or did not play fast and loose to avoid or not avoid income and capital gains taxes in Massachusetts.
I hope that’s clear.
In December 2009 McCormick bought a condo in Portsmouth, NH and in mortgage documents said it would be his principal residence. New Hampshire has no capital gains or income taxes which might come in handy if you happened to be a resident who made a $640 million profit a week before the closing, as McCormick and his firm did. But then McCormick’s tax returns for the relevant years list Massachusetts as his primary residence. So where was he?
Gosh, what might Abraham Lincoln say about something like this? Continue reading
I spend a lot of time in this space exposing the folly of anti-intellectual political punditry. The Boston Globe’s Jeff Jacoby is a prime example of a highly partisan, rigidly ideological, and highly anti-intellectual media pundit. His writing is almost always entirely unconvincing to all but the most committed politically conservative readers, which is why his latest column (“The Value of Preaching to the Unconverted”) must have induced more than its share of spit takes at Sunday morning breakfast tables around New England yesterday morning. Continue reading
In today’s Boston Globe Professor Ubertaccio and Professor Cunningham publish an op-ed arguing that the 15-percent rule at party caucuses contributes to democracy. The profs bolster their conclusion with four reasons that the caucuses serve the Massachusetts political system well — and unlike Rick Perry, they even remember all the reasons. Click on the link and read the Globe op-ed piece.
A couple of weeks ago I attempted to immunize readers from Charles Krauthammer’s dishonest and illogical claims about Obamacare. Today, I am compelled to expose the good doctor’s latest insult to his readers’ intelligence. In his most recent climate change denial column Krauthammer uses what I assume he thinks of as clever subtlety to lie about President Obama’s take on climate change and to give comfort to his anti-science fellows and followers. Continue reading
Painful as the expulsion of Rep. Carlos Henriquez may have been for House members, it could have been worse. When Representative Frank Gethro was expelled in 1906, he was at the center of a bribery scandal in which the local district attorney subpoenaed the entire House. This was a problem because many of the legislators had in fact been taking bribes to kill a bill outlawing “bucket shops,” shady brokerage businesses that competed with established houses. For a scandal of that magnitude the House sought the one attorney who could deal with such monumental outrage, as Patrick S. Halley relates in his book Daniel Coakley: America’s Most Corrupt Politician. Continue reading
Professor Ubertaccio stood up for the Democratic Party’s 15% rule yesterday against the combined might of Boston Globe columnists Scot Lehigh and Joan Vennochi. Lehigh argues that the party requirement robs voters of a wider range of voices in the primary. Vennochi criticizes party insiders deciding what the people alone should determine. Professor Ubertaccio replied that in fact the caucus and convention system is a positive boon for self-government.
Let me add two additional reasons to support Professor Ubertaccio’s case. The caucus/convention system adds a counterweight in favor of the citizen versus big money influence; and the organization bolstered by the system pays off politically. Continue reading
If only Globe columnists could vote, the 15% rule at party conventions would be thrown into the rubbish bin.
First, Scot Lehigh called the 15% convention rule “not a system designed to serve voters well.” Yesterday, Joan Vennochi wrote that this meager threshold is the equivalent of “the Massachusetts Democratic Party exercising power by taking power away from the people.”
As our friend George Will might say, “Well.” Continue reading