Sunday, October 23rd, 2016

It’s health care, big government, and national security


Michael Moynihan reported on the ground in his native Massachusetts what he saw during the campaign:

What on earth is happening here? A local Republican Party Chairman was blunt: It’s health care, big government, and national security that are driving Brown’s spectacular bounce in the polls, but no one in state party politics expected something like this. To lose by 15 points would, this time last month, have been considered a good, if not really good, result.

Everywhere I turn there are r-dropping Bostonians complaining about government, insisting that Americans need to “take their country back.” One woman, who seemed overly familiar with all of my childhood neighbors—the Flynns, the McBreens—compares herself to a passenger on Flight 93 who wants to yell “let’s roll” and regain control of our hijacked country. Or perhaps she was suggesting that President Obama is a Muslim. It was, like many of the arguments I heard, not completely clear.

Those who say that the foot soldiers coming out in the bitter cold, in a wet and soggy snow, to hoot and holler for Scott Brown are hirelings, out-of-staters, both teabaggers and carpetbaggers, are talking nonsense. I came across a man from Michigan selling “second American revolution” flags, an Atlanta native who, veins popping on his neck, told me that the government was run by “thieves,” a woman from Pittsburgh who “blogs on Facebook” (whatever that means), and a handful of people from New Hampshire who would rather die than not live free. Or so their license plates informed me.

But most were like Nick Redmond, a native of Dorchester—the neighborhood famous outside Massachusetts for bequeathing New Kids on the Block and Donna Summer to American culture—who was voting for Scott Brown because, under the current administration, “the middle class is getting screwed.” Or John Camuso, a gay man from Boston who said he was “proud to give [Brown] my vote,” despite thinking that Coakley, whom he knew from his neighborhood, was a “nice lady.”

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