Analysis of the vote.
Thank God the election that seemed like it would never end is finally over! Just one quick backward glance before we close the book on Election 2008 in order to examine the voting numbers which I ripped off from Masslive.com.
Obama Barack 1,840,848 62%
McCain John - 1,076,059 36%
Nader Ralph - 27,729 1%
Barr Bob - 12,627 0%
McKinney Cynthia - 6,354 0%
Baldwin Chuck - 4,884 0%
Unlike most presidential years, it was not considered impossible in 2008 for the Republicans to carry our state. Indeed, at one point this summer the polls suggested that the race was tightening here in Massachusetts. However, the selection of Sarah Palin seemed to permanently derail McCain's hopes in the Bay State, alienating the moderates who might otherwise have considered McCain.
Kerry John - 1,911,007 66%
Beatty Jeff - 899,378 31%
Underwood Bob - 92,485 3%
Beatty never laid a glove on Kerry, despite some high profile debates that gave him a chance to do so. The surprise is that nearly a hundred thousand people voted for Springfield's libertarian gadfly Bob Underwood. Who'd a thunk?
U.S. House - District 1
Olver, John - 211,802 73%
Bech Nate - 77,525 27%
John Olver deserved a bit of a scare this time out for his foolish votes in favor of the Wall Street bailout. Unfortunately, Nathan Bech was too poor a candidate to even serve as a vehicle for protest votes.
Question - 1-Income Tax Ban
No - 1,936,228 69%
Yes - 850,806 31%
The scary claims of opponents were a lot of hooey, since if passed this tax repeal would never have been instituted. After all, a much milder referendum that passed years ago lowering the tax rate to five percent still hasn't been implemented! Yet a yes vote would have shook up the stagnant and corrupt Massachusetts state government in a way that would have been healthy for the state and delightful to watch. Its defeat is a real missed opportunity.
Question - 2-Decriminalize Marijuana
Yes - 1,825,491 65%
No - 971,864 35%
It's shameful that in this day and age people are being arrested and punished for marijuana while far more deadly drugs like cigarettes and alcohol remain legal. Of course the ultimate goal is to legalize marijuana, but this is an important first step.
Question - 3-Dog Racing Ban
Yes - 1,545,167 56%
No - 1,206,153 44%
This question was a real coin flip - does the occasional abuse of dogs justify abolishing an entire industry? In the end kindness won over profits.
Governor's Councillor - District 8
Merrigan Thomas - 212,125 69%
Franco Michael - 93,110 31%
There is no excuse for the continuing existence of this useless legislative leftover from colonial times. At least Franco would have brought some balance to the all Democrat body as well as some entertainment. His far right-wing views might also have inspired the Democrats to finally take action to abolish the Council just to shut Franco up. Another missed opportunity.
State Senate - Hampshire & Franklin
Rosenberg Stanley - 61,790 84%
McCormic Keith - 12,037 16%
Whatever you think of the views of Keith McCormic he ran a totally idea and issue based campaign that was as sophisticated as any campaign against Rosenberg is ever likely to get. That Rosenberg swept him aside so easily is a pretty good indicator that the guy is practically invincible and probably a future member of Congress when Olver retires.
State House - 2nd Franklin
Donelan Christopher - 13,914 79%
Parks Robert - 3,682 21%
Shame on the local media for not paying more attention to this interesting race, which featured a black Republican against a white liberal.
State House - 2nd Hampden
Ashe Brian - 12,067 54%
Scibelli William - 10,102 46%
The pathetic decline of the Massachusetts Republican party continues relentlessly with the loss of this seat, which had been held by the GOP for over three decades. It would be laughable except we pay a high price in corruption and incompetence for having such a one-party state. Who is the watchdog when everybody's on the same team?
State House - 3rd Hampden
Sandlin Rosemary- 10,243 52%
Boldyga Nicholas - 9,457 48%
It would have been nice if the voters had given just one incumbent the boot, if only to keep the others in line. Boldyga would have been a great means of doing just that in yet another missed opportunity.
State House - 4th Hampden
Humason Donald - 11,482 69%
Hoose Brian - 5,071 31%
Controversial attorney Hoose never had a chance against the widely popular Humason in this Westfield district.
State House - 10th Hampden
Rivera Cheryl - 6,733 85%
Vazquez George - 1,165 15%
Fifteen percent for Vasquez is not a terrible total when you consider his court appearances received more attention than his campaign. There needs to be a new political alignment in Springfield's North End, but it ain't happening this time around.
Finally, a few words about the election of Barack Obama.
Ralph Nader, at his appearance in Northampton last week, did a pretty compelling job of deflating the image of Barack Obama as an agent of change. Reading aloud the corporate contributors that have bankrolled Obama's election - the most expensive in history - Nader asked whether Obama's corporate backers could really be throwing all that money at him because they are interested in "change."
Well, we now have four years to see. Although I was never convinced to support Obama, I was impressed by his ability to inspire idealism in his supporters, such as the ones I saw everywhere at UMass. The middle-aged cynic in me was tempted to inform these young people that politics always breaks your heart, but on the other hand the young idealist that still lives in me wanted to see their dream come true. If Obama fails like Nader predicted then there will be time enough to take him to task. But as for today, before all the politicking starts, let's latch on to some of that desire for reform and wish him well. Hope springs eternal and God bless America.
My picture is in the Hampshire Gazette this morning. (click to enlarge)
These posters are plastered all over downtown Northampton announcing the latest protest rally over the proposed restrictions against panhandling. I must have seen the poster a dozen times before it dawned on me that the photo on it was taken by me at the last rally.
Of course I'm delighted to let them use it, or anything else of mine they think might help, but it just amused me that I didn't immediately recognise my own photograph because it was appearing in an unexpected context.
That's the crazy thing about the internet, you never know where things are going to end up. For example, I recently discovered this video that repeatedly shows a photo in it that I took of Paul Kantner at the Springfield Civic Center in the late 1970's.