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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.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (18+ / 0-)

    Holy crap, I wrote a non-Top Comments diary. Be gentle with me :).

    "But hate wears you down, and does not hurt your enemy. It is like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die." - - Cherokee saying

    by brillig on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 10:15:25 AM PDT

  •  It's comical what they will do to 'feign' (8+ / 0-)

    independence. No real cost on the 'R" side, why not?

    But it takes much more than that to demonstrate one is willing to 'break ranks.' That gesture is purely symbolic, it has NO soul. Let him openly denounce the path of that party, let him renounce the R and run as an independent, if he wants to be serious about it.

    Actions, not words.

    Thanks for the fine catch, brillig! Have not seen this anywhere else!

    "The opposite of war isn't peace, it's CREATION." _ Jonathan Larson, RENT -9.62, -9.13

    by BeninSC on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 10:23:05 AM PDT

    •  I checked here all morning (5+ / 0-)

      Figured someone HAD to have written about this, but didn't see anything. It bothers me that he'll get accolades for "standing up to the social conservatives" when it won't make a whit of difference if he were to win his election.

      Tisei's former running mate Charlie Baker will be attending. He is running for Governor, and needs his party's nomination. He is pandering to the teabagger wing, even though he is on the record as being pro-choice and pro-marriage equality.

      The muck these two sling about requires hip waders...

      "But hate wears you down, and does not hurt your enemy. It is like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die." - - Cherokee saying

      by brillig on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 10:29:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  If he really wanted to do something interesting (7+ / 0-)

    he could run as a conservative independent.  Of course he'd then have even less chance of winning, but hey, sometimes you just need to follow your conscience.

    Water which is too pure has no fish -- Ts'ai Ken T'an

    by mik on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 10:23:36 AM PDT

    •  He is a Republican. As adept as any at (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Steveningen, mik, brillig, AJayne, atdnext

      subordinating conscience to every other possible political motive. Their defining characteristic - they NEVER follow their conscience. Most times, there is simply nothing left to follow.

      (I know you know, mik! ::wink:: )

      "The opposite of war isn't peace, it's CREATION." _ Jonathan Larson, RENT -9.62, -9.13

      by BeninSC on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 10:27:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Reminds me of what happened... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BeninSC, brillig

        Here last year, when suddenly a group of Republican State Senators announced their intention of supporting the constitutional amendment to overturn our marriage ban. They said "discrimination doesn't belong in the constitution"... But when the amendment itself was amended to explicitly include marriage equality, they suddenly balked. And they ultimately whipped their entire caucus against SJR 13. (Only one Republican Senator from Reno crossed over to support it.)

        They want us to buy into their "rebranding", even when they don't believe it themselves.

        •  They want to 'govern' by words, not deeds. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          brillig

          When ONLY deeds really count. That's the lens for viewing the soul of any politician, or any human being.

          "The opposite of war isn't peace, it's CREATION." _ Jonathan Larson, RENT -9.62, -9.13

          by BeninSC on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 10:56:34 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  If he ran as an independent... (6+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BeninSC, Steveningen, mik, AJayne, atdnext, Arenosa

      he'd have to give up calling himself a Republican. And he's shown time and time again that that narrow-minded elephant matters a great deal to him.

      "But hate wears you down, and does not hurt your enemy. It is like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die." - - Cherokee saying

      by brillig on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 10:30:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  So all of a sudden... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    brillig, BeninSC, mik, Arenosa

    He now realizes his "family values" party doesn't value his family? Where has he been for all these years?

    •  Under a rock (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BeninSC, Arenosa

      For years decades, he's been able to pretend that the social conservatism of the national party was of no importance in Massachusetts. That "his party" was big-tent and had room for everyone, including he and his husband.

      Then he discovers that the Tea Party activists have taken root in his own backyard. That the power they wield in Washington and in so many states comes home to roost, and suddenly he cannot pretend to ignore it any longer.

      Awkward to say the least, when your own state activists make clear that they either (a) hate you for your husband; or (b) think you'd make a great token gay dude to get them into the MA congressional delegation.

      "But hate wears you down, and does not hurt your enemy. It is like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die." - - Cherokee saying

      by brillig on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 10:56:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Heh. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    brillig, slksfca, BeninSC, mik, Arenosa

    Gay Republicans are essentially painted into a corner.  The only way I can imagine any LGBT person becoming a Republican in good standing is due to some combination of the following motivations:  (a) s/he has bought into the "low taxes are good for businesses, and hence good for the economy" philosophy, to the exclusion of current reality;  (b) s/he has a libertarian philosophy that supports the low-taxes/no gun regulation/decriminalize marijuana/stay out of my bedroom point of view fashionable among a few in the GOP, who tend to follow Rand Paul;  (c) s/he is a fervent Christian of some stripe or other that, while somehow managing to negotiate or avoid the hostility of their conservative Christian compatriots;  (d) s/he has no actual conscience.

    In any case, the current political environment in the GOP everywhere casts any LGBT members to the furthest reaches of the universe.  This ought to be apparent to any voter who has been paying a modicum of attention to the politics of equality over the past decade.

    As for Tisei, well, I hope he's got good wilderness survival skills.  He's going to need them over the next few years, at least until the social conservatives currently in control of the GOP loose their iron grip.

    -5.13,-5.64; GOP thinking: A 13 year path to citizenship is too easy, and a 5 minute background check is too burdensome. -- 1audreyrenee

    by gizmo59 on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 10:57:52 AM PDT

    •  Maybe I should mail him a compass? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BeninSC, gizmo59, Arenosa

      You know, I really do understand trying to change thing from within. I really, really do. But there comes a point when it's no longer possible.

      Witness those who've left the Catholic church over doctrine, or the Boy Scouts, or political parties. At some point, you cannot have it both ways, choosing cafeteria style which of the planks or principles you adhere to and which "have no place here".

      I think Tisei really is an old-school fiscal conservative/social moderate. But let's take a look at his position on isues: He's on-board completely with "Obamacare is evil". With "Let's treat the Federal budget like a household budget". With "small businesses are over-regulated". On many other issues, he's not stated a position.

      We know in general how 'refuses to answer' votes...

      "But hate wears you down, and does not hurt your enemy. It is like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die." - - Cherokee saying

      by brillig on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 11:05:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I was coming out of.. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    brillig, mik

    Market Basket, and was asked to sign a petition to get him on the ballot. What's that about?

    •  Signature filing deadline isn't til May (0+ / 0-)

      Federal office-seekers have until May to file.

      "But hate wears you down, and does not hurt your enemy. It is like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die." - - Cherokee saying

      by brillig on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 01:13:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  thanks.. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        brillig

        I should know that.

        •  I had to look it up (0+ / 0-)

          Given the continual election cycle we've been under in my locale, it feel like there's always been someone gathering signatures.

          "But hate wears you down, and does not hurt your enemy. It is like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die." - - Cherokee saying

          by brillig on Sat Mar 22, 2014 at 12:22:38 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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