Diary

Scott Brown's Last Day: Hit It Where They Ain't and The People's Seat

(I’m Vassar Bushmills, and I endorse this message.)

South Boston, Friday PM-Saturday AM

This is Bernie Chumm and not Vassar Bushmills, so those of you who’ve already jumped him for talking out of school about Massachusetts politics, aim your fire at me.

I have a couple of friends in Corvallis who grew up in South Boston and long before Scott Brown was who he is today, I’d picked up some hints from them that things weren’t all that right with the Democratic Party here. I flew in Thursday and their families have been very nice to show me around, make me feel at home, and let me sit among their friends where friends gather, and just listen…then fill me on some details back at the house.

Right now I’m at an undisclosed location in the middle of Steve Lynch’s 9th congressional district, where adult beverages are served, scratching all this out on paper, like a deranged poet.

This is only a suggestion, Mr Brown, but you might consider giving over a part of your last day of campaigning to touching a few buttons at the Democratic party’s core. The Dems already are aware of the Republican base and the growing number of independents who may come over. I assume they have plans for them, in keeping with the fine traditions of Massachusetts politics.

So hit ’em where they ain’t looking.

Without getting into specifics, I’ve talked to (actually listened to) a lot of people in this area the past two days. There’s a lot of pent-up anger with the Party. And most of that anger really can’t be laid at the feet of any particular issue like health care, although they’ve had enough of a taste of it with Romneycare to already have a bad taste. It’s something much deeper.

Yeah, sure, Teddy had one knee on the bishop’s altar and the other on a banana-peel, but being from the auld sod, they let that pass. But they’re not inclined to allow some spindly-legged apparatchik from North Adams tell the Catholics to get out of town, or at least the hospital ER, just to please her bosses back in Washington or Beacon Hill.

There’s a simmering anger beneath the surface which, Steve Lynch had better get a grasp of for his own political future, but which I believe also extends beyond South Boston. It’s that rank and file Democrats, by and large a moral, conservative bunch on house and family issues, are tired or being taken for granted, told what to do and being bullied. If John Kerry were running for office on Tuesday, he’d find tough sledding as well.

They really do seem to want to have power returned to them. If that means Scott Brown will only be a half-term wonder, so be it. They are Democrats, after all. But they are tired of being led around by the nose and kicked in the britches. They want to be free Democrats…again.

They want Teddy Kennedy’s seat to be their seat, the People’s Seat, once again. Of this I am certain.

It’s just a suggestion, Mr Brown, but you coined that phrase, and the sentiment hits home in the Democrat Party gut just as it does with the Tea Parties. I’d be looking for some way to find that raw nerve this last day. As Vassar likes to say, “Put your whole mind to it.”

Bernard Chumm