A good night in Massachusetts

Yesterday Margery Egan’s column in the Herald – featured with one of that paper’s patented full-front-page splashes – declared “Dem hacks finally get what’s coming.”  Keying off the just-announced criminal indictments of former state Probation head John O’Brien and Tim Cahill’s former chief of staff, Egan marched through a familiar rogues gallery of Massachusetts Democrats who have recently found themselves on the wrong side of law enforcement (Sal DiMasi, Diane Wilkerson, Chuck Turner, John Buonomo… just in the last year).  “The worm has turned on the criminal cartel otherwise known as the Democratic political machine that runs Massachusetts,” declared the unabashedly liberal columnist, who on most other days does more than her part to perpetuate that “cartel’s” hold on power.

Although seeing that list in prominent print carried a measure of satisfaction, overall my reaction to the column was a mental shrug.  Meh.  So a guy caught taking brown bags of bribe money and a woman photographed stuffing wads of bills into her bra are doing some jail time.  So a year too late the press decided there might be some fire beneath the clouds of dense smoke that emanated steadily from Cahill-land since well before he launched what would become a Kamikaze run for governor.  The “Dem hacks” – Egan’s “criminal cabal” – may have lost a few more foot soldiers than in an ordinary year, but it isn’t like that crew is unfamiliar with the occasional need to ride out an indictment or three.  Until the voters of Massachusetts wake up and recognize that by perpetuating total one party control of government they are creating and maintaining a laboratory-perfect environment for incubation of tomorrow’s criminal defendants, the Commonwealth’s Democratic machine will not truly get “what’s coming.”

Which is why it was particularly fitting that in an election held on the very day that Egan’s column ran, yet another Republican was elected to the Massachusetts House, replacing a Democrat who recently moved on to more lucrative pastures in a district that has long rested safely in the Democratic column…

Freshman Rep. Keiko Orrall will become the thirty-third Republican in the House.  While the party is still most decidedly in the minority, it bears remembering that fewer than three years ago House Republicans numbered fewer than half that, a mere sixteen, comprising a caucus so small that its ability even to be heard could plausibly turn on an ill-timed bathroom break.  Perhaps more importantly, the caucus’s bulking up has been driven by people like Keiko Orrall – young, energetic, accomplished individuals eager to work hard and make a difference. Somewhat below the radar the party is finally building a bench, even as the opposition empties its own bench into the state and federal correctional systems.

Aside from the candidates themselves, who do we have to thank for that?  Jenn Nassour, obviously.  She took a thankless job at a very difficult time and did a great job in the face of a whole lot of adversity.  Jenn and her staff took a foundering committee from deep in the red and put it into the black, and contributed immeasurably to the individual successes that make up the aforementioned doubling of the party’s legislative clout.  She’ll be missed when she steps down at the end of next month, no matter who replaces her.

Then there are the people who always, always, always show up to help out a good candidate like Keiko Orrall… READ THE REST at CriticalMASS

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