Harwich Democratic Town Committee's 14th annual event
What would Lincoln think of today's America and the Republican party he lead?
By Walter Brooks
Ray Gottwald, chair of the Harwich Democratic Town Committee (HDTC), knows how to throw a party as the jam-packed dining room at the Land Ho! in Harwichport above yesterday demonstrates.
For the second year in a row Massachusetts State Treasurer Steve Grossman was the speaker at the HDTC's famous President's Day event yesterday.
To say Grossman roused the activists present would be a gross(man) understatement - he had them ready to storm the barricades to defend what he said were the "people protections" forged for the common man (and woman) since the New Deal.
Just one item speaks volumes. As an editorial last month in the Bay State Banner put it, "One would not think that the domain of high finance would provide much opportunity to benefit citizens unless they were enrolled on the lists of the wealthy. However, as chairman of the nine-member Massachusetts Pension Reserves Investment Management (PRIM) Board that manages the $48 billion fund to finance state pensions, Steven Grossman has found a way to have an impact for change."
The newspaper added, "To help solve the problem, he removed $154 million in state funds from major banks and put up to $5,000,000 in deposits in each of 36 small banks throughout the state (three on Cape Cod). The banks can keep these low interest deposits, provided that they lend to small businesses."
A Congressman, a State Treasurer, a State Senator and three State Reps.
The Harwich event has become the traditional start of each year's political activity here on the Cape, and that is especially true in a national election year like 2012.
With Barack Obama at the head of the ticket and the economy turning around, Cape Democrats smell blood, and it's not only red, it's Brown.
Some of the scutterbutt was complaints about the lackluster, local efforts of the Elizabeth Warren campaign. One comment I heard was "They still have to teach her charisma or they're just putting lipstick on a pig."
One of the guest was Patrick Ellis whose family dates back to the very beginning of the oldest town on Cape Cod, and who is on a really serious "hunt" this year.
The "hunt" is incumbent Randy Hunt (R) the Barnstable 5th State Rep. One reason for Ellis' hopefulness is the new district lines which added Precinct 9 in Plymouth to the district. That precinct includes Buttermilk Bay and much of the Ponds of Plymouth, which are now part of the 5th Barnstable House district, currently represented by Hunt who replace his mentor Jeff Perry in the last election.
In the 2010 run, Lance Lambros lost to Hunt by less than fifty votes per precinct, and this year Obama's coattail may help him and sane Elizabeth Warren too.
A fox among the Harwich chickens?
As the party heated up, I noticed a familiar but out-of-place face on the edge of the crowd. It was Bristol County D.A. E. Samuel Sutter who is challenging his own party's incumbent U.S. congressman Bill Keating.
Most figured with Bill Keating's last primary rival Rob O'Leary out of the race, Sutter would decide to drop out too since the only change of hurting Keating in the September Primary was in the 9th Congressional District being split three ways with O'Leary grabbing the Cape, Keating holding on to the South Shore and Sutter capturing the new towns added to the district which are in Bristol County from Wareham to Fall River.
Sutter told me however that he feels with O'Leary out, he will pick up votes on Cape Cod and the Islands.
Why Democrats celebrate President's Day
The Monday nearest Abraham Lincoln and George Washington's birthdays, February 11 and 22, is a national holiday to honor all presidents, but especially those two. Why Democrats focus on Lincoln can be understood by Stephen Samuel Wise's comment, "The important thing today is not what we say of Lincoln but what Lincoln would say of us if he were here in this hour and could note the drift and tendency in American life and American politics."
Below is a map of all the new districts lines for 2012.