Going After Gomez

16May13

gabriel_gomezThey say that everybody loves an underdog – unless the underdog happens to be a moderate Massachusetts Republican. The Democrats think you’re the devil incarnate, and a lot of your fellow Republicans call you a Democrat. Scott Brown heard it when he ran, and now Senate candidate Gabriel Gomez is also getting it from both sides.

Gomez, a 47 year-old businessman from Cohasset, is the latest entrant to have the unmitigated gall to challenge one-party domination of the Massachusetts congressional delegation. He’s running against Ed Markey, a 37-year congressman and, according to his TV ads, inventor of the smart phone.

Gabriel Gomez has amassed significant wealth as a successful capitalist, which is apparently a bad thing in Massachusetts, at least if the successful businessman is a Republican. Being a member of the one percent wasn’t seen as a problem for Sen. Elizabeth Warren or for former senator John Kerry. What do you suppose the difference was?

Unlike Scott Brown, Gomez never posed for Cosmopolitan, so his enemies have had to work harder to find ways to dust him up. One of the angles they’ve been pushing is the $281,500 historic preservation tax deduction Gomez took on his Cohasset home in 2005. They claim he wasn’t entitled to take it and have labeled it a “scam.”

As scandals go, a legal “historic preservation tax deduction” doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. Besides, if anybody really cared, Gomez’s opponents – the same folks who were silent in 2010 when John Kerry tried to avoid $500,000 in Massachusetts taxes on his yacht – wouldn’t have to push it quite so hard.

gomez_wifeThe tax deduction is just one of the ways that his opponents have tried to paint Gomez as a stereotypically selfish, cold-hearted Republican. In fact, Gomez is so mean-spirited that he married a former Peace Corps volunteer whom he met when she was working at a school for special needs children in the West Indies.

Much has been made of Gomez as a former Navy SEAL. But seldom mentioned is Ed Markey’s military service. Markey served in the United States Army Reserve from 1968 to 1973. Remember when George W. Bush was running for president and some of the same people now enthusiastically supporting Markey called Bush a draft dodger for serving in the Air National Guard from 1968 to 1974? I’ll go out on a limb and say the different treatment isn’t related to the branches they served in.

Despite his opponents’ efforts to paint him as a right-winger, Gomez, like Scott Brown before him, isn’t any reasonable person’s idea of an ultraconservative. Even some purist Republicans are turning up their noses at Gomez as just another RINO and threatening to stay home on June 25.

Now that’s a strategy even a Democrat could get behind.

[This column originally appeared in the May 16, 2013 Wakefield Daily Item.]

Follow me on twitter: @markssardella

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