Politics in the Blogosphere, 11/21/2013 Edition

A few items caught my eye in the political blogosphere these past few days. For instance, Dick Cheney never disappoints us. Even if Americans saw the loveable cuddly Mitt Romney, it wouldn’t have helped; a more likeable Romney might have meant fewer votes. Can Jeff Jacoby and I compromise by agreeing that John F. Kennedy was a conservative and Ronald Reagan a leftie?

Most importantly Larry DiCara says Marty Walsh “won the Boston mayoral race by putting together a coalition of groups that hardly spoke to one another a generation ago: blue-collar workers, African Americans and Hispanics. He did it with a lot of outside help from other unions around the country, including a big influx of campaign funds, and a powerful ground game from local unions.” Could it happen elsewhere?

To start with Larry DiCara, he has a fascinating article at Alternet, Boston’s New Labor Mayor: Could His Win Be a Progressive Blueprint for America? Labor has been getting hammered nationally but came up big in Boston.  Labor was crucial in putting together the Walsh coalition, an alliance inconceivable in Boston only a short time ago, and as Larry says, “Boston has never had a ‘labor mayor.’” Could the Walsh coalition be a new model for coalition politics in cities? Read the DiCara piece.

For sheer creepiness, dishonor, and slime no one consistently delivers like Dick Cheney. I don’t even want to get into the Cheney family dysfunction involving his married lesbian daughter Mary vs. his senate candidate Tea Party hopeful daughter Liz; other than to say I don’t know if nature or nurture is more important but the probable consequence of Dick Cheney having a child is likely to result in a Liz. No, my attention was drawn to Dick Cheney’s indifference to the person who died and left the former VP the new heart that keeps Cheney alive. Why think gloomy thoughts when it’s my heart now, says our former vice president. He is nearly a full Oz, no courage (five deferments during Vietnam) and no heart (not in the way it counts). He does have a brain but as Igor said in Young Frankenstein it is “Abby … normal.”

You might recall that Romney family members felt that if voters only knew Mitt like we know Mitt, oh oh oh what a guy. This apparently was a theme in the recent book Double Down on the campaign. But political science says it just ain’t so: a more likeable Mitt wouldn’t have mattered to the outcome.

Tuesday I wrote that hero worship in politics is misplaced using as examples recent columns by Chris Matthews on Tip O’Neill, and Jeff Jacoby on John F. Kennedy.  Mr. Jacoby maintains that since JFK favored a tax cut he must be a conservative; and I wonder since Ronald Reagan signed several tax increases, was the Gipper a closet pinko symp?

About Maurice T. Cunningham

Maurice T. Cunningham is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts at Boston. He teaches courses in American government including Massachusetts Politics, The American Presidency, Catholics in Political Life, The Political Thought of Abraham Lincoln, American Political Thought, and Public Policy. His book Maximization, Whatever the Cost: Race, Redistricting and the Department of Justice examines the role of the DOJ in requiring states to maximize minority voting districts in the Nineties. He has published articles dealing with the role of the Catholic Church in Massachusetts politics and on party politics in the state. His research interests focus upon the changing political culture of Massachusetts.
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2 Responses to Politics in the Blogosphere, 11/21/2013 Edition

  1. Tim says:

    Re: Marty Walsh

    There is definitely a push to shift the Democratic Party in a more “progressive” direction. I don’t know if Marty Walsh’s election is an actual result of that but you definitely see a lot of media discussion about it.

    The two interesting things coming in my mind that will show whether this shift is having real electoral consequences or not are the 2014 MA Gubernatorial Primary and the 2016 Democratic Presidential Primary.

    In Massachusetts Don Berwick seems to be trying to stake out the progressive side of the field but I wonder how successfully he will be(Coming out in favor of single payer healthcare). First not all progressives necessarily think Berwick is one of them. Plus Berwick seems to shifting his candidacy from a 2006 Deval Patrick model to that of a 2002 Robert Reich model. As we all know Reich did not win the primary. Given the fairly conservative nature of the MA State Democratic Party perhaps it is simply impossible for a “progressive” candidate to get the nomination over the more managerial impluses of the party for that position.

    The Elizabeth Warren for president issue has been discussed here before so I don’t having anything to add other than it might actually be easier for Warren to win the Democratic Presidential primary than for a “progressive” candidate like Berwick to become Massachusetts Governor.

  2. Maurice T. Cunningham says:

    Tim,

    Some day we need to sort out all the iterations of “progressive” — labor progressive, managerial progressive , or as I said in a post on the Sciortino ad, plain old “liberal.”

    You’re on to something. A friend just forwarded me an email from martin O’Malley extolling his recent visit to NH and proclaiming he is gearing up for a fight to raise the minimum wage.

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