In 2006, I worked on a state senate campaign here in Massachusetts. Our Republican candidate was a nice guy, but not aggressive toward Democrats. He was one of those Republicans who believed that we can reason with Democrats, and perhaps even share some power in a state like Massachusetts if we are really nice and don’t anger the “independents” (52% of the Massachusetts electorate) with any conservative talk or overt criticism of Democrats.
I disagreed with this approach, but soldiered on. And after my candidate was thrashed in the election, I quit our local Republican group and focused on establishing my conservative website and writing on the issues.
I rejoined the Berkshire County Republican Association in the fall of 2009, just before Scott Brown emerged. Because I saw Republicans nationwide finally getting some spine after Obama has taken the nation way over to the left.
With his win, Brown has energized the Republican party all over America by confronting the Obama agenda, not seeking to accommodate it. And now conservative and Republican candidates are emerging all over the nation and are willing to take on the Democrats foursquare.
This is exactly what I once had planned to do. While working during that 2006 campaign, I talked to a few local GOP figures about running for US Congress against our far-left representative John Olver. I had no money or name recognition, but I had lots of energy.
I had said that I would start running for the November 2008 election right after the 2006 election had finished, and would spend two years traveling around the district, aggressively giving speeches, talking about an agenda of fiscal conservatism, organizing Republicans, and being honest about the harm that the Democrats are doing to our nation and to the state of Massachusetts.
But the idea of my candidacy was dismissed by the local GOP, so I dropped the idea and quit the group.
On April 17, 2010, I attended the Massachusetts GOP convention in Worcester. And the rhetoric sure has changed. Every single speaker talked forcefully about the wasteful spending and the massive corruption that is gutting the economy of Massachusetts under the 90% Democrat legislature and the much-maligned lefty governor Deval Patrick.
A record number of Republican challengers to Massachusetts US congressional and state senate and house seats have emerged, 175 candidates according to one speaker. Because the destruction of the state and the nation by the left is now plain for all to see. Even many Democrat voters in Massachusetts are well aware of the one-party corruption that is dragging down the Birthplace of the American Revolution.
The main speakers at the GOP convention – Charlie Baker for governor, Bill Campbell for secretary of state, Karyn Polito for treasurer and Mary Connaughton for state auditor – all are honest reformers who spoke compellingly about the need to root our corruption. Scott Brown spoke too. And every candidate was talking persuasively in the way that I had planned to do several years before in running for Congress, but which was dismissed.
So what has changed?
One thing: The recession.
Think of it like this: You own a business and you are prosperous. You and your wife and your kids are spending money like crazy. You hardly notice all the cash spent on clothes and gadgets and computers and vacations and home improvements and soccer camp and dinners out at restaurants.
Then the recession hits, you are poorer, and all of a sudden you look at all your bills and you say, “Why are we spending so much?! Where has all the money gone?! Why didn’t we save more of it?!”
And the reason for the new fiscal scrutiny is that the conditions have changed, like the tide going out and exposing all the rocks on the ocean floor. Today, states across America that paid no mind to the exorbitant salaries and pensions for state workers, the corrupt spending of the Democrat party, along with massive welfare handouts for the poor, suddenly are seeing that the water is low. And now the nation is waking up.
I was thrilled at the direct and confrontational tone of the speakers at our Massachusetts convention. They were unafraid. And when you watch the election returns in Massachusetts next November, you will see quite a few Republicans getting elected because they no longer are afraid of the Democrats who have been exposed like the weak old man behind the curtain in the Wizard of Oz, blowing smoke and sounding tough.
Charlie Baker is a great (and very tall!) candidate who has worked in both the public and private sectors. He turned around the Massachusetts health insurer Harvard Pilgrim which now has been rated #1 in the country for customer satisfaction for 5 straight years by one study. “We have a job to do and that job starts today,” said Baker. “And it’s to take our state back from the Beacon Hill insiders and status quo-ers and non-reformers and give the people of Massachusetts the state government they deserve.”
Karyn Polito, a state senator, talked about the need to rein in state spending and to stop cooking the books, and she remarked on the convention’s energy. “The whole pulse of the party is in the freshness of the new faces you see here today, young people energized,” said Polito. Bill Campbell was unabashed in his call for halting voter registration on election day. Mary Connaughton has been blowing the whistle for several year on corruption at the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority.
They all named names, places, events and dates, something I had planned to do several years before in the pre-recession days when many fewer people would have listened.
My only concern is that so many GOP candidates have emerged only recently, that many will not get enough nominating signatures, that more of them had not adopted my strategy which I think is crucial when seeking to take an office from the status quo in a corrupt, one-party state – working over a long period to build up some inertia and name recognition.
I predict that one or two Massachusetts US congress seats out of 10 will fall to the Republicans in November, and that Baker and Connaughton are going to be elected because they have been working the longest, and have the best reputations even among Democrats and independents in the heavily-populated media-centric Boston area.
They say it is darkest before dawn, that a crisis often brings out the best in people. This is true. This recession certainly has a silver lining. Americans are no longer complacent and willing to hide their heads in the sand about how their money is spent. Because the tide is out.
Democrats should be scared because suddenly they are being exposed. Even a post like state auditor, long an elected backwater, now has relevance in a place like Massachusetts. And those of us little guys who stuck to our guns and wanted to speak out forcefully even when the Republican pooh-bahs dismissed us and the economy was strong, now are proving to have been right all along. And that is a very good feeling.
Please visit my website at www.nikitas3.com for more. You can print out for free my book, Right Is Right, which explains why only conservatism can maintain our freedom and prosperity.