, Salem, MA


August 2, 2013

Benton: Outspoken, unchallenged


In certain respects, this year’s election will show which faction has the most clout at the polls. Should be an interesting fall.


On Feb. 24, 2012 I wrote in this column, “One of the people being mentioned as a possible Republican vice-presidential candidate, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, has a Peabody connection. His father, the late John F. ‘Jack’ McDonnell, was born and raised in the Tanner City.”

Since then McDonnell, who is constitutionally prohibited from running for re-election, has been caught in a scandal of major proportions for accepting money from a friend in the business community.

Tuesday, he announced he would be returning $120,000 in loans he received from Star Scientific executive Jonnie Williams, which doesn’t include the tens of thousands in “gifts” the dietary supplement hawker bestowed on McDonnell’s wife and children.

Fair to say McDonnell’s prospects for national office have been considerably diminished.


It seems Massachusetts can now lay claim to having the second-highest cigarette tax in the country, what the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation calls the “the most far-reaching software services tax in the nation,” and a rare self-inflating gasoline tax. If the Republicans can’t use this money-grab to scoff up a constitutional office or two and more than a few legislative seats in 2014, it might be time to consider disbanding the entire party.


And is there anything more archaic than the Massachusetts law requiring at least one member of each political party on city and town licensing boards?

Nelson Benton covered North Shore politics for 40 years before retiring last year from The Salem News.

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