Saturday, September 13, 2008

Ed O'Reilly for Senator. Our Senator.

So this guy puts his life on hold. He sells a successful legal business, one in which he was regarded by his colleagues as "passionate", "impressive", "quick-witted", "effective", and "amazing". He puts about half a million dollars of his money into the campaign so he can talk to middle-class voters, not upper-class fundraisers. Not easy for a guy who got all that by working hard, paying off student loans, and earning every bit. He hits one, two, three...four events in a day all over the state despite the hostility of the power-brokers of the party. He lives in Gloucester, and he's visited my town of Middleborough at least thrice. A Republican town, at that.

And a lot of people (even a pro-Kerry commenter on my previous post) want to tell you that it's all in service of a lie. That he won't do what he says he'll do. Hope stops here, and cynicism is back in vogue. Cheering is out, sneering is in.

When a sane person looks at what Ed O'Reilly has done to get to Primary Day this Tuesday, such a claim is laughable. He has worked too hard for too long, at too great a cost, for too little a chance for reward.

A man only works that hard if he believes in the truth of his actions. O'Reilly has burned a lot of bridges, and he is following up his pedigree as a stalwart 2004 supporter of the man who stood for a moral domestic policy, and a smart foreign policy. When that didn't work out, he donated the maximum contribution to John Kerry.

  • When Ed O'Reilly says that he stands with our Democratic Party and the principles of this country in favor of equality in marriage, it is the truth.

  • When Ed O'Reilly says that he favors an approach to education cognizant of the failures of No Child Left Behind and the necessity to return the control of children's education to the people who know them best, it is the truth.

  • When Ed O'Reilly says that he will get us out of Iraq now -- not wait for the latest polls on the subject -- and focus on Afghanistan, it is the truth.

On issues from the economy to the environment, Ed O'Reilly stands with me. In fact, he will be the only Senate candidate on a Massachusetts ballot this year whose platform is also that of the Massachusetts Democratic Party.

Our platform doesn't play well in Ohio or Florida. Thank goodness, this isn't the Senate seat for Ohio and Florida. This is the Senate seat for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the state that sends people like Ted Kennedy, Ed Markey, and Barney Frank to Washington, DC. A state that is a leader on marriage equality and education, regardless of what swing states think of us. And it's high time both our Senators reflected that.

I am aware that Senator Kennedy has chosen to endorse his friend and longtime partner John Kerry. I don't blame him for that. Many politicians would do the same -- it's probably not going to wind up a close race, and why make for an uncomfortable atmosphere with your partner in the Senate? Heck, it's not uncommon for same-state Senators from different parties to play nice during an election.

But when I look at Senator Kennedy's fights, I see Ed O'Reilly as a guy who will fight alongside him. And let's face it, when you've spent years fighting fires, legislation isn't scary. Neither are polls.

Yes. It is a risk to replace what we know with what we don't. We don't know how good constituency service will be from Ed O'Reilly. Nothing guarantees 100% how Ed O'Reilly would vote. We don't know how effective he will be in the Senate corridors.

But a man doesn't put himself on the line the way O'Reilly has for nothing. And there is no motivation for O'Reilly to put himself on the line for a lie. And there is no motivation to fight like hell to get in, without fighting like hell every day. There are no pretensions here, no plays for higher office. This is a man who will be a fearsome United States Senator, because he wants to be a United States Senator.

The truth is, if Ed O'Reilly wins on Tuesday, the absolute worst we'll get is more of the same. Non-responsive constituency services, vague positions to the right of the people and Democratic Party of Massachusetts, an ineffective legislator missing at key moments. That is the absolute worst.

But we can expect much, much better than more of the same from Ed O'Reilly. This isn't hope and promises, this is a clear-eyed view of the situation. Odds say that we almost have to get better from O'Reilly, and more often.

We're lucky to have in Ted Kennedy one of about 10 Senators who see themselves as Senators, not Presidents or Vice Presidents in waiting. Let's make it 2 of 10. With enough votes from regular Democrats like you and me that will happen.

I ask you to join me in voting for Ed O'Reilly on Tuesday for Senator. Most importantly to vote Ed O'Reilly for Senator from Massachusetts, for a man who will act, speak, work, fight, and vote like a Senator from Massachusetts, for Massachusetts.

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