Thursday, October 28, 2010
Stein at UMass
Green Party candidate for Governor Dr. Jill Stein brought her longshot campaign for Massachusetts Governor to the University of Massachusetts this afternoon. There was a decent turnout.
Stein gave an informative, if somewhat wonkish speech, but it is her lack of political polish that is part of her appeal. She accused her opponents of being sell-outs to special interests, but was harshest towards incumbent Deval Patrick, whom she accused of "corporate misdeeds" when he worked in the private sector. The truth is Stein really is a breath of intellectual fresh air in an otherwise dull field. The shame is that on most issues she is virtually a socialist. However she is very libertarian on the legalization of marijuana, and it was her lines in support of legal weed that drew the loudest applause from the mostly student audience.
Among those in attendance was Amherst/Granby State Rep. candidate Dan Melick (left). He has caused a stir in his campaign by calling for the legalization of all drugs.
Not surprisingly the pro-pot angle brought out longtime legalization advocate Terry Franklin.
Following the speech counter-culture comedian Norman Bie did his latest incarnation of his longstanding routine "Deviations From the Norm."
Meanwhile in Tom Wesley's race to replace Richie Neal in Congress he received a major boost this week from an appearance in Palmer with his former GOP primary rival Dr. Jay Fleitman. Now the Republicans are formally united coming into the home stretch.
Meanwhile this highly unflattering video of Congressman Neal has been making the rounds.
A McCarthy for Senate sign in front of the Gateway Hardware in the Pine Point section of Springfield.
That's no surprise, since Gateway is owned by the candidate himself Tom McCarthy, shown here hard at work in his store the other day.
A big tempest in a teapot arose this week in Springfield over the illegal placing of a Democrat Party campaign sign on the pillars of City Hall.
Although the sign was quickly taken down after complaints came pouring in, it was never determined who exactly had delivered the banner to City Hall or ordered it put up. Although some argued that the controversy helped to publicize the event, others suggested that the Democrats had damaged their cause by appearing arrogant, as if City Hall was the personal property of the Democrat Party. Others expressed anger that city workers were being used to promote Democrat Party events. This partisan favoritism reminded me of a similar controversy that occurred years ago.
In Springfield during the Albano era, the candidates who were loyal to the city's corrupt Democrat Party political machine were allowed to use the inside of City Hall to hold campaign announcements and press conferences. Obviously this gave the machine-backed candidates an advantage in how they appeared on TV and in photographs, as they were able to impress voters by making it appear as if they were already operating out of City Hall. However, when critics of the local machine tried to use the same City Hall settings for their campaign affairs, they were told it was not allowed!
Enter into the picture Brenda Branchini (above) a local hairdresser who decided in 1997 to run for office and wanted to use City Hall for her formal campaign announcement. Branchini was a colorful character, whose now defunct Court Square hair shop was notorious for offering, for an extra fee, the option of having your hair cut by females in very skimpy lingerie. Sadly, that sexy side of her business overshadowed the other aspects of her candidacy, in which she had numerous commonsense libertarian views. In many ways she ran exactly the kind of issues based campaign one always hoped to see in Springfield during those days of political stagnation and corruption but seldom did.
As a public figure Brenda Branchini came across as bold, sassy, unbossed and unbought. In protest of her exclusion from City Hall she led a motley parade down Main Street that included homeless people, dogs and cats, sex workers and radicals of all stripes who went dancing along with flutes, whistles and horns while waving signs demanding to be allowed to hold a rally inside City Hall just like those candidates blessed by the political establishment. Branchini and her supporters were turned away by City Hall security, but the protest parade managed to attract media attention. Once it became public that City Hall was being used to stage campaign rallies for privileged insiders that were forbidden to other candidates, the policy was finally changed to close City Hall to all partisan political activity.
Or so it seemed until this week. Hey Brenda, maybe it's time to come out of political retirement and lead another parade!