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Yes -- Left, Right can agree

By G. Michael Dobbs
Managing Editor
So is it possible for a card-carrying it's here in my wallet somewhere liberal to actually find common political ground with a couple of self-described Tea Party members?
The answer is "yes."
I have to admit that I swing from one school of thought to another on the concept of bi-partisanship. There are times I really want to believe people of varying political beliefs can work together to reach a common goal.
Then there are also times when I see people on the other side of the aisle acting as mere obstructionists for short-term political gain. We've been seeing that in Congress this past year.
It's at those times when I simply want the majority the majority that reflects my views to ram an agenda down their throats. That's not the best reaction, but certainly an understandable human one.
So here I am, in my office with some folks who are Tea Party members and I tell them a couple of the ideas I embrace that I think would make this state and country a far better place.
As I've written here before, I believe in term limits. I don't believe any of the founding fathers thought service in elected office would be a career. To my surprise, both Tea Party members agreed.
I then mentioned something I've heard on Thom Hartmann's radio program. What if we could only donate money to candidates for whom we could vote? Candidates could not accept money from people outside of the district and could not accept money from corporations, lobbyists or political action groups.
People are constantly speaking about leveling the playing field of the elective process. That would be a great first step and it doesn't involve any government funding.
Of course, many media outlets would hate it because they wouldn't be reaping the rewards of campaigning, as many of them do now.
My visitors liked that idea as well.
I would like to think that, if we could get away from the pandering of politics and actually deal with the real issues of governing, we could find more middle ground between the sides.
***

I'm finding the Hampden Country district attorney's race absolutely fascinating. The common political wisdom is that Sen. Stephen Buoniconti should have this contest wrapped up. He handily beat his opponents and he had some very good ones in the primary and he is now facing a guy who doesn't have the name recognition he does.
What Mark Mastroianni has done, though, is to turn this race away from that conventional wisdom and actually present issues that deal with the core responsibilities of the office. This is a message that has resonated with the people who have endorsed him, including Holyoke Police Chief Anthony Scott and the unions representing the Springfield and West Springfield police, as well as the state troopers.
So this has evolved from being a cakewalk to a fight for the long-time legislator.
This column represents the opinions of its author. Send your comments online to news@thereminder.com or to 280 North Main St., East Longmeadow, MA 01028.


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