A Fox and Some Grapes
A new 527 is about to be born, and while the official lauch isn't until towmrrow, Porcupine has chosen to write about this particular group in advance of their official entrance onto the political stage.
The group is called Massachusetts Republicans for Truth, (MRFT) and it is headed by two longtime activists, Holly Robichaud and Ron Vining. Porcupine is less acquainted with Mr. Vining, who was briefly a candidate for Chairman of the Mass. GOP, but chose to withdraw at the candidate debate for an unspecified upcoming project, which appears to be this one. (Click HERE to watch the debate; the election was won by Peter Torkildson, but far too few people realize that there were six candidates, and that there WAS a debate). A copy of Mr. Vining's press release announcing the formation of the group is HERE.
Porcupine is rather better acquainted with Holly Robichaud. Ms. Robichaud is an attractive blonde, a bit of a Republican fox (MEMO: WHY are all GOP punditresses brainy blondes? Ann Coulter, Laura Ingram, Ainsley Hayes - there's something going on there). She was a long-time aide to Rep. Ed Teague, who became House Minority Leader, and she was campaign manager for Ed Teague's unsuccessful campaigns for Congress and State Senate, the unsuccessful campaign of JoAnne Sprague for Congress, and the successful campaigns of Reed Hillman, Ginny Coppola and Jay Barrows for the House. She was on the original Christy Mihos for Governor team, but quit when he decided to run as an independent, citing her long involvement with the Republican Party. Ms. Robichaud has apparently discovered Christy's delight at being a spoiler. She is also known as the 'Lone Republican' as a commentator for the Boston Herald, and is likely to bcome a lot more lone very soon. She was not hired by the Romney campaign, but it is not clear if she is acting for the McCain or Guiliani campaigns as founder of this 527 group. Holly claims the group has 40 members, but she declines to name them as they are fearful. Or imaginary. Or both.
Ms. Robichaud took the group out for a spin in front of the Friday Morning Group, a monthly conservative think tank with which Porcupine is acquainted, and reports only a mixed success in front of the group. Porcupine has little trouble believing that, as while they all hold strong opinions, trashing a favorite son would not sit well with them. Because of its unveiling last Friday, Ms. Robichaud has brought the web site on line a little early. It was supposed to take its place on the stage tomorrow, doubtless to coincide with Gov. Romney's 60th birthday. Nice.
The web site says it will answer these following questions - Porcupine will anticiapate their answers with some responses of his own. (These are probably not the answers MFRT will offer).
· Who is Mitt Romney? Governor, businessman, entrepreneur, saviour of the Salt Lake City Olympics, faithful husband and father, generous contributor to charity.
· What were his accomplishments? Abolition of the hack-ridden Metropolitan District Commission, the firing of Billy Bulger, the creation of the John and Abigail Adams scholarship programs to UMass, bringing the Sagamore Flyover project to completion on time and under budget, appointed Gen. George Keefe to shore up troubled Mass. National Guard, wrote origninal Massachusetts Universal Health Care bill, was able to save Camp Edwards from the BRAC closing commission, took un Katrina refugees - many of whom have chosen to relocate to Mass. permanantly...this could go on and on.
· When did he say that he was to the left of Ted Kennedy? Never. He said he would be a more effective advocate for gay rights in housing and employment in the 1994 Sente debate, and at that time, it was true. Sen. Kennedy was hamstrung by the positions of the powerful pre-scandal Catholic Church, and had to tread carefully there 13 years ago.
· Where has he flip-flopped? Holly and Ron will have to answer this. Their imaginations may be taxed.
· Why did he allow gay marriage? Because he is a duly elected Governor, not a Roman Dictator. The SJC ruling gave leave for the Legislature to act, but they chose not to. Romney instructed town clerks to act in concert with existing law - ALL law, including the unpopular 1913 one as well as the new Court decision. He also filed the request for the opinion which forced the Legislature to act in the Janurary constitutional convention. In all, he opposed gay marriage within the confines of the law - appropriate behavior for the Chief Executive, but not so much fun for spitball throwers in the back row like Ms. Robichaud.
· How come the Mass GOP took its biggest hit under his leadership? Two words - George Bush. Massachusetts believes that by electing even more Democrats to the Legislature, they are sending a stern warning to Bush. In reality, Romney earned $7 million for the 2004 races, funding 133 legislative candidates which was unprecedented. He sent personal donations to every Legislative candidate - unheard of in the Milk Street days when the State Committee functioned as the Paul Cellucci Reelection Committee. And Mr. Vining and Ms. Robichaud should know - they were both there.
· Was he a good Governor? Yes.
The site - which is technically not quaified to use the name 'Republican' without the permission of the Mass. State Committee and so may have to reinvent itself under another name - will do what it can to rework tired allegations and supply half-truths to Romney's opponents. But the only real losers here are the purveyors of the site, denied the grapes of success as they rail against the wind.