‘A habitual waffler ...’:
Forget the label ‘Massachusetts liberal.’ The ‘habitual waffler’
is the only punch line the president needs. ... Or, ‘The Habitual Waffler from Massachusetts.’ ... Here’s the NYT
versions. ... The ‘we-have-George-Bush-on-the-run’ line sounds like something out of Monty Python or any 1960s Zero Mostel comedy.
boldly rides to the defense of Massachusetts. Then retreats. For good reason. ... We’ve all tried and tried and tried to defend Massachusetts, but it’s so hard sometimes. ... Coz points to Dick Armey’s apology
to Boston, with a funny dig thrown in at the end. (I always thought it was William Buckley who made the Boston phone book crack. I was obviously wrong ... ) ... When was the last time Boston Magazine put anything substantive on its web site? This has to be a first.
-- 2.25.05 - A reader writes in: "You weren't wrong. Buckley was the one who first said it, and Armey probably thought he was being clever by revising it...."
‘Decade of the Bus,’ Redux:
As I've said before: Buses are a poor man’s subway. A simply executed story that sums it all up.
... Other cities are adding light rail and subways. But the MBTA is doing the complete opposite. It’s not because they’re here to serve us. It’s because they need to stretch dollars for their own long-term self-preservation, similar to the bureaucratic mindset at the Mass Turnpike. ... From a Silver Line rider: "We get the buses, and rail projects get put in other communities. Brookline has three light rail systems and stops all over the place." ...
Here's another simply executed T story
, this one less infuriating in subject. T tokens are like lost socks in the laundry. I don't know how many of both I've lost over the years.
‘This is a liberal country’:
A paradox of American politics is how so many Americans embrace liberal concepts but cringe at the sound and look of the outspoken liberal proponents of these policies. The chest-beating Mitchell Rofsky
obviously understands the first half of the preceding sentence and hasn’t a clue about the second. ... Among the many problems with liberalism is its excesses (‘people will die’ if we cut the budget, etc.), its non-egalitarian elitism (‘Americans are so dumb’ etc.) and its hyper-criticism of Americans when liberals don’t get their way (morally demonizing the opposition at every turn, etc.) ... Rofsky neglects to mention one of the greatest triumphs of conservative thought in the 20th Century: Capitalism. Remember that evil word? It’s now just an accepted fact, left and right and across the world, that the once demonized free-market system is essential to the well-being of both the elite and the masses. ... Though I believe in many liberal policies (the right to abortion, keeping the hands of Wall Street off of Social Security, etc.), I still count myself as a moderate conservative, largely to offset some of the scarier liberal ideas that would take us over the cliff. ... Let’s not even get into national security issues. ...
... Hey, the once-Socialist India
is going gaga over capitalism. Another rejection of excessive you-know-what and a triumph for you-know-what. ...
... Hey, Rofsky gleefully mentions -- gulp, for all you Bushie diehards -- how George II is embracing bigger government, comparing him to -- double gulp -- Richard Nixon. ... All is not going well for George.
It’s that damn WMD issue! ... But here’s some good news for George
, though I don’t think Ralph will get as many votes this time around.
‘There has clearly been a backlash ...’:
I thought I sensed an anti-gay-marriage backlash
in the making. This poll seems to confirm it.
No doubt the Catholic church’s stance has helped shift the numbers. But, as a recent convert to supporting gay marriages, I must say I was turned off by, you got it, the stridency and silliness of the gay rights protesters (all the ‘hey ho’ and ‘what do we want’ chants etc.). They don’t want the people to have a say in this. They want the court-ordered ruling to stand. ... Non-egalitarian elitism indeed. ... The comparisons to the Civil Rights Movement also annoyed. Not surprisingly, a lot of people kind of know at a gut-instinct level the difference between fighting Jim Crow laws and permitting affluent Yuppies to get married on the hilltops of Vermont or in the seaside banquet halls of Provincetown. ... Rhetorical excesses indeed.
‘Congratulations Danny -- you've made me a Bruins fan!’: Read this article.
A classic example of a non-leader leader giving a desperate, uninspired, accusatory sermon to a group of very demoralized people who have long since lost confidence and respect for those at the top. In this case, it’s Danny Ainge giving one weird pep talk to the Celts after last night’s game. From Reader No. 1:
“Give Trader Danny credit for offering interpretation-rich statements like ‘I just want the veteran guys to know this is your team.’ Is this:
“-- clueless? (given that Ainge has already surgically removed most of the veterans this season - there aren't many of them left in the room)
“-- a news leak? (i.e. the interim coach is toast?)
“-- accusatory? (i.e. it's the survivor's fault the team has gone to hell in the last month)
“Sympathy cards may be sent to Paul Pierce c/o The Fleet Center.”
FYI -- Earlier this week, Reader No. 1 also sent in some choice comments on Danny’s latest big trade.
From Reader No. 1: “Well, I was almost right -- I told you
the Celtics would get a real point guard before the end of the year, just not a very good one. Actually they got 2 not very good real point guards... and neither of them has a better assist to turnover ratio than the guy they traded! ... Oh yes, I forgot -- it's all about the draft picks. ... Congratulations Danny -- you've made me a Bruins fan!”
‘No doubt about it ...’:
The Herald’s Tony Massarotti
on this year’s Sox: They could be one hell of a team. ... Can someone tell John, Larry and Theo to just shut up? I’m tired of these guys. They all talk too much. Just now listened to Theo and then Larry on Dennis and Callahan on 'EEI. The Sox brass are overexposed.
... I’m becoming worried about this new ownership. They’re playing way too much to ‘Red Sox Nation.’ Personally, I want Red Sox Nation blown up. Get rid of the negative/contrived self-pity etc. John, Larry, Theo, repeat: Shut up. Don’t want to hear from ya until you win one. Then yap all you want.
‘Stay calm, this has yet ... ,’ Part II: KP Dan
has his spatula and is slopping it on thick and heavy, as ordered: Bambino, woe-is-us, everyone-is-laughing-at-us, etc. Not a shred of sports analysis. Good job, Dan! Lay it on thicker, heavier ... The sky is falling! ...
Dan has his schtick. I have mine. WMD Spy has not reported in ... But his last words to me were that we should start sowing seeds of Discord in Gotham. Here’s a sampling of his suggested disinformation campaign:
-- “Oh, Derek, wasn’t that A-Rod and your girlfriend I just saw coming out of ...?”
-- “Oh, A-Rod, don’t you think Derek looks kind of old these days? I think short stop ...”
-- “Oh, Derek, wasn’t that George and A-Rod coming out of a Madison Ave. advertising office together ... ?”
-- “I thought you guys were just ‘friends’ ...”
-- “Nomar has Mia after all ...”
‘Stay calm, this has yet ...’:
Feel like Kevin Bacon just prior to being trampled during the post-parade mayhem at the end of Animal House. Stay calm!
... But that’s what Michael Holley
is wisely counseling. Holley, a true Spartan who’s trudging off to Thermopylae with “clenched teeth so the enemy can't detect the embarrassment,” explains why the Sox are still in good shape. ... Of course, the Spartans lost at Thermopylae, but the Greeks won the war because of their efforts, please recall. ...
Hub Blog’s Manhattan-based WMD Spy may be reporting in today with a very intriguing behind-enemy-lines strategy to meet this threat. Hint: It has something do with this New York Daily News headline.
... Even the rear-line Dan Shaughnessy may have a role in this caper. Your job, if you choose to accept it, Dan, is to keep up with the hysterical Bambino/Oh-woe-is-us act. Lay it on thick and heavy until people really do believe the ‘Sky is falling.’
Why? Because New Yorkers are now beginning to believe in their own immortality. Look at these comments from Gotham
: "There are only a few things for sure in life," says one fan, "death, taxes, and the fact that the Red Sox will fall apart, as sure as the sun comes up." Says another NY fan: "The Mets and the Red Sox can't compete with the Yankees. They look like minor league franchises compared to the amount of money the Yankees can spend. There's too much mystique." ... They now believe in a mystique. Do you know what this means? It means that when we do topple them, they’re going to be so far down the tubes they’ll make the Bleeding Green mystique-floundering Celts organization look like crack shock troops in comparison. ...
Ran into a New York friend last night who I hadn’t seen in years. First words out of his mouth, ‘Sorry about A-Rod,’ followed by a big smirk. My response, ‘Sorry about your pitching staff.’ It wiped the smile off his face instantly. He then started praising Theo. ... We’re getting into their minds. ...
-- The Idiot Who Uses Romper Room Masks
as props on ESPN is now pumping out the cliches about the Sox. ... I'm feeling better already.
‘Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more!’:
Good. Reader No. 1 isn’t going wobbly on the Sox. When the battle is joined and the fighting gets heavy this season, will someone please escort the hysterical Dan Shaughnessy to the rear? Reader No. 1 on A-Rod:
“It has to be a good sign that the shock and discouragement in our household only lasted 10 minutes this morning. ... Maybe it was Gordon Edes'
observation that no team has ever lost three 15 game winners in an offseason as the Yankees said goodbye to Pettite, Clemens and Wells. Maybe it's remembering how beat up so many great Yankees were at the end of the year (Bernie, Jeter, Giambi ain't as young as they used to be)... Maybe it was memories of Moneyball (yes, I know from the same Gordon Edes article that the A's are 0-9 in playoff elimination games). ...
“I'm sure that the Sox braintrust is prepared for weeks of angst and agony from talk radio and assorted usual suspect sportswriters. There are inevitable countermoves that will generate inevitable second-guessing from the WEEI hosts who would rather talk about the contracts and the agents than the games.
“As Bill Parcells used to say, ‘Fellas, this is why they play the games.’ Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more!”
‘We are now in Sid Wicks-Marvin Barnes territory’:
Reader No. 1 also retracts his statement a few weeks ago
that we’re not in the ‘Sid Wicks-Marvin Barnes terrority.’ We’re there. Oh we’re there. Reader No. 1:
“This column from Hoopsworld
is all over the map, but it includes the most effective critique I've seen of Jim O'Brien's coaching style, and makes a good case for my man Brandon Hunter to get more playing time.
“I stand corrected on what I wrote 2 weeks ago: we are now in Sid Wicks-Marvin Barnes territory. Has Ainge shredded his credibility so quickly and thoroughly that no one will want to coach or play here? He's blown up the team and replaced it with zilch -- and don't give us the ‘we miss Raef LaFrentz and Vin Baker’ stuff. LaFrentz was known damaged goods when he was acquired and no one expected Baker's first (and last) six good weeks this season.”
‘As Bloomberg's Massachusetts masters surely intend ...’: The A-Rod deal
is surely a disaster. No doubt. But fear not. We have a secret weapon wreaking havoc in New York: Michael Bloomberg.
Deroy Murdock: “Michael Bloomberg is a mole who is sabotaging Gotham from within, pro bono Beantown.” ... The shame is that we could have had both Bloomberg and A-Rod in place for the coming Boston world-conquest
spring offensive. We shall burn Yankee Stadium to the ground for this ... The worst part of the A-Rod setback: Dan Shaughnessy
is in full Inferiority Complex mode. ... ‘Damn Yankees.’ Screw the Yankees. ....The climactic Battle for Middle Earth approaches. Remember what we're fighting against: Evil.
FYI -- Boston Dirt Dogs
was on the A-Rod/Yanks rumor a month ago. At the time (I believe), good old Curt allegedly said the following about the A-Rod rumors
: “After 85 years did any of you think that getting over this final hurdle and winning it all was gonna be a cake walk? No, it'll be more fun this way.”
Exactly. ... They will pay for this.
‘Danny Ainge's still-unexplained grand plan’:
Might as well get the depressing posts out of the way this morning: The Ainge era: 1-8.
... ‘For all intents and purposes, the season is kaput.’ ... They’e already eyeing new coaching candidates.
I like DJ, but it’s just more Bleeding Green. ...
Yes, it was only two weeks ago. ...
They will pay for disrupting our happiness.
'There's something new emerging ...':
From Armchair Gen. Savin Hill:
"Anyone walking around the Financial District this week, and particularly Broad Street and the waterfront top of State Street probably noticed it. The old Central Artery roadway is coming down piece by piece. The roadway above is now gone, and only the familiar faded-glory-green road supports remain. This means you can see daylight where road once was. That little glimpse is powerful, and you can easily imagine the old artery gone for good. From Broad Street I could clearly see -- for the first time it seemed -- the glinting mass of polished steel on the Acquarium and IMAX theater -- and lots of open sky beyond that. And of course, it's actually quiet down there now, no constant hiss and rumble of traffic. You really feel like there's something new emerging."
Hub Blog's response:
It truly is an astonishing sight. ... Hope they don't clutter it up by trying too hard to make the new Roseway beautiful. Let's just look at the proverbial frosted cake a little longer before cutting into it, etc.
“A Sudanese View: 'Thank God for George Bush!' ”: Gotta give credit where credit is due.
... The old Dinkas saying just might be true. ... Interesting CSM blog. Wish he posted more often.
The gay-marriage debate is over:
What anti-gay-marriage genius scheduled the constitutional convention during the same week as the release of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue?
... Anna. ... Did you see the Herald's Inside Track yesterday? Can't fetch it. But it -- and not the Historic Debate -- was the big discussion around my water cooler. ... But she's just an athlete. Sure. Of course. Respect her for all the right reasons. ... Where were we? Ah, yes, history in the making ...
'The speaker tried to pull one of his patented maneuvers ...':
Brighton Reader on yesterday's proceedings, not today's (haven't caught up yet):
"After watching the Constitutional Convention for a good three hours, I think the biggest loser is Tom Finneran. The speaker tried to pull one of his patented maneuvers, but lacking control of the chair and unable to coerce state senators, he failed. It was fun to watch reps hammer him, finally free to say what they really thought. El Caudillo also caught it from Republicans, especially from the Senate, who were seriously pissed at his manipulations. All this played out before a statewide audience that generally ignores how Finneran operates."
-- San Francisco is trying to jump into the act.
The newest twist in the old Silicon Valley-128 rivalry.
-- 02.13.04 - 'Finneran at his worst.'
‘The Senate compromise ...’, Part II: Everything went down to defeat.
Something might pop up today, such as a new variation of the Senate compromise plan on gay marriages. ... But could it all be a stalling tactic? Scot Lehigh
suggested yesterday that the real goal for some might be to procedurally kill everything, eventually, now or more likely during a second-stage non-vote after the election, and let the court’s decision effectively stand. Sure looks like it. Intentionally or not. Gay activists were quite happy
by yesterday’s non-action action, FYI. ... Hub Blog senses that Finneran may be in the early stages of realizing he better embrace the Senate compromise. It’ll be interesting, if he does, to see if yesterday’s supporters of the Senate plan suddenly change their minds. ... Hub Blog senses a backlash against gay rights activists. Most voters instinctively like the idea of having a say on matters and don't like being crudely compared to segregationists. ... The ‘Hey, hey, ho, ho’ chants at the Statehouse yesterday were highly, highly annoying.
‘Liar vs. liberal’:
If you’re a Kerry or Bush fan, don’t read this column.
If you’re neither, enjoy. ... One quibble: Isn't trying to be all things to all people also a form of lying?
‘The Senate compromise appears to be gaining steam ...’: Two plans
are now out there on the gay-marriage issue
to be taken up today by lawmakers at our allegedly august constitutional convention, whatever. ... Constitutional Plan No. 1 (backed by Speaker Finneran): In effect an up-or-down vote on gay marriage in 2006. Constitutional Plan No. II (the Senate compromise): A vote to define marriage as that between a man and a woman, while giving gays civil-union rights.
... Here’s why Finneran’s adamant opposition to gay marriage may backfire in his and other opponents’ faces: There’s a, oh, 50-50 chance, in a simple up-or-down vote on the issue, that the public may approve
gay marriage in two years. But the Senate ‘compromise’ plan, which Finneran opposes, would almost certainly
pass, thus outlawing gay marriages but approving civil unions. So by risking it all on an up-or-down vote, Finneran is probably killing the only sure
way to outlaw gay marriages. ...
... I’m for gay-marriage rights, but I’d vote for the Senate plan just to get the civil-union law on the books and get the damn court-imposed issue out of the way. A lot of other people would too. Others would vote for it because of the heterosexual definition of marriage. It’s a smart, practical, have-it-both-ways compromise by senators. ... Just a thought: Gay rights activists might rethink their strategy. How? By boldly supporting Finneran and Romney on the strict up-or-down vote. Think about it. It would be a huge gamble, but it could pay off in two years. It could also lose. ... I love the gamble option for purely selfish, non-civil-rights reasons. It would make the 2006 vote so absurdly apocalyptic in tone. Fun to watch and cover, etc. ... Hmmmmm. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Go for it, Speaker!
Hats off to Sen. Kerry: Very impressive wins.
He’s got the nomination wrapped up by the looks of it. ... Early and obvious odds-on-favorite: Bush. But, if someone gives me decent odds, I wouldn’t mind putting a few bucks on a guy who has lived, breathed and dreamed his entire adult life about becoming president.
‘Hub of a culture clash’:
Now this is a slightly more accurate view of Massachusetts and its politics
, compared with last week’s cliché-a-thon disaster
, though the clichés are still flying fast and furious. The latest article actually mentions ‘Catholics’ as being a demographic reality. ... Future-looking observation: We all know that if gay marriage is approved by 51-49 percent, it will reaffirm Massachusetts as a liberal state. But if gay marriage is rejected by 51-49 percent, do you seriously think the pundits will call Massachusetts a conservative state? It would be too mind-blowing complicated for the punditocracy to comprehend, let alone explain. ... There's a part of me who mischievously hopes gay marriage is blocked for that reason alone. Wouldn't it be great? But I support gay marriages in general principle and so ...
“Kerry’s One-word Speech: ‘Vietnam’ ”:
That WaPo headline
sums it up. ... The central event in all of history is now a brand. ... Don’t forget this classic headline
: ‘A Response to Cancer Forged by Vietnam.’
Smile, you're on digital camera -- and about to be expelled:
The shots of the post-Superbowl riot celebrations
at Northeastern are up. It's a little rat-fink creepy, but so be it. Notice in Photo 1 the other To Show the Grand Kids students taking photos. Idiots. ... When did this type of 'celebrating' start? After some Detroit sports victory in the '80s, if I recall correctly. ... Northeastern police site via JJDaley.
-- 2.9.04 - The mother of James Grabowski, who was killed at the Northeastern riot celebration, is rightly angry and in shock
by the senseless events. Mayor Menino should have had the guts to pick up the phone, try to comfort her --and let her rant and vent if need be. But she simply goes too far when she says: “How many parents would have told them not to drink, behave yourself, and then left them unsupervised while they went to watch the game elsewhere? That's exactly what the city of Boston did that night.” ... Is the city now our baby-sitter/nanny/parent? Didn’t James watch a game in a dorm owned by a certain university? Why wasn’t there more problems at other local colleges? Might there be a connection here?
‘Ultimately purged from American corporate history ...’:
A fun story on one of the most remarkable pre-Martha female sales executives in American corporate history, Brownie Wise
, who literally made Tupperware a household name. Her tale will be retold tomorrow night on PBS’s “American Experience.’’
One annoying aspect to this otherwise fine article, to wit: The way she’s cast as a feminist-like Heroine Up Against Male Corporate America. I like to think I know a little about Brownie. In 1999 during my old BBJ days, we produced a special supplement called ‘100 Years, 100 People,’ a review of the most influential business executives in Massachusetts in the 20th Century. Earl Tupper, inventor of burb-and-seal Tupperware, made the cut because he was from Massachusetts and his company was based here. Brownie didn’t make the list, though she was mentioned, because she never lived here and her semi-independent sales operation was based in Florida. But that’s not the point. What we found, in preparing the supplement, was just how many bitter rivalries emerged between great inventors/founders and corporate types, the never-ending backroom feuds that shaped companies’ histories, etc. The history of Corporate America is littered with tales of bloodied winners and victims of these now forgotten corporate battles. Earl Tupper was one of the winners. Brownie was one of the victims. ... Is her tale fascinating? Absolutely. Was there a gender component to her rise and fall? No doubt. But was Tupper’s brutal treatment of a business partner so unique? No way. ... Still, it’s great to see Brownie getting some much deserved credit. ...
-- One of the more fascinating female executives of the 20th Century in Massachusetts, in my humble opinion, was Elizabeth Eaton Bois, who rose from timekeeper to forewoman to founder of Winship, Boit & Co., one of the largest textile companies in the state. Her achievements are more remarkable because they took place in the late 1800s and early 1900s. ... Another fascinating woman business executive was Margaret C. Carlson, the first female member of ‘The Vault’ and who helped found Five Star Reality Co. She won
her backroom wars and became sole owner of the firm, later taken over by DeWolfe Co. Inc., yet another female-founded real estate company based here.
‘All of his jaw-jawing back and forth on the issues are just tactics‘:
How can you not print an email that starts off ‘Yes, that was a not-bad recap of Weld-Kerry.’ Why, thank you, Reader No. 1. Who else? Lots on the incredibly overrated Kerry-Weld race. From Reader No. 1: “Yes, that was a not-bad recap of Weld-Kerry, notwithstanding the typical insufferable NYT tonality ('the affable aristocrat'). Excellent choice of quotes, in some cases not for their perceptiveness.
“Example: Rob Gray suggesting voiding the spending cap shows that 'Kerry will abandon his principles' gets it exactly backwards. Kerry would have been abandoning his principles if he followed the cap, and lost. Victory IS his principle and all of his jaw-jawing back and forth on the issues are just tactics.
“The story overlooks some major points on Weld that hurt him and reflected well on Kerry. I remember Weld's ‘jump in the lake'’ cited here getting negative coverage suggestive of a lack of seriousness. But more to the point (and not mentioned by the out-of-town press): Weld's Senate run capped two years of post-re-election drift, which started with him signing off on a 50% midnight payraise for the same legislators he'd bashed so effectively early in his term. The coziness with the Mass hack legislature was a
gleaming neon sign that the solution had become part of the problem (go read old Howie Carr columns -- maybe the new NYT section on 'conservatives' will turn him up).
“The result: Weld actually communicated aloofness and careerism more than Kerry in this race. He was tired of running the Commonwealth and aspired to a station in life more befitting his talent. Combine that with the Gingrich-Helms matchup (it seems some Massachusetts voters still fear those two more than
Osama and Saddam) and it was curtains for the Affable Aristocrat.
“Applying Weld-Kerry as a national lesson: Bush 2 must determine how to avoid looking more like the real Kerry has conducted his career (disconnected, Washington politician) while Kerry tries to look more like the real Bush has conducted his Presidency (responsible defender of American, and global
“P.S.: 1 thing I neglected to mention but should have: if the NYT even did the legwork to determine how Weld succumbed to the Mass political establishment (thereby derailing his political career), the probability of their noting it approaches zero for obvious reasons ... "
Hub Blog's train-of-thought response:
Have you ever noticed in the idealistic movie 'The Candidate' how the U.S. Senate candidate, sickened by the process that got him the seat, never says at the end he won't take office? ... Thank you, Reader No. 1.
‘Facing ‘96 Loss, Brawling Kerry Faught to Win’:
Decent recap of the ‘96 Kerry-Weld Senatorial race
. ... Republicans take note: “This is a guy who can take a punch and who can overcome being behind.” Kerry critics take note: “The real parallel here is that John Kerry will abandon his principles to win.” ... It all comes back: the manufactured shrill Weld tone; the silly Brahmin hype and how the allegedly sophisticated campaign reflected the state’s deep intellectualism; the pompous comparisons to the Lincoln-Douglas debates; the broken promises on campaign spending limits; Newt and Jesse; the live-shot gentlemanly beers afterward. For pure fun, I’ll still take the ‘83 mayoral race any day. ... Great line: “Mr. Kerry, the senator who was known for something of a Hamlet streak ...” Quibble: Was
‘An explosion ripped through a subway car ...’:
I read a column like this from Charles Krauthammer
and begin to understand John Kerry’s appeal to some people. ... Then I read a story about a subway attack in Moscow
and think of a similar rush-hour attack in Boston. ... And then I think of how sick I am of hearing about Vietnam
(scroll down to Kerry part -- via M. Ellis
). ... And that’s how Hub Blog’s mind hippty hops along.
‘They damned near passed ...’:
Been real busy of late (mutual-fund scandals
and things like that), but wanted to post a few good emails related to the ‘A renaissance for a city of Brahmins and beans’ earlier this week. From Lexington Reader:
“RE: E.J.'s article.
You mention that Mass. voters went with the Gipper twice, in 1980 and 1984. ... But don't forget that during that same era voters also passed Prop 2 and 1/2, which put a screeching brake to the escalating local property taxes; that once Dukakis served out his second term as governor in 1990, the voters have chosen Republican governors in four consecutive elections; and that in 2002, they damned near passed a proposition that would have eliminated the state income tax entirely! Overtly liberal? Perhaps. Unpredictable? You bet. In fact, unpredictable enough that I'll bet fifty cents right now that if Kerry takes the Democratic nomination and continues to campaign the way he has, then he won't break 53% in Mass in November -- and I might even put a few dollars on a wager, with some decent odds, mind you, that Bushie takes Massachusetts outright from ‘My initials are JFK.’”
Hub Blog’s response
: Tempted to take that bet. I think Kerry will win Mass. After all, the hacks will be lining up for fed jobs -- and have a powerful incentive to turn out the vote. But on the other hand, then again, etc., it didn’t work for Shannon. ... Al Gore’s state also turned on him. So it’s not a far-fetched notion. ...
‘Don’t blame me, I’m from Massachusetts’:
Again, re ‘A renaissance for a city of Brahmins and beans.' Reader No. 1:
“It's always dangerous to argue without going to the data, but I think Massachusetts voted for McGovern in 1972 for one reason: Vietnam. Universities are prominent in our local zeitgeist and universities were the focal point of anti-war resistance.
“Also, Vietnam was one of the principal factors in the collapse of the old liberal Republican vanguard that played a leading role in Mass politics. The old Ivy leaguers in the suburbs just couldn't support the war and the administration that was trying to get out gracefully. Watergate finished off the Elliot Richardson wing out here, but there was trouble long before that. Actually, this was part of the reversal of roles, where a lot of ‘Reagan Democrats’ voted Republican for a couple of years as Hub Blog notes. On the other hand, that last Reagan win in Massachusetts was 20 years ago... and this is the state that's legalizing gay marriage.
“So I respectfully submit: not only is Massachusetts more liberal than when we voted for Reagan 20 years ago -- Massachusetts is more liberal today than in 1972 when we voted for McGovern!”
Hub Blog’s response:
See above post and response for part of my answer. Also keep in mind the dwindling number of people who now call themselves Democrats or Republicans in Massachusetts. The majority of voters are now Independents, whom I’d generally describe as conservative on fiscal matters, liberal on social issues. There are a lot of business folks who have moved into Massachusetts in recent decades (high-tech, mutual funds etc.) who have offset the ‘70s academic tilt. ...
Goodness: Kerry actually might do it.
... But did he shoot all the twitching wounded? Edwards is still alive as a result of S.C. ... Deano: twitching no more.
‘A renaissance for a city of Brahmins and beans,’ Part II: Adam
is all over the CSM article posted below, with an excellent fisking that makes my post look Little League in comparison. ... E.J. Dionne Jr.
hits a delicate chord when he writes: “The demonization of Massachusetts is really about the southernization of the Republican Party.” Quite true. Blue-Red states, blah, blah, blah. ... We were, after all, an Imperial Power waging a Capitalistic War of Northern Aggression way back when. (I’m still trying to figure out how the right-wing/left-wing intellectual baton hand-off successfully worked on that one ... Or was it vice versa?) ...
But E.J. seriously falters when he writes: “Indeed, Massachusetts voted for McGovern over Richard Nixon -- not so much because of the Harvard boutique but because the old factory towns such as the one where I grew up remained loyal to the party of Al Smith, Franklin Roosevelt and John Kennedy. In any case, why, in light of history, is voting against Nixon so dishonorable?” ...
E.J., please, in the future, force yourself to mention how said Massachusetts voters subsequently voted for Ronald Reagan in ‘80 and ‘84, starting a mere 8 years after the miracle ‘72 election. Let’s get this straight: Massachusetts voted for McGovern. Once. 32 years ago. It voted for Ron 24 years ago and 20 years ago, twice. What do the pundits remember? 32 years ago, once. ...
I’m not saying Massachusetts isn’t liberal. It is. Quite so. But it’s far more complicated and unpredictable than the national -- and local -- media portray it. ...
‘A renaissance for a city of Brahmins and beans’:
Oh my God. Here’s a taste of how the national media is going to portray Boston
next summer. Clichés piled on clichés. This sorry story starts off with how the city is “perceived” and then relentlessly builds on all those old perceptions/clichés: the “button-down reserve,” “self-flagellating Calvinism,” “Adamses, Emersons, and Holmes,” “cerebral neighbor of New York,” “probably has as many Unitarians as U2 acolytes," “America's royal family, the Kennedys,” etc. etc. ... The oh-so-tragic Red Sox are mentioned, but no curse of the Bambino! ... Did you know we’re bursting with pride for our “local son, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry”? ... Do you even recognize Boston in this article? ...
Someone should get hold of the media credentials list for the DNC and then send reporters and editors copies of: "Black Mass," "All Souls," “Common Ground,” “Mystic River,” etc. It'll give 'em a start on understanding Boston a bit more intelligently than the false-universe Sculling on the Charles Image some insist upon peddling. Come to think of it, someone should send book copies to the CSM newsroom in Boston, no less. ... I’ll have more on this subject as the DNC approaches.
‘You're not supposed to go zip, zip, zip’:
But the Pats did go zip, zip, zip
for the second time in two Superbowls, ending two championship games on clutch Brady drives and clutch Adam kicks. This team is for real. ... Doesn’t appear to be any whining in Charlotte
, based on the headlines (sign-in required). They deserve respect in return. That was one tough team. ... ‘The Monday after the Super Bowl should be a holiday.’
... Over at Adam Gaffin
, there’s a lot of funny posts: “At the house party I was attending in Somerville about fifteen of us huddled around the television and nervously held hands in a circle as Adam Vinatieri ...” ... I didn’t see the Janet Jackson boobies. Guess I was one of those guys chasing down the potato skins instead. ... FootballOutsiders have a quickie post-game analysis
of their pre-game analysis
. They’re rightly patting themselves on the back for predicting a better-than-expected Pats running game. The pre-game concerns about Adam’s kicking game were also on target, though not in the final analysis.
... Now we know these near-riot celebrations
can turn deadly in Boston. Colleges can do more. Expulsions seemed to have worked last time around.
-- From Reader No. 1:
"Holy mackarel! Random Super Bowl thoughts:
"1. So much for the game following the expected pattern. At least I don't look as silly as Kevin (46-10) Mannix.
"2. Forgive me for entering the Cliche Zone, but it is great to root for professional athletes with mental toughness like Brady, Vinatieri, Vrabel et al.
"3. Not to rain on the parade but... while this Super Bowl is a wonderful win, nothing can compare to the 2001-2002 Cinderella story coming as it did after years of embarassment and frustration.
"4. Did the Panthers and the Colts switch uniforms in the last two games? Methinks Ty Law's price shot up during the near-calamitous 4th quarter (no way you go into next year with Asante Samuel and the Otis Smith-esque Tyrone Pooleat the corners). I'm sure Belicheck will be exhaustively analyzing next year's decision on the plane home from Houston..."
-- We have full riot/boob discussion
going on across Boston.
'What's truly pathetic is ... ':
Reader No. 1 has a Superbowl nomination for best original story today after weeks of hype:
"What's truly pathetic is that Shaughnessy might be above the fold tomorrow. Has he figured that if he's conventional/dull enough, the bosses at the NYT will come a-callin'? As they say on WEEI, how's that working out for him?
"On the other hand, the same Boston Globe that keeps Dan before us also brought us this helpful article on the Man Who Would Be James
. Going to the source, this is my first candidate for an original article about today's game
"Admittedly it's pretty long and you probably have to show advanced signs of NFL-obsessiveness to make it through (such as subscribing to DirecTV for the NFL Sunday Ticket, and actually watching the 'Heidi Game' replay on NFL Channel -- you can probably tell that I too suffer from this condition.)
"Pick: 22-13 Pats. I can't decide whether it will be 1 touchdown and 5 field goals or, potentially, 2 TDs, 2 FGs and a safety. Teddy Bruschi or Richard Seymour is the MVP... "
-- Gotta admit, that's a pretty interesting article and web site.
Superstitious pessimism takes hold:
Can anyone send me a link to a truly original article about today’s game after two weeks of hype and some of the sorriest articles I’ve ever read
(link via Adam Gaffin
)? I defy you to do so. Rule: Article must appear in one of today’s newspapers. Any newspaper. ... I tuned out reading about the Superbowl about, oh, 72 hours after the AFL Championship game. OK, that’s not true. I did enjoy this article about Boston’s bookies
getting their clocks cleaned all season. ... The only thing to report is that my pessimism has returned. I have bad vibes about today’s Superbowl. But that’s good. I’ve been pessimistic every single game since early October.
It's going to be the flip-flopping hypocrisy that's going to kill Kerry. John Ellis has all the links.
Perhaps the greatest reason why Repubs should
emphasizae the lefty liberal angle
. A Kerry spokesman: "It's a tired and lazy strategy.'' ... They're coopting the anti-Kerry criticism of the GOP's criticism of Kerry's lefty liberal credentials! ... Maybe a one-two punch? Lefty liberal punch -- bang! -- and then the flip-flop punch -- pow! Only problem: President Bush's lefty-liberal spending and deficit policies.
... Regarding all my long-winded posts below on Kerry being a scrapper, a GOP operative in the same link says of Kerry: "He is much better on the attack than when he is sitting on a lead.” That
part I stick by.
... and now Ted Kennedy is getting into the tired-and-lazy act.
-- Reader No. 1 sends in this link to Mickey
, who's refereering the local Jon Keller v. Dan Kennedy
debate over at TNR. ... Dan has a distinct handicap going into the debate: He's taking Kerry's side. Sort of. Hey, you
try to defend Kerry. Wherever you start is quicksand.
-- A reader asks: If Kerry wins it all, does Mitt get to select his replacement? ... Anyone got the answer?
‘Are you joking?’:
One of the few times when Reader No. 1 and I are off on two completely different tangents, this rare one over my Kerry post below on the GOP underestimating Kerry etc. My observations follow. Here’s Reader No. 1:
“Kerry will ‘chew Bush up’ in a debate? OK, if the criteria is who sounds better educated, I agree with you. By those metrics, Gore walloped Bush in 2000. But he didn't win the debates... even people who voted for Gore will agree with that.
“More likely than a chewing-up is the prospect in the debates between two Bonesmen, Kerry's pomposity will stand in even sharper relief to the Bush downhome act. How many pompous people have gotten elected President? I can think of quite a few pompous-sounding ones who lost (Gore to name 1...
Dukakis to name 2...)
“I agree that the ‘left-liberal’ theme doesn't play in Blue America. But it never played in Blue America. For many years this was because Blue America was
‘left-liberal.’ As Blue America hits the middle of middle-age, it is increasingly embarrassed, no, discomfited
by ‘left-liberal’ because it knows the economics are 100% bunk and so are a lot of the politics... but it loves the cultural/lifestyle aspects... and knows that ‘conservative’ economic policies (which 100 years ago were called ‘liberal’) make ‘left-liberal’ lifestyle and culture possible, further schism.
“Incidentally, a lot of good folk in ‘Red America’ figured this out in their college days but did not then, and do not now, angst over it.
“An Illinois journalist sent me an article many years ago which described the many ways in which Left and Right had been flip-flopped. Dust it off and update it.”
Hub Blog’s response
: In a blog post, you try to keep it short, risking misinterpretations, hoping the snappy lines are understood etc. I didn’t succeed in Reader No. 1’s case, obviously. This was my unstated point: Kerry is the king of style over substance. He’s quite capable of pomposity. He’ll try to come across as an ‘intellectual.’ I know that. But he’s also capable of ferocious in-your-face, jabbing-finger, shameless-out-shout, Ray-Flynn-type debates. (Only a Bostonian would understand the Raybo reference, i.e., the post-Kevin White 1983 mayoral election
involving talk-show blabber David Finnegan.) ... I.e., My ‘chew up’ comment about Kerry wasn’t a case of thinking he has more substance, more smarts etc. It was to convey Kerry’s unabashed, shameless, insincere, do-whatever-it-takes-to-win, style-over-substance tactics that he excels at. And Republicans better not underestimate it. ...
: As for the whole ‘Blue-Red’ stuff, I suppose, when dealing with an ideologue who apparently takes pride in not changing his views since college, you’re either one or the other. The Illinois journalist reference is, I believe, to moi, at a time when I realized the Right was becoming/had become as dogmatic as the Left.
Update - 2.1.04
-- Lexington reader: "Do we remember Raybo? 'You called me a reptile.' (Or was it lizard?)"
‘An especially ripe target ...’?:
Now the CSM has a story on the GOP licking its chops
over taking on John Kerry. But Arnold Steinberg, a GOP groupie, warns that the lefty-liberal tag may be true but might not work. A better strategy, he says, is simply depicting JFK as a candidate of ‘contradictions and flip flops.’ Andrew Sullivan
agrees with Steinberg’s assessment, saying the lefty-liberal branding is lame and tired. I think so too. It’s the unrelenting pandering that drives me nuts. ... General impression: Republicans are seriously underestimating Kerry. He’s a ferocious debater and, as we saw over the past two weeks, he’s best when he’s cornered. Don’t think he can beat Bush, but I will make this prediction: If he debates Bush, he’ll chew him up. ...
‘One more thought on the Celtics transition’:
OK, last rant on the Celts. But, really, read this quick note from Reader No. 1 and then his excellent link to Philip Maymin’s take
on the O’Brien-Ainge showdown. Reader No. 1: “Why haven't there been more questions about the dispatching of Assistant Coach Dick Harter? He was Larry Bird's defensive guru at Indiana and that worked out alright. If Celtic management was really startled by O'Brien's sudden departure, they didn't waste much time letting go of Harter. (The Maymin piece) is one explanation -- has someone in Boston already addressed it?”
: The Maymin piece is impressive. I’m not a fine-point student of the game, so I can’t say if he’s truly right or not. But I did note the ‘nagging thought'
of whether O’Brien had a long-term plan for the Celts offense. Maymin said he didn’t -- and couldn’t -- as long as he employed the sophisticated defenses he loved. ... Makes me feel a little better about Ainge. Just a little. I still think he could have better molded the old team, not flattened it. Harter was with Bird in Indiana, which had a decent offense and was a contender for the title, after all. ... My opinion on the new ownership remains low. Very low. Very Gastonish. ...
likes the current team. Hmmmm. This might sound screwy, but he reminds me of John Havlicek, post-Russell and pre-Cowens -- a star in a bad situation, a star who deserves better, a star who can play both guard and forward, a star patiently awaiting change. His assessment of the 2002/2003 Celts is quite candid.
‘Sidney Wicks, Curtis Rowe, Marvin Barnes, Billy Knight ...’:
Depressed yet? Reader No. 1 doesn't think it's that bad in Celts Land, but here he goes:
“A few good things happened in John Carroll's debut last night: 1.) The team got over 100 points (I witnessed the same two teams at the Fleet earlier this month and the Celts didn't break 70). 2.) Brandon Hunter got playing time. I Love Walter, but Hunter should be first power forward off the bench from here on out. This kid can get the boards. 3.) Chris Mihm and Jiri Welsch made Trader Danny look not so crazy.
“A few bad things: 1.) The Pistons also got over 100 and scored more than the Celts. The new defense was not as effective as the aggressive O'Brien rotational system (but I'm not panicking after one game!) 2.) Paul Pierce still looks exhausted and frustrated out there. Probably because... 3.) Mike James is a hard-working guy but NOT a point guard and, as I've said so often, I don't think Marcus Banks will turn out to be one either.
“It's tempting to say these are the late 70s Celts but I don't think we've hit THAT level of rock bottom yet. Bringing in Vin Baker and Ricky Davis still does not compare to this calamitous string of acquisitions: Sidney Wicks, Curtis Rowe, Marvin Barnes, Billy Knight, Bob McAdoo...
“I think 'unbelievable meltdown' is going a bit overboard. Severe erosion has been going on for nearly two years since the really bad decisions made in the summer of 2002 (which O'Brien alludes to, although he left out Mark Strickland who was as big a loss as Rodney Rogers). O'Brien has been bailing water ever since. The coach made the team look a lot better than it was.
“The big question: what is
Danny Ainge's vision? What other kind of players might he bring in to build up the team?
“Prediction #1: The ownership starts talking up former Celtics for the coaching job, eg Dave Cowens. Hey, Don Chaney is available! Prediction #2: An actual point guard appears in Celtic uniform before the end of year. Not necessarily a good one, but someone with an assist/turnover ratio of 3 to 1. The real measure of how much the Celts have fallen here: how much less fans are talking about the coaching transition than the non-stories coming out of Super Bowl.”
FYI -- I, too, have the awful hunch that the Thanks Dad II crowd will float the idea of hiring an ex-Celt. Hope the fans hoot it down. Winning created the Mystique. The Mystique didn't create the winning.
‘I don't like politicians who change their messages’: He really said it.
.... Now read this.
Dean says one thing.
Steve Grossman says another. It's the old Vermont Ping-Pong strategy. ... Deano: “It's going to be a long, long war of attrition.” Steve: “We've got to put a ‘W,’ at least one win, up on the board sometime between now and Feb. 7.” ... Deano: “We're going to try everywhere.” Steve: “Nobody's got the money or time to compete everywhere effectively.” ...
‘I have this sinking feeling’:
Lexington Reader thinks the Celts aren’t heading back to the M.L./Pitino years. Nah. Just the late ‘70s. Lexington Reader:
“I have this sinking feeling that we're about to watch the newest version of the 1977-78 Celtics as they implode in front of us. Ricky Davis playing for a lame duck stand-in coach? Sounds like the class troublemaker in the back of the classroom looking over the substitute teacher...all hell is about to break loose and everyone knows it -- including the sub -- but there's not a damn thing anyone can do about it. Ricky left, Ricky right, Ricky from the three point line. Ricky play defense? Hah! We're headed back to the 25 win category. How many days until pitchers and catchers report?”
: Admire John Carroll
putting two 7-footers in the starting lineup last night. Interesting strategy. Now that’s
one thing O’Brien wouldn’t do. But they still lost. Ainge Era Record: 0-1.
-- Jim O'Brien is a class act
, defending Ainge's right to a vision, standing up for Ricky Davis, making clear he just couldn't get on the same page. No Grady 'Ghosts' Little departure for Jim. ... He sounds more frustrated with the late-Thanks Dad I Era moves than the recent Thanks Dad II Era moves. ... Love the guy, but I do wonder: Did he have a long-term plan for an offense? Couldn't escape that nagging thought while reading the article. ... Here's more O'Brien.
... Couldn't they have rectified the two visions? I mean, isn't a great team about both great offense and defense? I still think they could have taken the 2002 (gutted a bit by the Gaston boys) and 2003 (gutted by Danny) cores and added the big man and strong point guard everyone knew they needed. The team would be dominating the East Conference by now. ... Still shell-shocked. Unbelievable meltdown.
‘A matter of time before it's over’?:
What’s so impressive about Kerry’s NH victory
-- besides being written off here and elsewhere only a few weeks ago -- was that he beat the dreaded, gawd-awful ‘expectation’ projections of the last 48 hours. He not only beat expectations. He trounced them. ... Read the comments of Dean supporters
and you sense the end is near. Perhaps the end is near for all the other Dem candidates. Edwards remains the most dangerous in my book, but it's now shaping up as a Bush v. Kerry showdown next fall. And I don't like either one of them. ... Now to make your day even more depressing: The Celts are melting down. See below.
-- John Ellis’ brutal analysis
: “(Kerry) has to shoot the wounded everywhere they twitch.”
‘That was Ainge plunging a dagger in O'Brien's heart’:
The Celts franchise is in utter shambles.
It’s not just Danny. It’s also the new Thanks Dad II owner(s). And we all know it. Or should have known it when they yapped of ‘bleeding green’ when hiring Danno and then cynically retiring a player’s number for purely marketing/sentimental reasons. ... Only three players remain from last year? Can anyone say how this current team has a better core for rebuilding than last year’s non-rebuilding team? And now without one of the best coaches in the NBA? It’s like we’re back at the start of the Pitino years. Or worse: the M.L. Carr years. That’s how bad it feels. ... Here’s another more optimistic view of things.
I don’t buy it, but throw it out for argument’s sake.
-- This nails it.
Everything's here: The bad trades, the arrogance, the lack of vision. Yep, we're back to the late M.L/early Pitino years. Unbelievable.
Going to miss old New Hampshire:
Predictions: Kerry, Deano, Edwards. All bunched together. Perhaps not in that order. One of them doing better than expected. Lieberman or Clark could surprise. Then again and on the other hand ... Who the hell knows?
... A brokered convention in Boston?
C’mon. Of course it will be. The Trav will get 13 summer DNC jobs, Matt Amorello will get ...
Did you see how Massachusetts placed only 26th
in a ranking of the most corrupt states in the nation? It’s an insult. Then it hit me: They’re basing the rankings on corruption convictions in federal court. Like: FBI
. ... That pretty much explains things, right? ... Don’t tell the Corporate Crime Reporters. It’ll boggle their minds. ...
-- Brian's fired the voters
on behalf of the old media.
Nantucket Page 1 Watch:
News alert: Cold weather is tough on those living on islands.
... Congdon's Pharmacy is out of sliced turkey? Oh my God!!! ... The big question is why.
‘A place of perfect memories’:
You’ll never believe who wrote a great column this morning
. ... I thought for sure he was going to pen an ode to a patch of land on the Common where an anti-war rally was once held. But, no, it’s about Maison Robert. Don’t know a lot about Boston’s culinary history, but there seems to be little doubt Maison Robert played a pivotal role in pushing Boston out of its Dark Durgen Park Era.
‘The U.S. government must admit ...’: Kenneth Pollack’s
long piece about WMD is finally online at Boston-based Atlantic Monthly. (It’s the article with the now somewhat well-known ending: “When the United States confronts future challenges, the exaggerated estimates of Iraq's WMD will loom like an ugly shadow over the diplomatic discussions. Fairly or not, no foreigner trusts U.S. intelligence to get it right anymore, or trusts the Bush Administration to tell the truth.”) ... FYI: The article is not the hatchet job the headline suggests.
-- One thing you take away from Pollack's article is how confusing intelligence data can be. Take a gander at this 'Voice of Osama bin Landen'
article in MIT's Technology Review. The author thinks Osama is dead, despite recent audio recordings. His theory: Osama died at Tora Bora (or soon after) and one of his sons might be making the recordings. But who knows? ... Now back to Kerry bashing. I mean, Kerry analysis
-- 1.27.04 - ‘White House Is Less Certain Now About Iraq’s Arms.’
... Considering what we know, and considering what we know they know we know, this is a strange unfolding of a very difficult spin.
Kerry says he isn’t writing off anything, but it sure looks like he covets Missouri
and, if gumshoe McDonald's surveys are any indication, he could do well there
-- Check out this old Doonesbury
strip circa early '70s (via Instapundit
). They had him pegged even then.
‘Rivals mine Kerry Senate years ...’:
The NYT is also looking at the Kerry-voting-record issue
, a day after the Herald’s own ‘Left jab’ piece
. But the NYT shows how Kerry, for now, seems to be caught in a vice: Republicans hammer at the liberal-record theme, while Democratic opponents hammer at the inconsistent/character-record theme. Hmmm. Has anyone asked: What if they’re both right? ...
Interesting piece on the changing demographics of New Hampshire.
Luckily, the NYT reporter didn’t stumble upon Boston’s secret world-conquest
plan -- all in preparation for the climatic spring showdown with the Evil Empire. ... If asked about it, just say, ‘Oh, Massachusetts residents are moving to New Hampshire because of lower taxes and the housing crisis.’ Do NOT mention the word ‘colonize.’ ...
-- John Ellis
has tons on Kerry in New Hampshire. Aside: Reader No. 1 below ('Enjoy beating up Mad How') asks about the 'Warshington Insiders' taking glee in Dean's woes. John has been all over this issue -- and reports Deano may be doing better than expected in NH.
-- John also mentions how many Mass. lawmakers are heading to NH to help Kerry, even though many of them probably despise the guy. Logical question: How many hack-favor lists have they presented to Kerry so far? ... But this story
also shows that 13 Mass. reps are in NH stumping for Dean. Thirteen.
It doesn't disprove John's point. It merely buttresses it: They're not backing their own homestate candidate.