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Arthur Schaper: Markey-Gomez: Can A ‘Different’ Republican Win?

Saturday, June 15, 2013

 

Gomez is a "New Republican"–can he do better than those that came before him?

2013 seems like 2010 again in Massachusetts, where Bay State residents will endure another special election. In 2010, Bay State voters replaced the lionizing liberal Ted Kennedy, whose untimely demise for Old Mass was a Big Win for the GOP and the rest of the country, permitted a lone, with an unknown state senator from Wrentham, Scott Brown, who roared up from behind by double-digits to taking the "People's Seat" by five points, beating out a long-established liberal Attorney Martha Coakley, who could not ride the coat-tails of the flagging President Obama nor his unpopular ObamaCare health insurance mandate.

Now 2013, yet not six months prior, the junior-made-senior US Senator John Kerry receives the nod for Secretary of State, replacing the unabashed yet embarrassed Hillary Clinton, with Benghazi on her back, stilling looking "Forward!" to a 2016 Presidential run.

With Kerry carried away by the diplomacy brigade, another US Senate seat lies vacant in Massachusetts. Scott Brown lost his reelection bid to Elizabeth "Faux-cahontas" Warren by the same margin which had earned him the state just two years before. He would have been better represented, without a national anchor–Romney–dragging his chances in another special election for Kerry's seat. Most likely concerned about the wear and tear on his family, along with the campaign fatigue of running a third state-wide run in three years, with a fourth in his future should he win again, Brown stepped down from politicking for the time being. Rumors suggest not so much a gubernatorial bid to replace Deval Patrick, but a carpetbagger-turn in "Granite State" New Hampshire against former US House Rep and Governor Jean Shaheen.

With Brown out, Massachusetts Republicans scrambled for another Republican to run for Kerry's seat. "Openly gay" real estate agent and former state senator Richard Tisei ran a strong yet losing campaign for the Sixth Congressional District against John "My Wife's the Gambling Criminal" Tierney, yet the incumbent squeaked into reelection by one percentage point. Finally, three GOP contenders emerged: Gabriel Gomez, a private financier and former Navy Seal, squared off against Michael Sullivan and Daniel Winslow. Despite the political name recognition and newspaper endorsements for Sullivan, Colombian-American Gabriel Gomez won the primary for the GOP nomination.

The Democrats had two strong contenders in their primary, both House Reps with a representation for liberalism unchecked: John Lynch of South Boston, and Edward Markey Malden, by way of Chevy Chase, Maryland. After more than three decades of a middling record of tax increases, influence peddling, and Cap and Trade carping with fellow climate-change comrade Henry Waxman (D-Los Angeles/South Bay), Markey won the US Senate primary. The blogs and the comments went fast and furious (not to be confused with the gun-running scandal along the US-Mexico border, of course). Democrats who had supported Lynch would not budge an inch for Ed "Malarkey, Marx-ey, Crypt-Keeper" Markey.

Gomez is photogenic, youthful, a soldier, and has no prior dabbling in politics and governance, (or "anti-Markey", to be brief) which in Massachusetts may be the winning element. Then again, a politician who cannot pride himself on anything but his mansion in the Washington D.C. suburbs has gotten reelected time and again in his Malden-Medford constituency, and the Bay State, with its 11% Republican registration, will prove difficult for anyone moderate or moderately conservative, even a "New Republican" like Gomez, to capture the proverbial "lightning in the bottle" as Wrentham state senator Brown had done three years before.

Right away, polls announced Markey at 44% with Gomez at 40%. Even in liberal Massachusetts, Markey is an out-of-touch elitist (a redundancy to the rest of us, but a tautology still lost on Bostonians). Gomez has his ethnic background, a plus for Republicans since the party still insists that they lost the "Brown Vote" (in reality, it was the "Non-White Vote," i.e. the White Vote did not vote). Markey and Gomez have been slinging mud ever since. With the Obama administration sinking under scores of scandals (AP, EPA, IRS, Benghazi, OMG!), with ObamaCare wreaking havoc on businesses, including medical device companies in Massachusetts, Markey has much munching against him. He opposed the tax, though, yet voted for it all the same (much like predecessor Kerry and authorization for the Iraq War).

Gomez, pro "Gay Marriage" yet "Pro Life", claims to be a "different" Republican. Critics see a darker version of Mitt Romney, because he earned lots of money (Markey drove an ice cream truck, then entered politics). After two nasty unsubstantial debates, filled with "taking points" per Boston Globe's Jeff Jacoby, Markey still has missed the mark, but Gomez is not going as strong, either. A debilitated and disillusioned electorate signals a wider win for the Malden-Maryland middling politician.

According to MSNBC's Chuck Todd, Markey-Gomez is like the ho-hum LA mayoral race (Garcetti won, I think). With a low voter turnout, Markey will win, so Gomez must fire against the Democratic Machine. Perhaps voter apathy will signal that voters have stopped looking to Washington for answers. Markey in the US Senate may end a viable Massachusetts GOP comeback (But do the voters care?)

 

Arthur Christopher Schaper is a teacher-turned-writer on topics both timeless and timely; political, cultural, and eternal. A life-long Southern California resident, Arthur currently lives in Torrance.

 

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