Pretty offensive headline, isn’t it? Baselessly ascribing racist motives to voters for choosing Caucasian Rep. Ed Markey over Latino challenger Gabriel Gomez in this week’s special Senate election in Massachusetts can only be a cheap trick designed to get readers to click on the column. Everyone with half a brain knows that the election results indicate a clear voter preference for the progressive policies for which “Taxachusetts” is so often lampooned.
So what makes this sort of race baiting so easy to accept in media portrayals of limited government, anti-tax Tea Party activists? Attempts by mainstream media to pin the racist tag on Obama administration opponents are getting old by now. It may be one of the reasons why a recent Gallup poll shows that Americans’ confidence in newspapers has plunged below 25 percent, putting them near the bottom on a list of 16 societal institutions—yet still ahead of Congress’ pathetic 10 percent.
The recently concluded Senate campaign was a snoozer, barely registering outside of the Bay State and with record low turnouts within. It garnered little of the national attention of former Senator Scott Brown’s futile attempt to maintain some balance in New England’s representation in Washington. It didn’t matter that Gabriel Gomez was a more accomplished candidate than Brown. His bona fides as a Naval Academy engineer, Navy SEAL, Harvard MBA, and successful private equity investor mattered for naught. Massachusetts has no place for such people.
Instead, voters endorsed a 37-year-veteran of the aforementioned institution with a 10 percent approval rating, rewarding him for key accomplishments like introducing a bill to change the duration of daylight savings time and another to limit the G-forces on amusement park roller coasters.
So what can residents of Massachusetts expect from Senator Markey? Certainly not more face time. Markey is a permanent resident of upscale Chevy Chase, Maryland, where his neighbors donated more to his campaign than those skinflints from Malden, where Markey maintains his Massachusetts eligibility address.
And so the people have spoken. A consummate beltway insider coasted to victory promising more of what Congress has been doing to the country for decades.
The disenfranchised minority in Massachusetts who believe in fiscal sanity will have to console themselves whining over sour grapes. To imply that Gabriel Gomez lost because of bias against Hispanics just because Boston has a dark heritage of violent opposition to racial integration ignores the tremendous strides the city has made in reducing racial tensions by gentrifying poor people of all colors out of town.
Take my own neighborhood, for example. The South End was a dangerous slum back in my college days, dominated by Section 8 housing, shooting galleries, drug gangs, and row upon row of once-stately brownstones abandoned to that special form of urban blight that only rent control can deliver. Two decades of renovations have made it a limousine liberal’s dream, complete with dog parks, tennis courts, an avant-garde theater, and the finest restaurants in town—most with valet parking. We even have an annual Gay Pride parade to honor the pioneers who made it safe for rich white people to buy up the neighborhood. It’s a great place to live for anyone who can afford to buy a condo at $1,000 a square foot.
Accusing this enlightened polity of failing to elect a Hispanic because of racism is just not credible. I’m sure if some guy named Gomez ran on the Democratic ticket promising to increase government spending, pile more taxes on the rich, spread other people’s wealth around, and provide free health care for illegal immigrants he’d be a shoo-in.
So let’s be careful about blithely trafficking in stereotypes. Except for maybe those people in the flyover states who cling to their guns and Bibles and promote the crazy idea that government should live within its means. Be thankful we can count on Senator Markey to prod the IRS and the NSA to keep an eye on them.