Gizzi: Centrist Democrats Nearly Extinct in Massachusetts

Tuesday, 02 Apr 2013 08:09 AM

By John Gizzi

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
Massachusetts Democrats have a most intriguing situation in the race to replace Secretary of State John Kerry in the Senate: Two U.S. congressmen, Ed Markey and Stephen Lynch, are squaring off in a primary seeking their party’s nod.

As the April 30 primary grows closer, it is common for out-of-state pundits to portray the Bay State’s Senate primary as the site of a great battle royal between two disparate wings of the Democratic Party.

It is Markey of Malden, a committed liberal intellectual, vs. Lynch of South Boston, former blue-collar worker and union lawyer.

In some accounts of the race, Lynch has been referred to as a “centrist” or even a “conservative” Democrat, since he disagrees sharply with his opponent on issues such as abortion, gay rights, and Obamacare.

As enticing as this characterization of the upcoming Senate primary is to political scientists and the punditry, it has one fatal flaw: It’s all moonshine.

With a lifetime rating of 11.83 from the American Conservative Union, Lynch is only a hair less conservative than Markey’s lifetime ACU rating of 3.36.

In 2011, in fact, Markey actually emerged as more conservative than Lynch with an ACU rating of 8.00 for the year compared to a “zero” for Lynch.

The difference comes from two key votes. Markey agreed with the conservative ACU position both times, voting against increasing the debt ceiling to $2.5 trillion and against a $915 billion omnibus spending bill, with Lynch voting in favor of both measures.

Still, Markey is seen as more liberal on most issues. While Markey calls his vote for Obamacare “the proudest vote of my career,” Lynch was the lone congressman from New England to oppose the measure.

But Lynch’s explanation for his vote is not exactly that of a conservative champion of private healthcare. He wanted to go a step further toward nationalized healthcare than Obamacare did, seeking the so-called “public option” that would have created government-run plans to compete with private insurance companies.

Lynch has always taken the anti-abortion position of his Roman Catholicism, a stand which remains popular in his heavily Catholic, blue-collar district.

But while he once was seen as a vigorous opponent of anything favored by the gay community, Lynch has come around to the position held by most Democrats in Congress today. He voted against a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage and in favor of granting medical benefits to domestic partners of federal employees.

There was a time in Massachusetts when the term “conservative” or “centrist” Democrat meant just that.

Edward J. King was one such conservative Democrat. In 1978, the former offensive guard for the Baltimore Colts mobilized a team of pro-lifers, gun-owners, and anti-taxers to defeat Gov. Michael Dukakis, a committed liberal.

In an upset that made national headlines, King defeated Dukakis in the Democratic primary and went on to turn in as conservative of a record as any modern governor of the Bay State.

Whatever liberals may have thought of Dukakis personally, they regrouped in 1982 out of fear of four more years of “Eddie” King and Dukakis turned the tables on his arch-nemesis, winning back the governor’s seat.

King eventually left the Democratic Party and became a Republican, strongly supporting George H.W. Bush in his winning race for president in 1988 against Dukakis.

These days, there are no more politicians like Edward J. King among Massachusetts Democrats. There are only ones like Ed Markey and Stephen Lynch, and, as a look at their records show, there isn’t much of a difference between them.

John Gizzi is the former political editor for Human Events, working for the conservative weekly from 1979 to 2013. Gizzi is a recipient of the William A. Rusher Award for Journalistic Excellence, was named Journalist of the Year by the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2002, and has appeared on hundreds of radio and TV talk shows.

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Rove to GOP Candidates: Be Bold and Clear About Principles

Thursday, 02 Oct 2014 06:40 AM

Momentum is with Republican candidates ahead of next month's midterm elections. To close the sale GOP candidates need  . . .

Mitt Romney's in Demand as GOP 2016 Field Still in Flux

Thursday, 02 Oct 2014 06:03 AM

Almost two years after his Election Day drubbing, Mitt Romney is the Republican man in demand.The twice-defeated White H . . .

AP-GfK Poll: Economy Still the Top Election Issue

Thursday, 02 Oct 2014 06:01 AM

Recent headlines could make you think this election would be different. Perhaps, for the first time since the Great Rece . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved