Monday, October 15, 2007

A Fifth Redux...

Well it seems very likely that the Massachusetts Fifth Congressional District will have in the history books a husband and a wife as its representatives. Niki Tsongas maintains a substantial lead both monetarily and in the polls over her opponent Jim Ogonowski. While the Dracut Republican remains in striking distance, in blue-state Massachusetts, it seems unlikely that he can trump Tsongas' advantage.

Earlier on, WMassP&I commented that Tsongas was waging a silly campaign by making it all about Bush. That tactic was part of what kept this race from being a runaway for her. Sadly the things that for which Ogonowski has criticized her, are true. She will be something of an insider due to the late Sen. Paul Tsongas, her husband, and his old connections. Not having built her political prowess up herself, she is at risk to becoming a follower or "proxy" in Congress, rather than a leader as Marty Meehan was from time to time. When her husband was in office, she was no Hillary to Paul's Bill. But maybe I'm wrong.

Ogonowski, too, made mistakes. He tried to appeal to the more conservative tendencies of many Massachusetts' voters. However, he promised to be independent and not beholden to the GOP leadership. Granted that didn't work for former Sen. Lincoln Chafee R-RI. However, Ogonowski performed a classic form of political foot in mouth, when he said he'd be willing to support a Democratic issue/bill, only to not think of one such issue. Sadly, the now-vetoed Children's Insurance Bill (SCHIP) was before Congress then and Ogonowski could not think of it.

Ogonowski's challenge might have had more chances, if this was not a special election, but a regular even year race. Instead, the DNC can pull out the stops to support Niki Tsongas and trash Jim Ogonowski.

What is unfortunate is the entrenchment of Massachusetts (and other states) politicians and that when they are replaced it sometimes seems to be anybody new as in Tsongas' case. The paradox is, however, that many who are entrenched are wonderful.

Anyway, WMassP&I, in this eleventh hour, hoping to strengthen the Democratic Congress to pass critical legislation like SCHIP, endorses Niki Tsongas for Congress.

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