“The career politicians like Maggie Hassan have gotten us into this mess,” declares the donation-grubbing welcome pop-up on the website of far-right New Hampshire GOP Senate candidate Don Bolduc. “It’s going to take an outsider to fix it.”
This could be the laugh-out-loud line of the election if the stakes weren’t so serious and the dishonesty so profound. Bolduc is the son of a longtime Laconia, N.H. city councilor, a former cop and a military veteran of 33 years whose campaign has benefitted from millions in spending by the Republican establishment.
Some outsider. (Drop an antiemetic and browse Bolduc’s website for a taste of his “plans” to “fix it,” a parade of bogus bromides and promises that are the hallmark of today’s GOP.)
But Hassan is a Democratic incumbent in a year when Democratic incumbents are being blamed for everything, and she might well get swept away by the projectile vomiting of the right. As H.L. Mencken put it: “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.”
If so, it will stand in stark contrast to what’s happening in what Bolduc would surely call the “socialist pansy” state to his south.
Here, the insiders and incumbents reign supreme. Maura Healey, her certified outsider win in the 2014 race for attorney general a distant memory, may be the most bipartisan-insider-embraced candidate for governor since Paul Dever in 1958. There isn’t a single legitimate outsider on the statewide Democratic ticket, and legislative incumbents seem headed for a field day.
And in spite of all that whining on talk radio and in line at Dunkin’ Donuts, voters keep begging for more of the same, please. The state legislature was a reliable villain not so long ago. Lately, their approval ratings have approached Gov. Charlie Baker’s stratospheric levels.
Massachusetts insiders have benefitted from a comparison with the clown show in D.C. But it’s our relatively robust economic indicators, especially income and property values, that drive the bus.
Uh-oh. Better check that dashboard warning light.
“The Massachusetts economy may be more vulnerable than that of the U.S.,” says the latest report from the economic oracles at MassBenchmarks. “Job growth decelerated, the labor force shrunk… and weaknesses emerged in the sectors most affected by rising interest rates, most notably housing.” Meanwhile, local startup funding crashed by 30 percent during the first half of 2022, and our big bet on the tech sector isn’t looking so smart as it circles the bowl.
And inflation? Thirty-six bucks for a lobster roll? Are you freaking kidding me?
Perhaps Don “The Outsider” Bolduc can wrestle that price down, but we doubt it. No more than Gov. Deval Patrick could make good on his 2016 campaign pledge to moderate property taxes, a promise immediately nullified by the Democratic Legislature.
But Healey is promising to cut taxes in her ads, you say? LOL! If the Legislature wouldn’t do it in an election year when flush with federal cash, they won’t be doing it, period.
The voters here have said it over and over again in the pandemic era – they want the insiders kept in charge.
And that’s what they’re going to get.
Good and hard.