This blog is much honored to have made Chris "The Fix" Cillizza's new list of "Best State Political Blogs," at the Washington Post. (Although not bold-faced like Blue Mass Group!)
I want to take a moment to welcome any Fix readers who may be stopping by to check the blog out. Naturally, we in the great Commonwealth of Massachusetts do not actually care about those of you in other, inherently inferior parts of the country. Nevertheless, I thought I'd jot down a few things to get you up to speed on the status of politics here. Perhaps some of my readers can add their observations in the comments.
--Our only upcoming election of national interest is the re-election of Democratic Governor Deval Patrick in 2010. Patrick, like many governors around the country, is suffering a bit of a popularity slump due to the economic crisis, which is forcing tough choices over budget cuts and revenue generation. Adding to that, he has taken a huge hit for attempting to appoint an obscure state legislator to an obscure position at an obscure quasi-public authority. Go figure. There are a number of potentially viable Republican candidates, none of whom have taken any steps toward actually running. There is, however, a likely challenger from within the party: Treasurer Tim Cahill. A fiscal conservative, Cahill is seriously considering running as an independent.
--Neither US Senate seat is up in 2010. However, one of our senators has brain cancer that, according to everything we were told, should have killed him by now. Clearly, cancer made the very common mistake of underestimating Ted Kennedy. It's been a quarter-century since Massachusetts had an open Senate seat, and it may still be many years before we have one.
--Speaking of underestimated pols... Many of you around the country probably mock and deride Congressman Barney Frank. Some of it may even be deserved. But I can assure you of two things: 1) he is much, much, much smarter than you; and 2) he will never, never, never be defeated in his district.
--Democrats here have suffered a string of scandals, ranging from bribery to groping women, that has taken down the Speaker of the House and two state senators. This is helping to drive a significant populist anger, and a drive for reforms, all of which may or may not actually change anything when all's said and done.
--There is a fascinating rift among the minority Republicans in the state legislature, between those who prefer to work with the majority to have some effect on legislation, and those who would like to take a more oppositional stance. Unfortunately, the entire GOP delegation is not large enough to qualify for a Duck Tours group discount, so nobody's really paying much attention.
--This year we have city and municipal elections, the biggest of which is the Mayor of Boston. Three challengers are already in and running against the 16-year incumbent, Tom Menino -- who by any measure is actively campaigning, but refuses to actually declare whether he will run for re-election.
--We have just entered into the state's traditional "summer lull," during which almost no attention is paid to politics. This lull began Tuesday afternoon, and ends sometime in October, depending on how far the Sox go in the playoffs.
--Massachusetts is not nearly as liberal as popular myth would have it. However, this blog takes great pride in the state's status as conservatives' most vilified geography in the nation, and laugh at the pathetic attempts of wannabes in San Francisco, Hollywood, New York, and elsewhere to claim that title.