Thursday, June 19, 2003

Updating the scorecard. Check out this letter to the Globe from state Democratic Party chairman Phil Johnston. Johnston takes issue with a June 16 op-ed piece by Kennedy School lecturer Mickey Edwards, a former Republican congressman and former Herald columnist. (Edwards's column is no longer freely available online.)

Edwards, making fun of the recent Democratic state convention for adopting an ideological "scorecard" for elected officials, wrote:

That's where Phil Johnston and the Democrats come in. Johnston, the state's Democratic Party chairman, presided a week ago over a state convention at which approximately 1,000 party activists voted to produce a "scorecard" rating members of the Legislature on their fealty to the state party platform.


On several occasions I have stated my opposition to the "legislative scorecard" adopted by delegates at the June 7 convention.

And here's what Johnston told Globe columnist Scot Lehigh on June 11: "It is a rather bizarre idea, one that will be very difficult, if not impossible, to implement. And I don't think it is helpful to Democratic candidates."

Advantage: Phil. Edwards uses implication rather than direct assertion, but the tenor of his column suggests that Johnston was all but demanding that the delegates support the scorecard idea.

Ah, but then Johnston gets carried away, writing:

A secondary point also requires correction: There were 3,000 delegates at the convention, not 1,000, as Edwards reported.

But that's not even remotely what Edwards said. Here's what Raphael Lewis reported in the Globe on June 10:

At Saturday's convention, Johnston allowed the report card vote to take place, even though fewer than half of the 2,265 delegates who attended the convention at Lowell's Paul E. Tsongas Arena remained. The reason, Johnston said, was that it did not mention any one lawmaker by name.

Now, I can't explain the discrepancy between Johnston's figure of 3000 delegates and Lewis's 2,265. Johnston may have been including alternates. But if, as Lewis reported, "fewer than half of the 2,265 delegates" were on hand for the scorecard vote, then Edwards had it almost exactly right when he asserted that "approximately 1,000 party activists voted to produce a 'scorecard' rating."

Almost, I say, because nearly every single delegate still present would have had to vote "aye" for Edwards's statement to be wholly accurate.

Can't anyone get this straight?

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