Archive for February, 2012

State of Marriage Equality


Sorry, all. A call-in problem prevented our connection today. There are 13 minutes of me blathering, which I’ll erase. I’ll reschedule this and announce the updated time, date and URLs.

John Buehrens is a UU minister and former president of the UUA. For Left Ahead, we’re particularly pleased to have him on next week because he has been on the board of Freedom to Marry for nine years. He joins us to talk about the on-going civil rights struggle and where we might expect some wins short- and mid-term.

Because Super Tuesday primaries happen on our usual day and time, we bump one day to Wednesday, March 7th, at 2:30 PM Eastern. Listen live if you can then.

As usual, if you can’t click in then, you can listen on-demand or download the show at that URL, back here at Left Ahead or on our iTunes page.

Rev. Buehrens was the first heterosexual on that board. He’s been a social activist for his 40 year ministerial career, but has gained particular insights and expertise in marriage equality in the past decade. In recent comments covered over at Marry in Massachusetts, for example, he called the Maryland win.


Just Can’t Help It Podcast

OK, OK, the Republicans are asinine or vicious or both. We can stand it just so long without following up. This POTUS primary day a week before Super Tuesday was just the catalyst.

Ryan and Mike guffawed and giggled over Santorum and Romney. Sorry, We just couldn’t help it.

icon for podpress  GOP and glop [29:29m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


Walsh on 2012 Races Podcast

MA Dem Party Chair John Walsh is always funny, always fun and scary smart. He joined us today to talk strategy and prospects for the 2012 elections, but he won’t ever forget early 2010.

He led the commonwealth Dems to sweeping victory in November 2012 while the rest of the nation was awash in GOP fervor. In no small part, that was because he learned from the special-election loss at the start of the year that saw Republican Scott Brown edge Dem Martha Coakley for the US Senate seat. He continues to build on the lessons he learned after that, including conversations with Dem activists and pols.

Chief among those are:

  • start early
  • put resources in the hands of the locals and listen to their judgment

For the first, he knows that it would be disastrous for some party official in Boston to show up five weeks before the election with a new, improved plan for campaigning. Instead, the found that it is at the precinct and ward level where the organizers understand the patterns and trends locally. Communication needs to be both ways bottom to top and top to bottom.

Patrick padI started with my own recurring atonement as illustrated with the attached organizer pad for the 2010 campaign to re-elect Gov. Deval Partrick and Lt. Gov. Tim Murray. When Walsh made it plain that the party strategy centered on activists playing the role of organizers for people they knew, I had no doubt that was a losing plan. As I freely admit, it was instead a winning plan, one that was the foundation for Walsh’s current strategy. While the nation wallowed in red, MA was astonishingly blue, losing only a couple of state representative seats in the reactionary tide. I keep this pad handy to remind me of my pundit fallibility.

Click below to hear John speak of the refined version of keeping and improving on his party’s position. Dems are spreading the word through training and data on possible non-voting party members and party leaners who have not voted in the past two or three Presidentials. Through these vote-builder accounts, local activists can ID those and get them to the polls.

Walsh noted that the difference in that painful special-election defeat was about 50 votes per precinct (“It seemed like much worse,” he told us). Depending on the election (POTUS or not), there can be between 300,000 and 600,000 Dems or leaning Dems among non-voters. For many of those, voting is on their list, but not as high as “brushing teeth and pushing amrs in sweaters” in the case of those with kids. Some are young voters not in the habit yet and others are older voters recently infirm. He sees some of these are candidates for absentee voting.

Others don’t understand the big and small issues in the current contests. In these latter cases, Walsh notes, “When we have voters who don’t get it, it’s our fault.” That’s where he concentrates his work — getting out the vote and making sure Dems know the importance of the issues.

Walsh added that “as much as it pains me to say it,” about 1.1 million MA residents voted for Sarah Palin, largely GOP and unenrolled ones. While 1.9 million smeared the ovals for Joe Biden, the difference per election for Dems is getting them to the polls. Listen in as he describes how the party uses the online voter lists and has gotten 300 town committees trained so far in face-to-face work with those who have not been voting.

For this November, he is well aware that following the Citizens United decision, a disheartening amount of winger ads and other expenditures will target both President Obama and the MA Dem candidate for US Senate. He’s a firm believer that “the only thing that can beat big money” is face-to-face contact, real citizens v. Citizens United. He said that money only “simulates the relationships.”

Beyond the election, he indulged us on the questions at least one US Senate candidate, Marisa DeFranco, raised earlier this month about the process of getting on the ballot. Listen in as he agrees that it can seem arduous to get 10,000 signatures, the 15% of party delegates (around 750) at the June convention to get on the primary ballot. He has the luxury of inheriting the state law and party rules, but added that he’s open to refinements.

This go in November, Walsh is working toward getting an additional 20% to 30% more Dems and leaning Dems to the polls.


icon for podpress  John Walsh on 2012 [44:58m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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John Walsh Next Week

Someone not afraid of modern versions of strum und drang is John Walsh, chair of the MA Democratic Party. He comes on next week to talk about candidates, campaigns, opponents and strategies.walsh21.jpg

If you can catch him live, click here on Tuesday, February 21st at 2:30 PM Eastern. Afterward, the show will be at that URL, back here at Left Ahead and on iTunes.

The always insightful and relentlessly funny Walsh is a favorite guest. We’ll ask him about the battle to defeat incumbent Sen. Scott Brown with Elizabeth Warren or other Dem contenders, and the MA races. Who knows where else we’ll tread?


Boston Council President Podcast

smurphy.pngSteve Murphy, president of Boston’s City Council, joined us for an update on key issues. He’s a pivot for many heady problems (a.k.a. opportunities, to optimists).

We touched on the interlocking casino in Boston/hole in the ground at Downtown Crossing, where the city’s money will come from and go in these tight times, the PILOT moneys from universities and other non-profits, and the roles of the Council and Mayor Menino in the big issues.

Listen in as the ever ebullient Murphy describes the row of huge issues before him as “real exciting.” Where others might turn and run, he’s eager to engage in the battles and policy.

He describes what I termed as a tag team with Menino and him on pressuring the developer who left the huge hole where Filene’s used to be. He also goes to the heart of whether the East Boston ward or whole city will be in on the casino-siting vote (hearings first; evaluation of role of public money second; vote decision after the process advances).

We didn’t cover everything, but did have a wide-ranging check-in on Boston.


icon for podpress  Steve Murphy [32:01m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


Murphy on the Heart of the City

Boston City Council President Stephen Murphy joins us. We talk about what must be done and what’s possible for the city.

He came through a hotly contested at-large Councilor contest. Recently reelected to a second term at the head of Council, he’s long been the body’s money-and-numbers guy. This time, he faces complex, tough debates and disagreements on the likes of casino gambling in Boston.

To catch this Valentine’s Day show live, go here Tuesday, Feb. 14th, at 2:30 PM Eastern. Afterward, you can listen on demand there, back here at Left Ahead or on our iTune channel.

You can prime yourself for this show by returning to the last time he was on with us. Click here for that.