Even in Massachusetts, A GOP Surge

"Massachusetts Republican" -- once an oxymoron, now a cliché? After Scott Brown's election, a party once near extinction now has crowded primaries.

State Rep. Jeff Perry (Sandwich) stands out from the crowd, running for Massachusetts's 10th congressional district: WBUR calls the race Perry's to lose. Center-left blog FiveThirtyEight.com lays out how Republicans just might "captur[e] the Cape." Perry's qualified "contender" in the NRCC's Young Guns candidate program for House races, by raising more than $400,000 -- with 82 cents of every dollar coming from the district -- recently opened his third campaign office in Quincy.

He's done it by playing by the book -- his book, My GOP, which he self-published at the low point of national Republicanism in 2009. Times then seemed especially dismal for the party, but Perry believes and lives his subtitle: "to get back to the principles of Ronald Reagan." Perry knows, as Reagan knew, that there is no reason to vote for Republicans who don't believe in their own principles, so each chapter helpfully describes a political principle -- and how it's being ignored on Beacon Hill. My GOP educates, and with wit. One chapter title asks of Beacon Hill: "What part of illegal do they not understand?" Jeff Perry opposes all taxpayer benefits for illegal immigrants. One of only two Republicans statewide to vote against RomneyCare, Perry explains that it is unconstitutional to force people to buy insurance. A Virginia federal judge recently allowed an important lawsuit which argues exactly that to proceed against ObamaCare.

Perry, like Reagan before him, grounds his politics in liberty. Reagan carried Massachusetts twice. Perry thinks Reagan Democrats will carry him to Washington. The GOP's problem, as he explains via phone, is branding. There's no reason for people who, like Perry, grew up in Democratic households to pull another lever if Republicans offer Democrat-lite.

Speaking of Democrat-lite, Perry will surely dispatch former Treasurer Joe Malone in the September primary. Malone, running as a social liberal and fiscal conservative, is the former, but not the latter. Malone wasn't so fiscally conservative with investors' money, or with taxpayers'.

Rep. Perry is not without his critics. Some contend that the former cop "acted stupidly" -- as President Obama said of the Cambridge police last year -- in under-investigating an underling's sexual assault on a teenage girl. Perry was cleared of all wrongdoing. Democrats' sanctimony runneth over. In the 10th district, after all, they did continually reelect Gerry Studds, who was censured and nearly removed by his House colleagues for having sex with a 17-year-old male page. When Studds retired, William Delahunt replaced him. Delahunt later described human rights-abusing Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chávez as an "excellent friend," caring not a bit about the nature of Chávez's atrocious regime.

The latest "scandal" concerns Perry's academic credentials. Perry was taken in by a huckster school that offered him an online graduate degree. When he found out about the fraud, he scrubbed references to the degree from his website in 2002. Of course, there's also something unseemly about barring a man from office because he lacks the "proper" academic credentials, anyway. Phony credentials from a fraudulent school don't make a fraudulent man. Character counts more than a community college pedigree. Bluebloods in the bluest state forget that Perry's blue-collar successes -- first in his family to go to college -- represent middle-class Mass. at its best.     

That middle class sees red and may be ready to vote "red." A recent poll of registered voters says that 54 percent plan to vote out their incumbent congressman. Perry's hope and slogan is "Wake up, Washington." But with Beacon Hill doing the redistricting in 2012, he'd better let some sleeping dogs lie.

Charles Johnson, a native of Milton, Mass., is a Claremont Review of Books fellow. He can be reached at cjohnson@claremont.org.
"Massachusetts Republican" -- once an oxymoron, now a cliché? After Scott Brown's election, a party once near extinction now has crowded primaries.

State Rep. Jeff Perry (Sandwich) stands out from the crowd, running for Massachusetts's 10th congressional district: WBUR calls the race Perry's to lose. Center-left blog FiveThirtyEight.com lays out how Republicans just might "captur[e] the Cape." Perry's qualified "contender" in the NRCC's Young Guns candidate program for House races, by raising more than $400,000 -- with 82 cents of every dollar coming from the district -- recently opened his third campaign office in Quincy.

He's done it by playing by the book -- his book, My GOP, which he self-published at the low point of national Republicanism in 2009. Times then seemed especially dismal for the party, but Perry believes and lives his subtitle: "to get back to the principles of Ronald Reagan." Perry knows, as Reagan knew, that there is no reason to vote for Republicans who don't believe in their own principles, so each chapter helpfully describes a political principle -- and how it's being ignored on Beacon Hill. My GOP educates, and with wit. One chapter title asks of Beacon Hill: "What part of illegal do they not understand?" Jeff Perry opposes all taxpayer benefits for illegal immigrants. One of only two Republicans statewide to vote against RomneyCare, Perry explains that it is unconstitutional to force people to buy insurance. A Virginia federal judge recently allowed an important lawsuit which argues exactly that to proceed against ObamaCare.

Perry, like Reagan before him, grounds his politics in liberty. Reagan carried Massachusetts twice. Perry thinks Reagan Democrats will carry him to Washington. The GOP's problem, as he explains via phone, is branding. There's no reason for people who, like Perry, grew up in Democratic households to pull another lever if Republicans offer Democrat-lite.

Speaking of Democrat-lite, Perry will surely dispatch former Treasurer Joe Malone in the September primary. Malone, running as a social liberal and fiscal conservative, is the former, but not the latter. Malone wasn't so fiscally conservative with investors' money, or with taxpayers'.

Rep. Perry is not without his critics. Some contend that the former cop "acted stupidly" -- as President Obama said of the Cambridge police last year -- in under-investigating an underling's sexual assault on a teenage girl. Perry was cleared of all wrongdoing. Democrats' sanctimony runneth over. In the 10th district, after all, they did continually reelect Gerry Studds, who was censured and nearly removed by his House colleagues for having sex with a 17-year-old male page. When Studds retired, William Delahunt replaced him. Delahunt later described human rights-abusing Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chávez as an "excellent friend," caring not a bit about the nature of Chávez's atrocious regime.

The latest "scandal" concerns Perry's academic credentials. Perry was taken in by a huckster school that offered him an online graduate degree. When he found out about the fraud, he scrubbed references to the degree from his website in 2002. Of course, there's also something unseemly about barring a man from office because he lacks the "proper" academic credentials, anyway. Phony credentials from a fraudulent school don't make a fraudulent man. Character counts more than a community college pedigree. Bluebloods in the bluest state forget that Perry's blue-collar successes -- first in his family to go to college -- represent middle-class Mass. at its best.     

That middle class sees red and may be ready to vote "red." A recent poll of registered voters says that 54 percent plan to vote out their incumbent congressman. Perry's hope and slogan is "Wake up, Washington." But with Beacon Hill doing the redistricting in 2012, he'd better let some sleeping dogs lie.

Charles Johnson, a native of Milton, Mass., is a Claremont Review of Books fellow. He can be reached at cjohnson@claremont.org.

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