POST-GAZETTE - Res Publica

Are You Thankful this November?

by David Trumbull

November 28, 2008

It could be worse; we could be in Minnesota where—depending on vote recounts and legal challenges—the next United States Senator may be Al Franken. The America-is-falling-just-as-Rome analogy is both over-used and overly pessimistic considering the resiliency of American democracy, nevertheless, it gives one pause that Minnesotans may surpass the demented Emperor Caligula (ruled A.D. 37-41) who, according to ancient historian Suetonius merely threatened, but actually make his horse Incitatus a Consul of Rome. But then, Minnesota has gone even longer (since 1972) than Massachusetts (since 1984) since it last voted for a Republican for President—yet another confirmation that we could be worse off.

That’s not to say it’s not bad here. Bay State voters, by an even bigger majority (69.6%) than they favored Senator Obama for President (62%), favored retaining the state income tax. Sixty-five percent also voted yes on Question 2 to decriminalize marijuana. Perhaps some of those yes on 2 voters were also McCain voters who like the character “Sam” in the movie “Casablanca” are at least thankful for something that “takes the sting out of being occupied.”

We may be thankful that we retain token opposition to one-party rule in the State House. All five incumbent Republican senators were re-elected. But none of the other four Republican senatorial candidates made it. Likewise the 16 incumbent Republican representatives who sought re-election were successful. But in three other districts where incumbent Republican representative chose not to run again the seats will be filled by democrats as the GOP candidates for those “open” but currently GOP seats were all defeated. Nor did any of the other 18 GOP candidates win. Thus total Republican count in the General Court will decline from 24 to 21 out of 200.

Following the election day debacle, GOP State Committeewoman Jennifer Nassour of Charlestown (Boston) announced she intended to challenge Massachusetts Republican Party Chairman Peter Torkildsen. The election of chairman is usually held in January. So far Nassour’s is the only name I have heard as potential candidate for the job. Torkildsen has since indicated that he will not seek another term. Even Torkildsen’s supporters must be thankful that they won’t be called upon to exculpate him before their fellow Republicans who have witnessed the slow suicide the party.

[David Trumbull is the chairman of the Boston Ward Three Republican Committee. Boston's Ward Three includes the North End, West End, part of Beacon Hill, downtown, waterfront, Chinatown, and part of the South End.]