Gomez Still Not Ready for Primetime

Gabriel Gomez’s recent outburst at conservative activists included the following line: “[T]he level of ignorance and intolerance exhibited by them and their small ‘Klan’ are an embarrassment to our civil society.” Likening right wing activists to the KKK isn’t particularly radical, but Gomez later decided that an apology was in order. It was this apology that signaled Gomez’s lack of fitness for electoral politics.

On his Facebook page Gomez prefaced his apology with a line about how real leaders admit their mistakes. In other words, he took credit for his apology even before making it. According to the Boston Globe article linked above, Gomez also tried to deny that he was likening the targets of his criticism to the KKK, saying “If I wanted to refer to the Ku Klux Klan, I would have just said KKK.” Just as the cover ups tend to be worse than the crimes in politics, sometimes the apologies are worse for pols than the rhetorical crimes alleged. What this 0-2 pol’s ham fisted explanation tells us is that Mr. Gomez is too insecure and not quick enough on his feet to be a big league pol.

If Gabriel Gomez wants to be a politician, he needs to start very small and learn the basics. Unfortunately, even that may not be enough if what we’ve seen of him reflects his personality and temperament rather than just his place on the learning curve. The problem is that Mr. Gomez thinks that earning 45% of the vote in a U.S. Senate election is proof of his potential. What he doesn’t seem to realize is that “he” didn’t get 45%, the Republican nominee did. Any of the three candidates who ran for that nomination would have matched Gomez’s percentage in the general election because contemporary Massachusetts U.S. Senate elections are about political partisanship much more than they are about the candidates, a reality that neither Gomez nor his predecessor Scott Brown have ever been able to accept, though Brown’s move to the more Republican friendly Granite State may signal his advancement on the learning curve in this respect at least.

About Jerold Duquette

Jerold Duquette is an associate professor of political science at Central Connecticut State University. He is the author of Regulating the National Pastime: Baseball and Antitrust and has published articles and book chapters on campaign finance reform, political parties, Massachusetts politics and political culture, public opinion, and political socialization. Professor Duquette lives in Longmeadow, MA with his wife and four children.
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