AN INSIDE LOOK - Commentary and opinions on local politics and life in general in Southeastern Massachusetts! Featuring the writings of Bill Gouveia, newspaper columnist for the Sun Chronicle and local cable TV talk show host. Feel free to read, comment and enjoy!
Monday, September 8, 2014
When Politicians Act Like Children
This column originally appeared in The Sun Chronicle on Monday, September 8, 2014.
AN INSIDE LOOK
By Bill Gouveia
politicians act like petulant children, it’s often hard to decide if it is
amusing or just plain sad.But a recent
tantrum by one local leader has some observers chuckling more than fretting.
Betty Poirier says she has taken off her gloves – whatever that means.
past weekend the esteemed Republican state representative from North Attleboro,
who also represents a single precinct in Attleboro, once again tried to make
the alleged “leadership fight” in the state Republican Party into more than it
really is.This time her issue is so
silly it is hard to take it seriously.
felt snubbed when a candidate running in tomorrow’s Republican primary for the
House seat covering the majority of Attleboro currently held by Rep. Paul
Heroux (D-Attleboro) brought a state legislator from Whitman into the city to
campaign for him.She said it would have been “common courtesy”
for Rep. Geoff Diehl (R-Whitman) to notify her he would be coming across the
Attleboro border for political purposes.
came to the area to support Jeff Bailey, who is locked in an interesting battle
with Bert Buckley for the opportunity to oppose Heroux in November.Diehl said he got to know Bailey when the two
worked on a statewide campaign to repeal the automatic increase in the state
Poirier claims Diehl is part of a small group of Republicans who want to
replace current party leaders with more conservative lawmakers.She says they want to promote controversy and
animosity rather than working collectively for the public good.
following Diehl’s alleged invasion of her turf, Poirier immediately used it as
an excuse for endorsing Bailey’s opponent.That should come as a surprise to absolutely no one, because Poirier and
most other local officials have been promoting Buckley’s candidacy for
months.So her action merely confirmed
with all due respect to Rep. Diehl, it is hard to imagine his visit swaying too
many voters in this race.It was hardly
noticed in the media.He was not
controversial in his remarks or conduct.And Whitman is not a neighboring community, so his ultimate influence is
questionable at best.
last time I looked, notifying Rep. Poirier before visiting a city in which she
represents only one precinct was not a requirement.While there may be somewhat of a tradition of
notifying local legislators when visiting, it is hardly any type of real
obligation.Poirier’s petty display of
anger is totally out of place and an obvious political ploy to influence the
election.Which is fine – but she should
be upfront about it.
attitude about a simple campaign visit is actually amusing. It brings back the attitudes of the Old West,
when the local sheriff might tell a stranger to “get out of town by sundown” or
advise them “this town ain’t big enough for the both of us”.
continuing reference to a battle in the Republican Party leadership also rings
hollow.There is no doubt some of the
newer legislators want to rise within the ranks to more important leadership
positions, and most of them are very conservative.But so is Poirier.
Poirier is trying to convince voters the new wave of Republicans are too
conservative and prefer conflict over compromising, it may not sit well with
those seeking to balance the overwhelming Democratic majority on Beacon
Hill.And there are only 29 Republicans
right now in the 160-member legislature.How much conflict can they create other than replacing their own
race between Bailey and Buckley will be decided by Republican voters
tomorrow.Whether the public
endorsements by Diehl and Poirier make any difference at all will be a matter
of debate and opinion.
perhaps in the aftermath Poirier could challenge Diehl to a duel.She could take those gloves she has
apparently removed and slap him across the face for his lack of “common
courtesy”, then propose a battle at Capron Park.
winner would get to hold a leadership position in the House minority
party.The loser’s consolation prize
would be the right to visit any city or town of their choosing.
have to love silly politics.And silly
Bill Gouveia is a local columnist and
longtime local official.He can be
emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Twitter at