By Barbara Anderson
The Salem News
---- — So there I was, at the first 6th Congressional District debate, held by Commonwealth Magazine at North Shore Community College. Participants were, in alphabetic order, Fishman vs. Tierney vs. Tisei. This completes the only objectivity in this column.
As a libertarian, I agreed with everything the Libertarian candidate Daniel Fishman eloquently said — especially his mini-poem about my primary concern this election: “Debt is the threat.” Hope this mantra lodges itself in every voter’s mind.
Now moving on to the real race, which is between Richard Tisei, a nice young man (roughly my son’s age) whom I’ve known for almost 30 years, and John Tierney, whom I loathe with every fiber of my being.
I usually vote Republican because of my primary concern about fiscal issues, but I’ve known Democrats I like; rarely get emotional about any politician, either way. Here is why Tierney is an exception.
So far this campaign season I’ve received eight large anti-Tisei fliers in the mail; expect to receive several more. Chip Ford — also a registered Independent, but younger and male, living next door – didn’t get them. Let’s try to figure out what the targeted demographic is.
The first flier features a hard-hat workingman who accuses Tisei of being “just another Tea Party voice in Washington giving corporations tax breaks to send jobs like mine overseas.”
I’ve known a lot of tea partiers, including myself, none of whom support giving corporations tax breaks to send jobs overseas. I checked the sites noted on the flier as “proof” of the above statement. The first was the Salem News in August; I couldn’t find anything there about Tisei, the Tea Party, corporations. The second site, at Bloomberg News in August, simply noted that Tisei got the endorsement of the National Chamber of Commerce; he said “Now is the time to repeal the 2.3 percent excise tax on medical devices that would do irreparable harm to growing businesses on the North Shore, pass commonsense tax relief to help businesses grow, and end the intrusive practices of the Federal government that are damaging the fishing industry.”
During the debate the candidates were asked about the medical devices tax; Tierney responded that the medical device businesses wanted the tax.
The third site was a video on NECN; a good interview of Tisei by Jim Braude. Noted no mention of the Tea Party or corporations going overseas.
I’ll add here that I saw Braude last Friday commenting on “Braude Beat” that while Tisei has always been available, Tierney refuses to appear. Just before this, on Public Television’s Emily Rooney show, her “Beat the Press” mixed panel all disliked Tierney’s demand that debates not include discussion of his family scandal or cross-questioning by the candidates. The highly non-partisan Rooney also noted that Tierney will not appear on her show, accusing her of bias.
Another section of Flier 1 insists that Tisei will be “ending Medicare.” Flier 2, featuring another hardhat, repeats this. Flier 3 features an older man stating that “Richard Tisei will stick with the Tea Party to end the Medicare benefits I was promised.” The man seems over 55; the Romney-Ryan Medicare plan applies only to people under 55. Not sure what the Tea Party is doing on this flier; many tea partiers like me are seniors who want to save Medicare, which is heading for bankruptcy.
And yet: this accusation is repeated in Flier 4, which features an elderly woman, and all the other fliers, culminating in Flier 7 that Tisei brought to the debate and showed the audience. Colored orange, he looks threatening under the words “Richard Tisei will end MEDICARE.”
Flier 5 is like the television ads you have all probably seen, in which gay, easy-going, social-liberal Tisei is connected to Sarah Palin; this one, along with Flier 8, implies he opposes abortion with “no exceptions for rape or the life of the woman” because “he didn’t lift a finger to stop them.” Stop who? What?! I checked the two media sites, couldn’t find anything changing Tisei’s consistent, long-time pro-choice position.
At some point the candidate was asked about a constitutional amendment banning abortion that is estimated to have only a 1 percent chance of passing Congress, never mind being ratified by the states. Though clearly he would vote against it, Tisei simply responded with “it is what it is,” which is what can be said about anything too farfetched to waste time discussing. This phrase is the focus of Flier 8. Pathetic, meaningless attack.
All these lying fliers have been sent to me by the Massachusetts State Democratic Party. Tierney clearly approves of them — he hasn’t stated otherwise, and his most commonly used word in the debate was “extremists.” He tried to make Tisei appear an extremist because Republicans of all ideological stripes are enthusiastically supporting him against the ultra-liberal Democrat Tierney.
I can’t imagine who would support the likes of him even if they agreed on some issues. But some of us are targeted “potential” — near as I can tell from the fliers, the Democratic Party thinks that Independent women and senior citizens are dumb enough to believe anything they’re told by sleazy campaigners, then scared enough to vote for Tierney. Personally, I resent that a lot.
Barbara Anderson of Marblehead is a regular contributor to these pages.