Saturday, October 21, 2006

Christy Mihos: the last of the true Massachusetts Republicans

It's election time here in Massachusetts. We've got a Senate race where a gadfly is challenging Senator Ted Kennedy. We've got ten House races where there's no real opposition to any of the incumbents. And we've got a governor's race, which is actually interesting. A little bit interesting, anyway. It's an open seat, with Governor Mitt Romney dropping out early to run for president, as he's been doing since he was elected Governor of Massachusetts in 2002. Four candidates are trying to fill the job, though the race is far from tight.

Deval Patrick looks like a shoo-in at this point. Patrick will probably be the first Democratic governor in this state in sixteen years. His nearest competitor is Republican Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey, Romney's hand-picked successor, whose shrill campign is running far behind Patrick's. There's Grace Ross, a Green candidate who's managing around 1% of the vote in nearly every poll. And last—but certainly not least—is Mr. Christy Mihos, an independent candidate whose campaign has been more of a thorn in Healey's side than in anyone else's.

Christy Mihos would be running as a Republican this year, but he's not because his party has gone off the deep end and doesn't want an energetic moderate like him anymore. It's embraced psychotic Southern right-wing latter-day John Birchers like Mitt Romney, George W. Bush, Tom Coburn and George Allen—out of touch and too far to the right for New England. Acceptable in the Deep South, though.

I wouldn't mind if Mihos won, though if he were the Republican nominee, I'd still vote for Patrick, because then Mihos would still be beholden to the national Republican Party, which is a party full of crazies, and I don't believe in helping them, not at all. I still like Patrick better than Mihos, but Healey is downright offensive, and the thought of her as governor is intolerable. That would be almost as bad as four more years of Romney, frankly.

If the Republican Party weren't becoming a far-right regional party beholden to Southern conservatives, I might vote for a Republican now and again. As it is, I haven't voted Republican since 1994, when I, as a Pennsylvania native, cast my ballot to elect Tom Ridge governor. I won't say "Never again," but I will say "Not in the foreseeable future."

If Massachusetts could create a more moderate third party to promote candidates like Mihos, it would serve this one-party state much better. I'd probably still be a Democrat, but I'd be more interested in listening to what that party had to say than I would the Republicans. The Republican Party as it is today doesn't speak for Massachusetts; there's no reason to consider voting for those nuts.

And you know, it seems that Republicans understand what a burnt-out hulk their party has become in this state. That's why Romney ran for governor here in 2002 with an eye to running for president in 2008, having no interest in, y'know, governing Massachusetts. Former Governors Weld and Celucci also blew outta here the first chance they got. And it's the same with Healey—she's probably running for governor with plans to run for the Senate in 2008 or 2012. After all, if John Kerry runs for president in 2008, he won't be able to run for the Senate at the same time, since his term expires that same year. And Ted Kennedy won't be around forever. Healey's as interested in governing Massachusetts as Mitt Romney was—which is to say not at all.

If Massachusetts is going to have any opposition to the Democrats, it's going to have to be through some third party. And if there's any place in this country where a third party could be formed, it would be in Massachusetts. (That's all the more reason to vote yes on Issue 2 this year, by the way.) Otherwise, Massachusetts elections are going to be like the elections in New York City: the winner of the Democratic primary becomes the effective winner of the general election. Not that that would be intolerable, but it wouldn't be as good as having more than one party.

Mihos supporters ought to court Republicans, and woo them away from Healey. It's not a good thing for the Republican Party, but considering that the Republican Party is a party that speaks more for Southern evangelicals than Northern moderates, wouldn't Massachusetts be better off without it?

After this election the most powerful Republican in Massachusetts will be Frank Cousins, the Sheriff of Essex County. With the Republicans so far out of touch with what we in the Northeast want and need, a regional third party would serve Massachusetts well. And as a Democrat, I'd appreciate it, too, because the Democratic Party, like all parties, sometimes needs something to keep us in check.

On November 7, Deval Patrick is going to win. I don't think there's any doubt of that. He's beating Kerry Healey in most polls by around twenty points; there's no way she could make up that ground. So when you vote, either vote to support a man who's going to be a good governor—Deval Patrick—or vote for a man who could represent the future of Massachusetts' genuine opposition—Christy Mihos. A vote for Kerry Healey is a vote for the past, and a wasted vote. Please think of the future.

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