In a recent Main Street Journal, Tom Hill, a former Democratic Party leader, wrote a column about betrayal and tied it to local politicians. Mr. Hill has always enjoyed his role as a political power broker. Even retired he still likes to imply he controls the local political scene. This column demonstrated just how distant Democrats have found themselves from the districts they find themselves writing about and representing. It has always bothered Mr. Hill that Republicans and Democrats will work together locally. In the column, he discusses his anger at Democratic Mayor Nancy Stevens endorsing Republican Arthur Vigeant for State Representative in 2008. He brags about banning Stevens from attending the Democratic Convention in 2009 as punishment. In the middle of highly contested Democratic local elections, it was an odd time for this theme.
This demonstrates how out of touch Hill is with voters in the area. Most of us celebrate a Mayor who will cross party lines to support the best candidates. Voters want representatives that share their values of finding candidates who will act in the best interest of the district, not for the party. Mr. Hill failed to mention in this article that Republicans have crossed party lines to support Democrats targeted by Mr. Hill. Leaving that information out of the column continues to demonstrate his strong belief that party, not protecting the best interest of residents, is his goal.
Later in the article Hill discusses how Mayor Stevens has since lost support of City Councilors implying there was betrayal. She crossed party lines and now they have left her hanging after her sacrifice. In fact, Mayor Stevens has left the coalition that made her first two terms successful. As a voter, I was actively engaged in her first election, still engaged in the second, and a reluctant voter in her third term. This has followed her pattern of governing. In her first term, she worked to improve the communication between the City Council and the Mayor’s office with amazing results. Watching the City Council meetings one could see a positive change in how legislative issues were managed. Sadly, communication between Mayor Stevens and the council has disintegrated. She was fortunate as she ran for her third term that no serious challenger emerged. Like many Democrats, Mr. Hill fails to understand the reason Democrats are struggling. Ms. Stevens’ issues with the City Council have little to do with loyalty and much to do with her own failure to maintain the policies and procedures that made her first term so successful.
In the same way, Democrats are not focused on the issues in this election. When given a chance to discuss economic issues, Danielle Gregoire, State Representative, tells voters in a Main Street Journal article that she has does not have a list of accomplishments to share because the legislature is a team effort. She feels each Representative is assigned tasks according to their strengths. It is confusing to understand why having a representative who is not identified as competent by her Democrat peers to participate in important legislative issues is a plus for our district. Voters should understand what Ms. Gregoire’s philosophy of being a legislator means for their future.
Jim McGovern continues to attack his opponent Marty Lamb without ever addressing his responsibility for our economic issues. As I read the literature that arrives at my home, I am struck by the lack of positive accomplishments and the focus on negative, angry rhetoric about his opponent. There is nothing in the literature that appeals to intelligent voters to turn to McGovern as an educated choice. Instead voters are assaulted with anger and fear of a candidate faced with a challenger for the first time in years. McGovern could have chosen to approach voters with a positive attitude and a healthy debate on the future of the district. Voters instead have been assaulted with arrogance and attitude.
As results come in for Barney Frank and Deval Patrick, the Democratic Party will have more to digest about a tough election year. They may have wins, but those wins will be costly. New voters have emerged and while they may not win in this election, they will be better prepared for 2012.
Jim Ash, “Candidates Make Their Case” ,Main Street Journal
Tom Hill, “Another Political Betrayal” ,Main Street Journal