Monday, September 8, 2008

I miss Phil Johnston

Did you know that John Kerry has a primary challenger this year? You do? Well, that won't make Kerry very happy. You see, Mr. Kerry tried very hard to keep O'Reilly off the ballot. He tried very hard to browbeat delegates at the state party convention this spring to keep O'Reilly under the 15% threshold necessary to get on the ballot. He spent an ungodly sum of money. Kerry got all the time he wanted for his speech (no time limits for incumbents!) because Massachusetts Democratic Party Chair John Walsh was, as he excused himself, "distracted" .

See, some sweet folks were happy when Walsh became Chair of the Democratic Party. The previous chair, Phil Johnston, was disliked due to his history of protecting incumbents. Mind you, he did an amazing job turning back Mitt Romney's attempt to buy himself more Republicans in the State Legislature in 2002, and even increased the Democrats' margin in those same bodies in 2004. In 2006, he was instrumental in electing Deval Patrick governor.

Job accomplished, Johnston rode off into the sunset, and his post was taken by Deval Patrick's campaign manager, John Walsh. Whereas much of Patrick's staff immediately packed up for Chicago to use the lessons learned during their Massachusetts trial run to get Barack Obama elected president, Walsh stayed behind to helm the Democratic Party.

And, surprise, surprise, Walsh turns out to be not that different that Johnston. Kerry is apparently having a hard time of it, despite the unthinking support of Democratic-leaning issue groups. My favorite moment thus far is when Walsh waded into the 20-minute "debate" in which Kerry grudgingly stooped to participate only when his refusal grew too embarrassing. Ed O'Reilly said that Kerry had not given much of a proportion of his massive campaign warchest to fellow Democrats. I doubt that Mr. O'Reilly based that accusation on the humble work-up I posted here, but I was rather proud of it, given that it used numbers and all. Keep in mind that much of that money is "left over" when Kerry decided to hoard some of his cash from his 2004 run for president.

Well, Incumbency Enforcer Walsh decided to press his thumb further down on the scales by firing off a press release that calls O'Reilly statement "just plain, flat, untrue. ... I know from talking with my colleagues at state parties across the country that Sen. Kerry's support of Democrats is well known to them."

Needless to say, Walsh doesn't provide any numbers. Zero proof. Hopefully his candidates are offering more substance to their critiques than Walsh does. If Massachusetts Democrats pattern their arguments and reasoning after Walsh, we're screwed. The idea that "talking to my colleagues" is to be taken seriously is beyond ridicule.

I miss you, Phil. At the least, you had style.

No comments: