Richard Tisei is my former MA State Senator from 1990-2010 (serving as Senate Minority Leader from 2006-2010), unsuccessful candidate for Lt. Governor in 2010 and unsuccessful challenger in the 2012 MA-06 congressional seat retained by John Tierney. He announced in January his intent to try again in 2014 to win the MA-06 seat.
On the front page of today's Boston Globe we learn that Tisei will boycott the State Republican Convention this weekend. Why? Because it has suddenly come to his attention that the Republican platform is anti-choice and anti-gay marriage.
Once the smelling salts have taken effect and you're off the fainting couch, join me below the orange dingledoodlethingie for more...
At the end of February, the MA Republican State Committee voted 52-16 on a party platform which, unlike previous years, included sections designed to appeal to socially conservative voters who are anti-reproductive choice and anti-marriage equality. The included changes are indicative of the greater voice Tea Party activists hold even in this relatively liberal state, where our Republican candidates have occasionally been to the left of their Democratic counterparts on social issues.
Did I mention Richard Tisei is openly gay (well, open as of immediately prior to his announcement as Charlie Baker's running mate in the 2010 Gubernatorial race) and in 2013 married his longtime partner? Yeah.
Dick (can I call you Dick, Richard?) Here's why this boycott of your party's convention this weekend amounts to, imho, nothing more than a grandstanding political stunt:
1. It's not as though news that the Republican party in general, and especially at the national level, is virulently anti- pretty much anything that doesn't specifically benefit rich white straight men. The national party platform has contained an anti-abortion plank since 1980 and an anti-marriage equality plank since 1992.
2. Dick, you've been willing to accept the support and backing of the Republican party for your entire political career. Yes, that includes financial backing from people who think your marriage is an abomination and that you personally are who Fred Phelps hated.
3. You have been willing to be the token gay dude for people who despise you, under the guise of "but I'm not like them, really! I have personal beliefs that aren't like those people who donate to my campaign and run the national party!" Perhaps you'll remember that Mr. Brillig and I wrote to you a decade ago explaining why we could no longer vote for you. That your willingness to be a spokesperson for a party whose beliefs actively violate our own was no longer acceptable to us, no matter your personal beliefs on these issues.
4. Your proclamation that the party is stuck in the 19th century and that you want to work to change the party from within is all well and good. First off, how's that change-from-within going, given the state party base has gotten MORE and not less conservative? Second, do you really believe that if you made it to the big show down in DC, Speaker Boehner, Majority Leader Cantor, and the rest of the crew is actually going to let you VOTE your conscience? Of course not. Because party unanimity trumps personal conscience these days over on your side of the aisle, and as a first-termer you're going to have exactly zero clout to do anything but smile, nod, and hope everyone but the rabid tea-drinkers in your constituency are paying attention.
This little stunt is your way of appealing to the not-so-Tea-colored members of the MA Republican party, and to the large unenrolled/independent base you're hoping to attract come November. Here's to hoping they're smarter than that.