Deval Patrick’s “City Upon a Hill”

Politicians from John F. Kennedy to Ronald Reagan have invoked John Winthrop’s “city upon a hill” phrase for political effect but few have embodied the phrase in the manner of Governor Deval Patrick, who seemingly alone among America’s governors is willing to extend a welcome to immigrant children who have flooded across our Southern borders. Winthrop’s speech was much more than a memorable phrase; it was a Model of Christian Charity, a call for those who enjoy the blessings of life to care for the less well off. Deval Patrick is brave in his willingness to live up to the commonwealth’s foundational document.   Continue reading

Posted in Mass Politics, U.S. Politics | Tagged , | 15 Comments

Martha Coakley Wins the Day

The Democratic insider narrative on Martha Coakley has been great AG, awful campaigner, way ahead in the primary due to name recognition, but “she could unravel at any moment in a tough general election race.’’

Perhaps we’ll see about the general election but Democrats, give Coakley some credit: she can be a pretty sharp campaigner as she proved yesterday in response to misogynistic statements by a sports talk radio host. Continue reading

Posted in Mass Politics | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Remembering Ernest Gruening

I’m just back from a vacation to Alaska and family fun to a political scientist means you visit the State House. There on the walls were duplications of newspaper stories proudly recalling Alaska statehood in 1959 including photographs of one of the most important politicians in achieving statehood, Ernest Gruening.

That name may have faded from memory but it should be recalled and honored. Senator Ernest Gruening was one of only two United States Senators to oppose the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which permitted President Lyndon B. Johnson to escalate the War in Vietnam. Johnson’s case for war, by the way, was based on lies, if that should sound familiar at all. Continue reading

Posted in U.S. Politics | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Who benefits by serial allegations of corruption? The US Attorney’s Office

If federal prosecutors hoped the trial of John O’Brien might have focused our collective attention on the sins of political patronage, they seem to have failed.  It’s the power of the US Attorney’s office that increasingly draws scrutiny.  And not for the first time. Continue reading

Posted in Mass Politics, U.S. Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Our Immigrant Future

Recently I’ve been working on an article on political cultures in Massachusetts and returned to the Yeomen, a group I’ve discussed here before. The small town Yeomen of years past are gone but the Tea Party carries on. I’ve compared the Tea Party to the Know-Nothings but that was very unfair to the Nineteenth Century Americanists. The Know-Nothings were actually forward looking on many policies in Massachusetts, including economic, women’s rights, and school integration.

In their Nativist dislike of immigrants however, the Know-Nothings and Tea Party are similar. And listen, who could have guessed that the Irish would turn out alright? But we had better keep the welcome mat out for Latino and Asian immigrants in Massachusetts; they are our future. Continue reading

Posted in Mass Politics | Tagged | 6 Comments

“New Cape, Olde Cape”: Barnstable 1’s State Representative Race

This time last year, we were knee deep in the first open-seat Boston mayoral race in some twenty years. One of the common themes of the race was differentiating the relative influence of “New Boston” and “Old Boston.” As WGBH’s Callie Crossley and others describe the dichotomy, New Boston is more racially diverse and younger while old Boston conjures forth the machine style politics of older, predominantly white male ethnics. Given the racial and age diversity in the 2013 mayoral race (but not so much gender …an Old Boston theme sadly transcendent), some key questions became: Would “New Boston” turnout? Who would they turnout for? Was “Old Boston” willing to vote for younger and more diverse candidates? Continue reading

Posted in Cape Cod Politics, Mass Politics | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Mass Politics: Ambition Welcome

An appreciation of political culture is very important to effective campaign strategy at any level. The way in which candidates deal with the question of political ambition (theirs and/or their opponents) reveals a lot about how well a campaign understands the cultural assumptions of voters. Continue reading

Posted in Mass Politics, Political Analysis in the Media, U.S. Politics, Western Mass Politics | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Who Were Those Delegates Anyway?

During the recent debate over the utility of the party conventions some critics like the Boston Globe’s Scot Lehigh criticized the conventions for excluding decent candidates like Juliette Kayyem, while Professor Ubertaccio and I defended the right of political parties to make their own nominating decisions. One columnist’s back-room insider is another professor’s dedicated party activist perhaps.

A more important issue though might be, who are those delegates anyway? And what do they represent? Continue reading

Posted in Mass Politics | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Residency rules, democratic life, rule of law

The debate over residency requirements for municipal employees in Boston has heated up in response to Mayor Marty Walsh’s suggestion to relax the rule and a Boston Globe report showing how often the rule is flouted. The deeper debate is an old one, raising issues of both democratic society and the rule of law. Continue reading

Posted in Boston Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Republican Revolution? Not This Way

Before and even after the recent state party nominating conventions my colleague Professor Ubertaccio and I engaged the Boston Globe’s Scot Lehigh in a friendly and spirited debate over the fifteen percent rule. Underlying the points we were making is a healthy respect for the role that political parties play in our democracy. Political parties are not popular with the public and some columnists but as Professor Duquette explained recently, they have many essential functions.

So I read with interest Jim Sullivan’s piece in Capital on June 27, The Republican Revolution Is Underway. Maybe.

Four million dollars in five years to help Republican state legislative candidates sounds pretty good. But the money isn’t going to the Republican State Committee, it’s going to a SuperPAC and affiliated non-profit that will operate outside of the state party framework. Is this any way to build a party? Continue reading

Posted in Mass Politics | Tagged , | 3 Comments