Thursday, February 4, 2010


Well, this is a new spot in which to find oneself.

Grace Ross is going to run for governor as a Democrat, forcing a primary between her and Deval Patrick for the nomination. Mind you, she isn't a Democrat, or at least wasn't when she ran four years ago. She was the Green-Rainbow candidate. This blog post from two weeks ago implies she wasn't a Democrat as recently as the special election.

So I'm in no hurry to welcome somebody who just joined the Massachusetts Democratic Party to campaign for the most prestigious post for a member. I do hope she'll rush out a platform and agenda soon, to make clear where she's coming from. Right now, were I in the voting booth on primary day, I'd likely side with Deval (whose inexperience and idealism resulted in a disappointing tenure) over Ross (who I think would be even worse).


But. I'm hoping to attend the Democratic convention as a delegate. And one of my strongest beliefs as a delegate is that any candidate that rises above LaRouche-level insanity should be on the ballot. The voters should decide, not party activists. To my knowledge, Grace Ross is a serious candidate. And to get on the ballot, a candidate must win 15% of the delegate votes.

So as I present myself as a candidate for delegate, I gotta decide. Do I promise to vote for Deval Patrick, the better candidate, or do I stand with Grace Ross, so the people of Massachusetts can decide.



James Patrick Conway said...

I guess it depends on your rationale for being a delegate in the first place. You strike me as one of the few on our side of the fence who understand the real calamity this governor has been and the political liability he is for all of MA. Baker, while I like the guy and admire his progressive stances on social issues, is still a tax and budget cutter first and seems less committed to moving the state forward on health care, the environment, and education. Deval by contrast is committed to those in principle but has been completely inept at achieving those things in reality. So for Ross to remind him of those commitments might make him a better candidate. A Ross candidacy could have the following affect

-Force Deval to fix the charter school mess
-Force him to make a 'read my lips no new casino's' pledge
-Force him to revisit health care and make our law more equitable for the working class
-Force him to support Cape Wind
-Force him to support a better ethics package and remove the ethics liabilities in his own administration
-Force him to spend more time with the average voter and connecting with grassroots activists
-Force him to start bold new grassroots governance ideas
-Force the party to run a slate of progressive candidates against the hacks

With the exception of the ethics reform and health care law, all of these things are things he can achieve by himself with the executive branch and can achieve before the date of the primary. If Ross forces Deval to do these things they make him a better governor and a better candidate and makes her long shot candidacy worth it.

So for those reasons I say vote to get her on the ballot. Friends don't let friends drive drunk, and maybe Ross can be the designated driver that steers Deval's administration back on track. Those are all tangible and realistic progressive goals that he should achieve.

Ryan said...

She only needs 15% on a first ballot (if there's more than that, which is probably doubtful). So you could commit to voting for her only on the first round to get her on the ballot, then vote for Deval in good faith.

Quriltai said...

JPC: This isn't a vote against Deval per se, but a vote for real democracy within the party. If I thought her chances of hitting 15% were solid, I'd likely stick with the Guv. But since I'm not sure of that, I'd likely vote for her.

Ryan: There will only be one ballot for the governor's contest at the convention -- Deval will almost definitely win the "endorsement" of the party, but whether Ross hits 15% is the real drama of the vote, in my first glance.

Anonymous said...

Patrick vowed to "fix the charter school mess" in 2006 as a candidate. He's made it worse.

2006 candidate Patrick. "We have a funding mechanism that is starving both charter schools and district schools."

And you trust this guy?

David P. Whelan, Jr.

Quriltai said...

David -- do I trust Deval? Not hugely.

Do I trust him more than Baker or Cahill? Uh-huh.

James Patrick Conway said...

Well like I said your not Devals #1 fan so a vote for him, in a convention where he will be renominated and officially endorsed, is a waste. If you are convinced he is the best candidate we have vote for him in the primary and the general. But Grace will need all the votes she can get to get on the ballot and you and I both know a primary challenge would only help force Deval to make the priorities of progressives HIS priorities. So it seems like a win win. He comes out a more seasoned and progressive candidate, Ross and her supporters will feel engaged within the Democratic Party possibly ensuring that progressive work within the system rather than fight outside of it, and the democratic party will actually be a democracy and have a choice.

Quriltai said...

JPC, those are my thoughts exactly. Having Ross in the primary would only benefit the governor and the party.