SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

April 4, 2014

Benton: Looking for a 6th District boogeyman

Every campaign has its villain-in-chief.

For instance, U.S. Rep. John Tierney, D-Salem, never misses an opportunity to link his Republican opponent, Richard Tisei, with the tea party. Then, this week on April Fool’s Day the Tisei campaign was out with a release featuring a photo of Tierney on the phone under the caption: “Hello, Nancy? What should I do?”

Indeed, this election could well turn into a referendum on the person North Shore voters feel is most responsible for the problems in Washington: House Speaker John Boehner or Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

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Seems the 19th century has become everyone’s favorite punching bag.

A couple of weeks ago it was Tisei warning his Republican colleagues that theirs “will never be a 21st-century party if our platform is stuck in the 19th.” Days later, it was another son of the Bay State, diplomat extraordinaire John Kerry, describing Russia’s takeover of Crimea as “19th-century behavior in the 21st century.”

At least it appears we’re living in the right era.

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You might think the Republican Party’s fortunes couldn’t get worse here in the bluest of states, but incredibly, that’s just what happened Tuesday.

The Democrats swept all five special elections for vacant legislative seats, including a Senate district in Hampden County long held by the GOP and, closer to home, the House seat occupied by Tisei for many years.

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We understand there are some who are urging retiring Collins Middle School principal Mary Manning to run for the Salem School Committee in 2015. She and Brendan Walsh, another veteran of the school administration who came in second overall in the last school board election, would make a formidable pair.

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Like this comment on this week’s U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down overall limits on campaign contributions: “Finally, we have a Supreme Court willing to stand up for rich people.”

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