, Salem, MA


October 13, 2012

Anderson: The three types of candidates, voters


The pattern for the debate was set early. Fishman had interesting ideas, Tisei said he’d fairly consider anyone’s ideas, Tierney ignored Fishman and attacked Republicans in general and the Tea Party, which wasn’t even at this party, since no one was asked about the national debt.

As Tisei cited many examples of his ability, while a Massachusetts legislator, to get along with both Democrats and Republicans, Fishman joked that if elected he’d only talk to other Libertarians. Tisei noted that Tierney votes with the Democratic leadership 99 percent of the time, including the strictly partisan vote to pass ObamaCare with no Republican support while the Massachusetts version was a bi-partisan effort.

Regardless of what Tisei and Fishman said about working well with others, Tierney insisted that Tisei would “support the Tea Party that doesn’t believe in government.” Actually, it’s Libertarians like Fishman who would severely limit government, while the Tea Party just wants it to live within our means and the Constitution. Tisei cited his several awards from human service groups.

Fishman and Tisei were good-natured throughout the debate, with the latter even joking about being the only gay, pro-choice Republican attacked as an extremist by his Democrat opponent. But at the end, when Tierney charged that Tisei hadn’t paid some taxes (reflecting business losses during the recession), Tisei expressed astonishment that someone who hadn’t declared over $200,000 in family income from illegal gambling would bring up the subject of unpaid taxes!

Driving home later in the drizzle, I mused that there are three kinds of people involved in politics as either candidates or voters: partisans, who get caught up in the party thing and generally vote along party lines whether or not they agree with their leadership; ideologues, who vote for principles that they think are right and on candidates/issues as they reflect those ideals; pragmatists, who vote for what they think will work. (I’m not counting the clueless/apathetic who probably shouldn’t vote at all.)

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