, Salem, MA


August 14, 2013

Anderson: Barry Goldwater and optimism


My Barry Goldwater elephant will be my totem as I make my ongoing case that when some dissident Republicans refer to RINOs — Republicans in Name Only — they should define a RR — Real Republican — as libertarian Republican Barry Goldwater.

I didn’t get interested in politics until he was the presidential candidate in 1964, when I was a few years older than Brian and Mike. They made me remember the excitement of the campaign, the hope and optimism beginning again after the horror of the Kennedy assassination, in the midst of the Cold War, at the beginning of Vietnam.

I also remember the excitement and empowerment of the early years of initiative petition activism in Massachusetts. There have been few ballot questions in recent years; when the Legislature froze the income tax rate rollback in 2002 after the voters passed it in 2000, this discouraged future attempts at voter control.

Last Wednesday (Aug. 7), on the constitutional deadline for filing initiative petitions, 33 petitions were filed, and impressively, all of them were listed immediately on the attorney general’s website. Some of them are the same subject with different language to make sure at least one is in proper form; others are constitutional amendments that are just beginning a long process to get to the 2016 ballot.

But 15 are petitions for a statute: If sufficient signatures are collected this fall, they could be on the 2014 ballot to inspire voter interest and turnout. When we know which ones will be on the streets in September, I’ll write about them all here.

Right now, I’m especially interested in two of them, filed to repeal parts of the Patrick-Legislative tax increase that passed in late July.

“Repeal of Gas Tax Indexing” would repeal the part that adjusts the gas tax each January to the Consumer Price Index, increasing it without any further, controversial, roll-call vote from our representatives. This cowardly plan inspires an opposition slogan of “No taxation without representation.” It’s hard to organize a petition drive in the short time after the tax package passed, but a group of Republican legislators and activists are giving it a try.

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