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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

More Adventures in the Alternative Universe

When the break comes, those who start it will be astonished to find how many of their friends have been in favor of it for a long time, and have only been waiting to see some one take the lead. This desirable solution can only be attained by the defeat, and continued defeat, of the Democratic party as now constituted.
Conclusion of "Reasons for Being a Republican", one of the few speeches made by General Ulysses Simpson Grant (1822–85) after he retired from public life. Delivered at Warren, Ohio, on September 28, 1880.

We saw the best of Mike O'Keefe last night.

Not the terse, tight-lipped District Attorney, not the DNA-sweep self-justifying politician, not the alleged ladies’ man – rather, the humble, thoughtful and even vulnerable friend of late D.A. Phillip Rollins. Last night, the Cape Cod Republican Club (CCRC) gave its annual Lincoln Day Award to Phil Rollins, and O’Keefe spoke before a movie from Rollins’ retirement party was shown. It was a compilation of snapshots (including a honk-nosed John Kerry, sporting a mustache, from the days when he was Dukakis' Lt. Governor!), old videos, and tributes from those who worked with him like Frank Bellotti and Bill Delahunt. In it, O’Keefe was still the future DA, and you could see in the film why Rollins chose him as a successor, and even more, you could see the competence, dignity and strength in the man as he spoke that told us all what a good choice Rollins had made. It is a side of O’Keefe that is not seen often enough, and one we must remember as he faces reelection.

A bust of Abraham Lincoln was presented to Priscilla Rollins in Phil’s honor, and Rep. Gomes also brought a citation from the House. Fran Manzelli explained to the gathered crowd of over 120 that the CCRC President, Tom George, was currently in Cabo San Lucas (in light of some remarks made that was perhaps a good thing).

Lt. Gov. Kerry Healy spoke next, and talked a little about the priorities of the Legislature which are so askew. If the Democrat solons fail to act by the end of this week on the health care bill filed by Gov. Romney, the state will lose hundreds of millions of dollars in Federal funding. The debate is hot and heavy right now, on the subject of – vending machines in schools. The health care bill has been bogged down in a legislative conference committee for weeks, and they cannot allow it to go forward – as it might give Mitt Romney a legislative victory. No, better far that the state lose the money through their dog-in-the-manger actions; why, then they can say it’s George Bush’s fault! Anything but their own inaction and inattentiveness to the people’s business!

Which brings us to Matt Wylie, the Executive Director of the Mass GOP. Wylie spoke about the various training efforts being made for legislative candidates, and how happy he was to be on Cape Cod, where every seat is a contested one – with two Republican primaries to boot! He said that he believed that primaries were healthy, and a real sign of a revitalized party (and it is at that point that he should be grateful that Tom George was in Mexico, as Tom does NOT like primaries at all!). He spoke of the Healey-Mihos situation, and told us that Mihos had said he would be making an announcement in front of the State House on Thursday as to whether or not he would run as a Republican.

Which brings us to all the candidates there (in addition to the Lt. Governor) – Kevin Scott for U.S. Senate running against Ted Kennedy, Phil Paleologos for Governor’s Council, Ric Barros and Doug Bennett for State Senate, Dick Neitz for First Barnstable, Don Howell and Aaron Maloy for Fourth Barnstable, Bill Doherty for County Commissioner, Jack Meade for Register of Deeds, Scott Nickerson for Clerk of Courts. All were given 90 seconds, and despite the reputation of SEVERAL for verbosity, they all did very well. (By the way - Porcupine has decided to refer to Primary candidates alphabetically).

Which brings us to the most exciting announcement of the evening – Will Crocker, long time news director of WQRC and Ocean 104, told the group that he had submitted his resignation, in order to run for the Second Barnstable seat against Demetrius Atsalis! Will Crocker is a Cape Cod native, and his many years as news director at Cape Cod's premier news station has given him a unique education over the course of time in the issues and concerns facing Cape Cod. Crocker said, "I really admire all of those present for running, and know how much dedication this takes - But I have actually had to quit my job in order to run for this seat, and I think that shows real determination! I want to go to Beacon Hill, restore the integrity of the Second Barnstable District, and make sure that the Chapter 70 education formula is FAIR - fair for Barnstable, and fair for all the towns on Cape Cod!" An auspicious debut, indeed!

Which brings us to one final thought. If over 120 Democrats had gathered to hear Atty. Gen. Tom Reilly and Democrat Party Chair Phil Johnston speak in Hyannis, the Cape Cod Times would probably hired a news chopper, let alone send a reporter. They knew about the event, as it appeared in their calendar listings, as it did with other papers. But, once again, Porcupine is the only one to bring you news about the doings in the Alternative Republican Universe in bright blue Massachusetts.

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