The conflict between former Republican senate candidate Gabriel Gomez and redmassgroup blogger Rob Eno over the past several days illustrates problems faced by conservatives in Massachusetts: a thin bench that elevates low-quality candidates for statewide office, and an activist element that may ignite the passions of the faithful but sometimes offends those who are not in its tiny band of true believers.
Gomez started this skirmish so let’s begin with him. Before running for the Senate, Gomez had run once for selectman in his hometown and lost. In the Senate special election Republican primary Gomez defeated two more established candidates, then State Representative Dan Winslow and former State Representative and former U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan. Either would likely have been a stronger general election candidate, but Gomez had something they didn’t have: money (mostly his own).
As my colleague Professor Ubertaccio tweeted the other day if Gomez is seriously planning a candidacy in 2014, associating party members with the Klan is a pretty poor way to launch a campaign. The prior weekend Gomez had tweeted of Mr. Eno and Republican activist Chris Pinto that their “level of ignorance and intolerance exhibited by them and their small ‘Klan’ are an embarrassment to our civil society.’” The affair went on for several days but my favorite part was when Gomez declared that of course he didn’t mean Ku Klux Klan; if he did he would have simply said “KKK.” Maybe he really meant Wu Tang Clan and got confused?
But then Gomez really isn’t a serious person at all. Back in the Senate race, Gomez went about in favor of term limits, a line item veto, and cutting off congressional pay until a budget is done. They all sound great but unfortunately each proposal is unconstitutional. He wanted to be Deval Patrick’s Republican in the Senate, then decided he wanted to be the Republican Party’s Republican in the Senate. He was strongly in favor of gun rights, then for gun control.
Gomez is dizzyingly unserious but the party has very little behind him.
As for redmassgroup, it is a mixture of concerned posts focused upon the prospects of the Republican Party, and impassioned and sometimes vitriolic resentments. According to The Boston Globe, “On Monday, (Gomez) criticized Red Mass Group for its views on issues from ‘immigration reform to gay marriage to how to deal the economy and everything — it’s just not productive.’” Note that RMG is an open forum; many of the posts are not contributed by Mr. Eno.
However, Mr. Eno does have to own a post (link to RMG embedded here) in which he wrote that “Leave now (sic) mistake about it, Deval Patrick knows where his post gubernatorial bread is buttered. That’s in the race hustling industry.” A commenter then posted that “Deval has always been a workhorse for the race pimps…” When I tweeted about this Mr. Eno responded “what would you call repeatedly profiting off of racism that is real or sometimes perceived then?”
So here you have two strains within the Republican Party represented by Mr. Gomez and Mr. Eno, one floundering around with no mooring in principle, the other trafficking in views one might associate with the old State’s Rights Party.
On the bright side, no word on a Bill Hudak candidacy in 2014.