History in the making
I'm looking forward to history. My Spidey Senses says we'll see it on Saturday night when the Pats close a truly amazing season at 16-0, then begin the march to the title as the greatest NFL team ever. It's hard to believe, but we've become almost accustomed to greatness as Sox and Pats fans. This coming from a guy who slept on the sidewalk for two nights to get World Series tickets in 1986 - I remember the struggles - by the way - it's time to stop blaming Bill Buckner and allow Calvin Schiraldi to rightfully claim his title as the goat, er, the ghost of 1986.
Speaking of history, the upcoming year will see a little of its own here in Falmouth, as the political soothsayers are waxing philosphical that a seat in the Great and General Court from the Barnstable, Dukes, and Nantucket district (locally known simply as "Eric's Seat"), will be open for the first time in over 20 years come November as incumbent Eric Turkington (pn right) is set to compete in the not-so-bruising campaign to replace long-time retiring Register of Probate Fred Claussen. Eric's plan to leave the safety of the legislature makes sense, as the open seat for Register offers an attractive boost in pay (roughly $45,000 given Eric's currently base salary and leadership bonus), no heavy lifting, and freedom from the pesky constituents of Falmouth and the two islands.
Whom shall we choose?
So then, whom shall we choose? The district's Falmouth slice is precincts 1,2,5 and 6, roughly encompassing the villages of Woods Hole, Sippewissett, downtown Falmouth, and West and North Falmouth pretty much along Route 28A. Given the history of the district and the machine politics in these villages, it appears unlikely that anyone other than a well-connected and loyal machinist Democrat will be taking the oath a year from now, but who?
Is Pat Flynn ready to shed her bureaucratic skin toiling in Town Hall in Plymouth daily for the spotlight of the State House? Is Virginia Valiela ready to burst forth from her political retirement and and leave all that garbage behind? What of Vicky Lowell, who must enjoy being a grandmother and may have a little dust on her campaign tools? I even hear that Catherine Bumpus is testing the waters with her inexperienced toes. This is going to be fun! We won't know for a bit, because the local Democratic playbook is usually to raise funds quietly to lull the GOP into slumber (not that that's too hard). A fringe candidate or two may appear just as a distraction (can you say Peter Waasdorp?) before the well-funded, well-organized anointed candidate appears this Spring.
Cookie cutter candidates & clear messages
Don't expect any clear messages from whomever the cookie cutter candidate is. Save for Virginia, who always forthrightly stakes a claim and sticks to it, the other names on this short list will stick to Thelma's playbook and use phrases like experience (sorry O'B Bumpus), staying the course, keeping the hope alive, living the legacy, and other tired cliches to remind us of Eric's lackluster tenure.
As Jim Powell from the Vineyard tries gallantly to fund his sincere but overwhelmed campaign, the machine on the mainland will bulldoze through the fall and wind up victorious. I suppose the name doesn't really matter. The next State Rep from the Barnstable-Dukes-Nantucket district will still be "Someone, D-Falmouth" and toe the DiMasi line under the golden dome.
My Spidey Senses are tingling again.....Wait! Could it be? The soothsayers are telling me that the voters are starving, longing, for a common-sense, pro-business fiscal conservative that isn't afraid to challenge the machine, is well-funded, experienced and charismatic. Somebody call Kevin Murphy - quickly. I think his train is about to come in.