Author Archives: Maurice T. Cunningham
A while back I wrote of the US Senate special election that the known-knowns favor the Democrat. That was written before the primaries that gave us nominees Ed Markey and Gabriel Gomez and holds true today. But what about the unknown-unknowns?
Sunday’s Boston Globe story on Michael McLaughlin reminds me again of the oddity of the proceedings against him. Usually prosecutors offer a soft deal to a lesser criminal figure so he’ll turn on a bigger fish. In McLaughlin’s case US Attorney Carmen Ortiz seems willing to go soft on the whale to reel in a few guppies.
Wednesday I recorded a radio interview for WUMB’s public affairs program Commonwealth Journal with John Rosenthal, founder and chairman of Stop Handgun Violence. He argued that massacres like Sandy Hook, Columbine, Aurora, and Virginia Tech are not only good for business, but part of the business plan of Smith & Wesson, Sturm, Ruger, and Cerberus Capital Management, which owns Freedom Group, manufacturer of the Bushmaster rifle used in the massacre in Newtown CT. Mass murder for profit? How could this be?
The Internal Revenue Service targeting conservative organizations, the changing Benghazi story, and now we find that the Department of Justice obtained two months of phone records from reporters and editors of Associated Press. It isn’t quite truthiness but is it time for Stephen Colbert to add another new word to our political lexicon?
I listened with interest to Professor Ubertaccio’s remarks on the Clash Over the People’s Pledge kerfuffle between Ed Markey and Gabriel Gomez. Markey is calling for Gomez to sign the pledge to limit outside spending in the race, Gomez refuses. Tim Buckley, spokesman for the Massachusetts Republican Party, calls Markey a hypocrite for taking money from industries he oversees, Markey replies that every dime he has raised has been publicly disclosed.
Does disclosure matter?
Interesting stuff on themonkeycage symposium on 2012 campaign effects. First, John Sides argues that despite all the media hype, the Obama field organization was barely more effective than that of Romney. “Yet, as some academics have pointed out – the final vote margins were very close to predictions that would be obtained with no effect of the campaign, indicating that, perhaps, the new campaign techniques had minimal effects or that Obama’s advantage was neutralized by an equally savvy Romney campaign.” Sides goes on to argue that both candidate’s mobilization campaigns were effective in increasing turnout, but that there was not much difference in effectiveness. Pundits and even academics overestimated the Obama advantage.
Media stories on the US Senate race between Democratic Congressman Ed Markey and Republican Gabriel Gomez are breathlessly describing Gomez as a 2013 version of 2010 Scott Brown: independent, moderate, handsome, wears a cool jacket, and a grave danger to the Democrats (which also describes 2012 Scott Brown). Why, Public Policy Polling shows Markey with only a four point lead! Danger for the Democrats?
The MassPoliticsProfs are attending the annual meeting of the New England Political Science Association today but I leave you this to ponder: What is the value of political science? A recent paper by Ronald Rogowski of Princeton has a discouraging answer: politicians ignore social science research unless it confirms their own biases or those of their constituents. They don’t like a lot of research because it disproves their favored positions.
I first found the paper on the indispensable themonkeycage.org.
The few Massachusetts voters who turned out on primary day might have regretted it if they watched Gabriel Gomez’s and Ed Markey’s acceptance speeches. Dreadful is a mild word for the consultant-constructed confections each candidate conveyed.
Lost in the wake of the Marathon bombing and the senate race was John O’Brien’s good news-bad news week. The good news for the former Probation commissioner was he was found not guilty of bribery charges brought in the state court. The bad news was a superseding indictment in federal court charging him with seventeen counts of bribery.
In the realm of political culture, is this just another case of Puritan prosecutors like Carmen Ortiz and Martha Coakley attacking Irish politicians like John O’Brien and Tim Cahill?