By Phineas J. Stone
The only election I really want to vote in this coming week is up in New Hampshire.
Unfortunately, being Mr. Boston, I don’t qualify, and I have to admit I am somewhat disappointed.
We have the most boring elections in Massachusetts, mostly because everyone here is on the same team and if they don’t toe the elite Democratic line – they’re faced with being marginalized in a way that no other state can offer. Needless to say, any political fighting that must take place happens in the back room of the 21st Amendment Bar on Beacon Hill long before the voters in this state have a chance to weight in. That’s the way it is when you’re the most lopsided, one-party state in the nation. The diversity of political thought is not exactly a caveat of the ‘Athens of America.’ That said, people seem to like it that way, as it hasn’t changed in generations.
But, because we are the largest media market next to the only East Coast swing state…ever…those of us in Boston who watch broadcast television are inundated with political ads that we can only watch. Though those ads are in full view of millions of Bay Staters and Bostonians, they only serve as entertainment for us and information for the small segment of southern New Hampshire voters who tune into Fox 25, Channel 7 or Channel 4 and so on. So, we’re forced to be entertained by the public airing of party laundry from the folks in New Hampshire, even though we’ll never actually get to meet them or talk to them.
I used to hate it because the candidates from New Hampshire and the wealth of Democratic and Republican backed PACs would spend so much money and disrupt my peace as I watched baseball in the summer or football in the fall.
But this year I’ve reconsidered.
Instead of getting enlivened about voting for my unopposed member of Congress or exuberantly marking the ballot for my state representative who hasn’t had an opponent in six terms, this year I’ve decided to get pulled into the New Hampshire twists and turns – and just who is the skunk this week or the next – so much so that I wish I had a car to register up there so I could participate in all the grandeur of that political bloodbath.
Last week, I was ready to send Kelly Ayotte packing. She was with the Koch Brothers 95 percent of the time, they said. There was even a picture of a function hall in D.C. where they raised money for her. I’m not exactly sure what that meant in the big scheme, but it sure didn’t sound so good that a bunch of oilmen from flyover country were in her corner. Then I saw a great smackdown ad against Maggie Hassan about how she employed a sexual predator who worked at her husband’s high school. Holy Cow! That was a game changer, watching her stutter in the PAC ad as she tried to explain it to reporters. I noted how the entire ad was clouded with a dark filter and in black and white – not color. Great work. So now I’m of the opinion that she can’t be in office.
Then Ayotte started showing the ads of her playing softball with some folks on an empty field at night while wearing a Red Sox cap. She swung the bat pretty good; I think she must have played a little softball in her time. Anyone who follows Mr. Boston knows that speaks to me. Maybe she was on the Kiwanis team or the Lion’s Club summer league in the days before she ran back and forth to Washington, D.C. – when she was a real person. Her swing was nice and level, but she was only chucking grounders, and I even saw a couple of foul balls. What in the world? I want her nailing one way into centerfield in full view of the cameras if she’s going to be my candidate. I scored that as a minus.
But weakly hit softballs aside, I was still leaning her way.
Then Hassan pulled out all the stops and premiered the blockbuster spot about her disabled son. There she was at the family dinner table with him and pushing his wheelchair around the house and the community. They talked about how Ayotte and her party – the Republicans – couldn’t be trusted to protect disabled folks like her son. She pledged to fight for them, and that she knew exactly what caregivers were facing. How could you turn away from that without a tear or two?
Now I’m back on the fence, but boy does it feel good to have a little competition and see two qualified women being torn to shreds in an election – to the point where after an entire summer and fall of brutally negative ads, we’re left to figure neither one of them are worth a pile of beans.
And that’s why Mr. Boston has come around to making an endorsement; the first of its kind in the short-lived annals of these pages.
So it is, I assure you that this coming Tuesday, I’m voting for New Hampshire.