Two Guys From Wakefield

04Oct12

US Senator Scott BrownThings are looking up for two of Wakefield’s most favored political sons, Scott Brown and Richard Tisei.

Brown had a good debate Monday night at UMass Lowell. They’ll never admit it, but you could tell that the Elizabeth Warren people thought she lost because they were complaining bitterly about moderator David Gregory. The side that thinks they won doesn’t complain about the moderator. Hey, media bias is a bitch, even when it’s imaginary.

Also on Monday, the Boston Globe, of all papers, published a poll that showed that Richard Tisei is leading John Tierney by six points among likely voters in the 6th Congressional District race. And if the Globe says six, what is it really?

Sen. Richard TiseiThe political ads are revealing as well. Tierney has been running a TV spot trying to smear Tisei as a right wing extremist by linking him to Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin and (gasp) the Tea Party. In the bubble that Tierney supporters move in, the Tea Party is the worst thing they can imagine, and they assume everyone thinks like they do.

The problem is that most people in the real world can actually think of worse things than the Tea Party. Furthermore, a lot of people around here actually know Richard Tisei. He’s not exactly what they think of as a poster boy for the Tea Party.

Live tweeting during Monday’s Brown-Warren debate, Warren supporters didn’t have a lot to crow about, so they complained that David Gregory wasn’t being fair to Elizabeth. Then, in the final moments, they thought they finally had Scott Brown on the ropes when he named Antonin Scalia as one of four Supreme Court Justices he admired. The college students in the Tsongas Center predictably gasped at the reference to Scalia, as the pro-Warren tweeters desperately grasped at this slender straw.

Professor Elizabeth WarrenBut like Tierney backers who think everybody hates the Tea Party, Warren’s supporters assume that all voters in Massachusetts are as horrified as they are at the mere mention of Scalia’s name. That may be true among the most hard core progressive Democrats, but they aren’t a majority of Massachusetts voters. I realize that senators have a key role in confirming Supreme Court nominees, but Brown’s “Scalia moment,” as his opponents have wishfully termed it, isn’t going to decide this senate race.

Last Monday afternoon, a gentleman carrying a clipboard accosted me in my driveway. He said that he was a retired postal worker who was back pounding the pavement on behalf of Elizabeth Warren and John Tierney. He told me that the Massachusetts Teachers Association and the Massachusetts Federation of Teachers had endorsed Warren and Tierney. He then tried to tell me that Republicans like Brown and Tisei were against public education.

Congressman John Tierney Since I know both men, I told him that I knew that to be untrue. He turned and went on his way. The canvasser struck me as one of those true-believers who had so convinced himself that all Republicans are evil that he felt perfectly justified bending the truth into a pretzel in order to save the world from the GOP.

That’s apparently what long-term one-party rule produces: a lot of people who are deeply offended by any challenge and who will say and do anything to regain and retain one-party representation on the Massachusetts congressional delegation.

Except that there are two guys from Wakefield standing in their way.

[This column originally appeared in the October 4, 2012 Wakefield Daily Item.]

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