Tuesday, November 12, 2002

And now, the rest of the story. With apologies to Paul Harvey, this morning Media Log points out an inexplicable omission in a cry from the heart written by state representative Brian Golden and published on the op-ed page of today's Boston Herald. Golden, a Democrat (at least that's what he claims) from Brighton, calls for the removal of Democratic State Committee chairman Phil Johnston, blaming him for such allegedly extreme liberal views as believing that lesbians and gay men ought to have the same rights as everyone else. Such apostasy, Golden argues, was responsible for Republican Mitt Romney's surprisingly easy victory in last week's gubernatorial election.

But this is just boilerplate, designed to run up the word count so that Golden can talk about what's really on his mind:

[I]n a highly unusual move, Johnston interfered in at least two local Democratic primaries -- one of them being mine.

As a two-term incumbent, I was shocked to find the state Democratic Party backing one Democrat over another. Rather than allowing local Democrats to choose their own nominees, Johnston injected himself into races and places he didn't even vaguely understand.

Here's what Golden leaves out: in October 2000, just before Al Gore and George W. Bush held their first debate -- in Boston, no less -- Golden announced that he had decided to endorse Bush because of the Republican's opposition to the late-term abortion procedure that opponents label "partial-birth abortion," and because Bush favored public aid to Catholic schools.

Now, of course, there's nothing wrong with disagreeing with your party's presidential candidate on the issues -- even in public. But to endorse his opponent is to call into question whether you ought to be a member of that party in the first place. There's a name for Johnston's effort to replace Golden with a real Democrat: politics. Then, too, if Golden re-registered as a Republican, his career as a state rep would be over.

"There is no role for differences on matters of conscience in Johnston's party, no big-tent philosophy," Golden whines at the end of his Herald piece. What tent? As Lyndon Johnson once explained in deciding to reappoint the notorious J. Edgar Hoover as head of the FBI, "It's probably better to have him inside the tent pissing out, than outside the tent pissing in." Golden stepped outside the "big tent" two years ago. And he's been relieving himself on his supposed fellow Democrats ever since.

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