At the Healey Party

[by David S. Bernstein]

When the Kerry Healey folks assembled the Republican Party luminaries on the stage at the Copley Place Sheraton ballroom, in preparation for her concession speech, there weren't many household-recognizable faces; what few remain in the party are distancing themselves from her as rapidly as possible. (Up-and-coming state senator Scott Brown could be seen on TV, not far away at TV38's studios.)

And when Mitt Romney introduced Healey with the thought that "I think you'll be seeing more of her in four years," I think a few cringed.

At least Romney showed up. His track record now on getting people other than himself elected is pretty bleak. His all-out push to get Republican state legislators elected in '04 was a disaster. He blamed that on John Kerry Fever sweeping the Bay State. His hand-picked successor appears to have won barely a third of the vote tonight. Romney's spokesperson Eric Fehrnstrom told me that it "demonstrates how difficult it is for a Republican to win in Massachusetts"; or in other words, only a near-god like Romney can do it. That's not my hyperbole -- Fehrnstrom spoke of how Romney "descended from Mount Olympus" to win in 2002.

Romney was also, as chairman of the Republican Governors Association, in charge of getting GOP governors elected nationwide tonight -- and that looks like more failure. As I write this, the Democrats have gained five of those seats already, based on CNN projections, with several more looking like they're going that way as well.

So, perhaps Romney was at the Copley Sheraton because that's where the national cameras would not be. Best to lie low on a night like this.

As for the rest of the attendees, they were mostly consoling themselves with the belief that a Deval Patrick administration will be so horrible, that the state will turn back to the GOP. That is Patrick's burden now -- the voters have finally agreed, for the first time since Dukakis, to hand the state over to a Democrat. If they regret it, it might be another 16-year dry spell. That, at least, is the hope of the remains of the Massachusetts GOP.


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