By Rosalie Tirella
This isn’t Christine O’Donnel country. This isn’t even Connecticut. And forget Scott Brown. He won the late great Ted Kennedy’s US Senate seat because Attorney General Martha Coakley ran such a crappy campaign and was disliked in general AND Brown, looking every inch the Cosmo cover boy that he was, managed to bullshit voters about how he drove around in a beat-up pick up truck and was salt of the earth and all that crap. Unfortunately, the voters ate all that crap up, and now Scott Brown (who today pretty much disavows his Tea Party connections) has gummed up the works in Washington.
Thank you, Scott Brown! For diddley!
But this is Worcester. Congressional candidate Marty Lamb has a snowflake’s chance in hell when it comes to defeating our Congressman Jim McGovern. The Lamb brigade, flush with money from the Tea Party movement, which gets its money from oil-co. moguls like the Koch brothers and other Right Wing multi-national corporations that hide their political interests/identites by founding very sober sounding right wing/libertarian think tanks that distribute all the gold, want to keep polluting our planet, exploiting immigrants and dis-assembling the New Deal and great Society programs plank by plank, won’t pull the wool over Worcesterites’ eyes.
Like I said, Lamb doesn’t stand a chance. Worcester is pretty much a tribal place when it comes to voting. If you are Irish, then you are in. If you are a Worcester city employee and your dad was a city worker and everyone knows your family because you all have been here in our schools and DPW and City Hall for generations, working for this mayor or that school superintendent, then you are in. So it really does come down to family roots, ethnicity, and old political ties when it comes to winning votes here, in Worcester.
Look at Worcester School Committee member Mary Mullaney – a soulless, sour puss if ever there was one. Years ago I wrote a piece on her. It was her first poltical campaign running for school committee. She was an outsider – from the Midwest. Her anti-abortion views and her (very subtle) racist feelings made her a tad scary. Yet she was one of the top vote getters in Worcester – one her first race in a breeze. How did Mullaney do this? I asked in my piece. Well, years ago Worcester had a well loved MAYOR MULLANEY – a mayor everyone knew and loved and most of the old timers adored. So, Mary Mullaney, never shared her roots in a real way with Worcester voters and all the old timers VOTED for her in the election, thinking she was the daughter of Mayor Mullaney. But more than that, Mullaney also was blessed with an IRISH surname. Some folks in Worcester will, without knowing the candidates’ and where they stand on the issues, will bullet-vote for the Irish candidates. They will look at the names on their ballot and chek off the O’Briens, the O’Connels.
Very tribal indeed.
Mostly this is not a good thing for Worcester. By being so backwards in their voting habits, new voices, new perspectives have trouble percolating up in this town – unless you are given a staff position in a Jim McGovern office (a la Gladys Rodriguez Parker) or in a Joe O’Brien office (a la Isabel Gonzalez). Then after you have hitched your star to an Irish wagon, can you win. I predict in four or five years Ms. Gonzalez – a liberal from New York City – will be running for office in Worcester and she will be counting on her Joe O’Brien connections to catapult her into public office.
This is OK, but it would be cooler if people could just get out there, state their ideas, work the crowds, go out and meet voters and then have Worcester voters validate THEM and THEIR IDEAS – not their political connections.
These Stone Age Worcester political dynamics – along with Jim McGovern’s great work, great constituent service, passion for justice and truth – will not only keep our favorite Congressman in office. It will catapult Jim McGovern back to Congress!
After all, this is Worcester.