Saturday, January 9, 2010


I've been trying to figure out what would motivate Paul Loscocco to sign on as Tim Cahill's running mate, but that's too big a bite. I was surprised when he bowed out of the Massachusetts House in 2008; how am I going to figure out this much bigger question off the top of my head!

First thing, Paul (yes, I know him) has burned his bridges to the Republican Party. They won't take him back. On the other hand, after his switch to support for gay marriage (effectively, anyway, though all he actually did was to help keep it from danger of being legislatively overturned), he wasn't going to be a national Republican - ever. (I've seen rumors that his split from Mitt Romney to John McCain meant he had a Cabinet position lined up, but even considering that McCain picked Sarah Palin, that's nonsense.)

Of course, in Massachusetts, there's hardly any Republican Party to leave - except for the ambitious refugees who have taken shelter in the conservative wing of the Democratic Party here. Maybe Paul thought he had nothing much to lose, other than his chains to the extremes of the national party.

Tim Cahill was one of those conservative Democrats before he jumped ship. I didn't hold his ideology against him, but even when he was a Dem, I never trusted him. What he does have that Loscocco may have found attractive is a statewide network of supporters. I just don't see that network as portable to Paul even should this ticket beat the extreme odds and squeak by in a three- or four-way race.

Do Cahill and Loscocco actually think they can win? It's hard to see how they can compete with Charlie Baker and Deval Patrick organizationally or financially, and neither Cahill nor Loscocco has the overwhelming charisma that would make this more credible.

Still, to win an election this way requires a leap of faith, rather than dues-paying and an attempt at inevitability. Their chances are slim to none. Baker has to stumble really badly for Cahill to get to second place. Patrick has already stumbled in office, though his notices are much worse than his actual performance in trying times.

Maybe this seemingly quixotic candidacy is simply Paul's up-or-out test. If he wins, he's a broker of the center. If he loses, he can get on with making enough money to send his kids to college (which was how I explained his getting out in 2008), and he still might be viewed as an independent appointee to boards and commissions.

Here's a very sketchy scenario in which they could win:

  • Christy Mihos damages Charlie Baker in the Republican primary and - if Charlie, despite his intelligence and accomplishments, is as bad a campaigner as he might be - maybe even beats him.
  • Unemployment stays bad, bad, bad, and Deval is not actually at his nadir now. (I've been hoping for better news to start Deval's recovery.)
  • Cahill keeps his self-esteem from becoming too visible and off-putting.
They still need an issue to hammer at in order to get people to take a chance on them. The current popular dissatisfaction is not enough.

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