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Red State - Email to MassGOP State Committee

by: BNCordeiro

Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 16:51:46 PM EST

I just received this in my email inbox from Kirsten Hughes, candidate for Chairman of the Massachusetts Republican Party.

Dear State Committee Members,

I know some of you have already visited my website but wanted to take another opportunity before the holidays to direct you to Many of us have already had the opportunity to discuss my candidacy for Chair of the MassGOP either in person or over the phone in the weeks since I announced. These conversations have been educational, challenging and, ultimately, very rewarding for now I see more clearly than ever the obstacles we face as a Party and how we can overcome them to win seats up and down the ballot in 2014. I hope my website will answer any questions regarding my credentials and agenda, and demonstrate that I'm the most qualified and experienced candidate in the race.

Please feel free to call, text or email me with feedback or to discuss my campaign. Hope you all are enjoying this festive time of year and I look forward to earning your vote to be the next Chair of the MassGOP.

Happy holidays,


BNCordeiro :: - Email to MassGOP State Committee
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Decent site! (but avoids real issues) (5.00 / 1)
First, Brock - as you often and very helpfully share stuff as a SC member - you should probably have said here in small print that you have publicly endorsed her. (Says so on the site.)

Second, I think it is appropriate for an SC chairman's candidate to have a website. I think her site is professional and compelling. It has a lot of good content. (By comparison, Rick Green's site  - is an empty shell that has no content about anything.)

Third, it looks like she had some establishment help. (Her forms are linked to Rob Willington's wufoo account) That's definitely a sign of some backing from the Romney/Brown/MassGOP crowd. (And no, I don't think he designed the site despite a layout pattern he uses - it's straight PHP - no Wordpress and it is not nearly as polished as all of the other high-quality work he and Swift do.) Also, the site name is registered to 1-and-1 - like Tisei's site and some other MassGOP stuff. But... the site is running on Amazon EC2? How strange. (for a political site) But it does show some tech competence. Maybe Phil? (see next point)

Fourth, she is married to a computer programmer!! That's a great quality in a candidate. ;-)

Fifth, she avoids the tough issues, tragically:

* The MassGOP is at risk of no longer being viable statewide. Like other weak state GOPs (like CA) our obsession with the social issues and the awful national brand is killing us. What will you do?

* Specifically - your former boss couldn't run far enough away from the party brand. (PLEASE don't pretend otherwise, it would be insulting.) Why is that? What can you do about the state-level brand? If Brown runs again, will he still run from the brand while you are Chairwoman?

* The party is riven between social conservatives and moderates. What is the answer? We cannot be the party of both Scott Brown and the RINO-hunters.

* It appears non-incumbent Republicans can't win during presidential election cycles. (I could cite the grim turnout data, but you've already seen it.) Should we still run new people during those years in state elections?

* Some, but not a lot, of money is needed to radically upgrade the tech for the party. Are you willing to spend it?

There are others, but I would like to see chairman's candidates to actually take stands on the tough, real issues, rather than pretend this is just some local organization problem we can train our way out of. That's nonsense.

I'll use big print (0.00 / 0)
I hadn't known it noted my support.  I hadn't checked that section of the page out since well before it listed names.  I certainly did give Kirsten my support verbally as well as filled out the endorsement form sometime late last week.  While writing this post I went & checked out the site.  Ack, I'm at the top of the page.  Surely that must be either random placement or maybe I filled it out first.  There are certainly better & more important people on that list than little ol' me.  

However, I also wasn't trying to keep my support for Kirsten a secret.  Nobody has asked so I didn't find it necessary to take out a billboard.  However, I've known Kirsten for approximately 5 years and I believe I first met her during the McCain campaign when she drove down call sheets for our roving cellphone bank.  I certainly worked with her when she was a MassGOP staffer, through the 2010 Convention, and then with Scott Brown's re-election campaign.  Yes, I intend to vote for Kirsten Hughes for chair.

To briefly address some other candidates... I simply don't know them nearly as well.  I like Rick Green, he's a nice guy & certainly personally accomplished, but I mostly only know of - not actually know - Rick.  I happen to like that he is the chair of Mass Fiscal & that his political Godfather appears to be Jim Rappaport (who I supported for Lt. Governor in 2002).  I certainly like his business success.  However, he is very new to the State Committee & I don't believe I knew him before that time.  Perhaps if I knew him better, more than merely knew about him, I would be more comfortable casting my vote for him.  I have absolutely nothing against him & if Rick gets elected then I'm sure that we will be in good hands and I'll look forward to working with him.  However, to/for me, Rick is simply too much of an unknown quantity, even if what I do know are things that I happen to like.  

I have, and have had, a working relationship & friendship with Kirsten and knowing someone well puts the finger on the scale for me.  I know I can call Kirsten and not only have a conversation with her but I can, as I have done many times in the past, have a frank discussion and candidly discuss crucial matters concerning our Party.  That warm but blunt interaction carries the day for me.

Other candidates, candidate did leave me a robocall.

Speaking for myself, I find that the MassGOP hasn't engaged in social issues what so ever since probably 2007 with the gay marriage Constitutional Convention.  It was then that the MassGOP helped to gather signatures.  Even then, the State Committee only voted to have then Chairman Torkildsen write to our legislative caucus to ask them to vote to pass the amendment so that that We, the People, could vote on the matter.  Even at that some on the State Committee wanted to back off the issue.  I remember that debate distinctly as it was about March 2007, it was my first State Committee meeting & I spoke up in support of the motion from the floor and supported the socially conservative action.

I'm a person who is deeply concerned with the "Hatfields & McCoys" factionalization of the MassGOP.  Regardless of who wins, and I think both Kirsten & Rick are the quality & caliber of candidates who help work us through the problems, that we can go a long way towards mending & healing those wounds.  Indeed, I believe that the more that the sides & groups - as much as I hate using the term - can work together on the State Committee the more we can collectively de-escalate and actually collaborate.  I won't break into a big religious metaphor except to say that some good, honest reconciliation and ecumenicism is in dire need.

As such, we may or may not have an "awful national brand" but we've been the virtual polar opposite in official action from the State Committee for about 5 years.  I don't expect Kirsten Hughes, Rick Green, or anyone else to address that matter on their own.  Nor do I necessarily, yet certainly respectfully, agree with your premise.

I would suggest submitting your questions to Kirsten, as well as questions to Rick & others as applicable.  

If you were not satisfied with my lack of disclosure previously, I hope that you will find this more palatable.

[ Parent ]
OK. But SC and Chair must answer a question (0.00 / 0)
Brock -

I wasn't trying to indict you over the lack of disclosure. Just a friendly reminder. :-)  I am sure you're first on the site because you filled it out first.

A few more things:

* Thanks for the additional material on Ms. Hughes. I met her once myself and came away with a positive impression. She has done a lot of good work, and I think it's great that she has been elected to something. Even local politics teaches you what you need to know.

* May or may not have an "awful national brand"? I could bury you in polling data proving this. How about this recent story? Link here. And that is national, including places like Utah, North Dakota, Mississippi, and Nebraska. I would bet my next paycheck that the Massachusetts number is not 53 percent, but 70. Let's go further. In this poll, 22% of Republicans, yes Republicans, nationwide think the party is too extreme. I would bet that in this state, that number is probably almost half.

* So.... we have a party that is unpopular nationwide, much more unpopular here, even among Republicans, and now officially (you adopted the Romney platform!?) against the majority of voters here on abortion, gay marriage, immigration, climate change, taxation on the rich, and now gun control. I think JOB #1 of the State Committee and the next Chairman is this exact problem. The voters are not, in any way, buying what we are selling. So I would put this to you and Ms. Hughes:

"The public, on several issues, has indicated again and again that they are simply not buying most of what we are selling. Despite promises of reforming government and cleaning up Beacon Hill, we are the party that is against almost every social policy belief they have, in a party whose national brand is in direct opposition to those social policies. Can you really hope to make us relevant without saying publicly that we are not going to be officially the party of social conservatives? And will you fight to undo the adoption of the Romney platform to prove that?"

* On that point, let's return to the "Hatfields vs. McCoy's" problem you mentioned. I know two kind of SC members: one on the up-and-coming social conservative/Tea Party side and the other side. You know how bad it is. But the problem I have is that this isn't a case of two important parts of a diverse party. One side, if they get their way, will turn us into the Green Party, where we have 5% registration and will never be relevant again. The other side (you are on it) are reasonable people - sometimes socially conservative - who realize we must be flexible to win. I would like someone to run for chairman saying that the Hatfields have to leave the party and form their own socially conservative party. That we will welcome social conservatives (like you and me) but we cannot be socially conservative to the exclusion of moderates and liberals - which is what the Hatfields demand (and you know it). We need a big tent. The McCoys want a big tent. The Hatfields want a small tent.

We cannot have a small tent chairman and any candidate who thinks they are going to ignore this issue is fooling themselves.  

[ Parent ]
My suggestions (5.00 / 1)

The party should officially reject Rand Paul's Life At Conception Act as too extreme and radical. As a side benefit, rejecting Rand Paul's bill would go a long way toward reassuring Massachusetts residents that the Mass GOP is not full of people who are in love with Rand Paul.

gay marriage

First of all, I don't think the majority is for gay marriage, even in Massachusetts. But I do think a majority is for Civil Unions. The party should embrace Civil Unions defined as "marriage minus conception rights."


I don't know what a moderate position is on immigration but I'm sure there must be something between vilifying and amnesty, so the party should show some kind of reasonableness.

climate change

The party should officially express concern about climate change, perhaps in context of something like cod fishing being affected.

taxation on the rich

This was Brown's biggest mistake, though I'm not sure he could have avoided it, but "the staunch resistance of conservative Tea Party representatives to tax increases of any kind" (as the Globe puts it today) should be chastised as foolish and harming the country. The idea of pledging never to raise taxes turns people off.

and now gun control.

Some moderation here would be good too, but I think it'd be better to suggest that something is wrong with our culture that is frustrating kids and men and we should make certain changes that would reverse the trend.

[ Parent ]
Further Thoughts (0.00 / 0)
To quickly clear up a point, the State Committee did NOT adopt the Romney platform but rather, and perhaps it is a matter of semantics, we voted to endorse it and recommend that the soon-to-be-established Platform Committee use it as their starting point.

I've seen plenty of polling data, including a poll on ABCNews that noted:

Americans by a 15-point margin in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll say the Republican Party needs less conservative policies that are more focused on middle- and lower-income Americans, rather than better leaders to sell its existing positions.

"One group holds that the Republican Party is too conservative - that it needs a program concerned more directly with the welfare of the people, particularly those in the lower- and middle-income levels. The other group says that the policies of the Republican party are good - but the party needs a better leader to explain and win support for these policies."

Personally, I don't agree - at least not entirely.  I reject the notion that the Republican Party, state or nationwide, is "too conservative".  I also do not think that we need "better leaders to sell" (at least not in the sense they propose the term "leaders") for rather than someone in a fancy suit & tie talking at the voters we need leaders from the grassroots - often wearing a pair of jeans & a t-shirt - on up taking a leadership stake to talk with the voters, define ourselves, and educate our fellow Americans (and not only the allegedly identified voters).  I firmly and fully support our party's foundational, first, principles.  However, I concede that our articulation, education, and often adherence to those principles has been found wanting.

As for me, I am a middle class to lower-income American.  I come from a hard working, blue collar, family and that is why I am proud to be a conservative and proud to be a Republican.  We need to communicate with the voters, especially this demographic of voters, directly and candidly.  We have not done that effectively but that doesn't invalidate our principles.

Yes, I get chided for being a practicing, practical Catholic (which is ironic since Massachusetts is the most Catholic state in the country with 44.9% of residents professing the Catholic faith) but I predominantly channel my social conservative leanings through the outlet of the Knights of Columbus.  Yes, I absolutely have my faith inform my political activism but I prefer to try to change the culture by winning hearts and minds through actions & prayer rather than default to changing the law through a legislative process.  I do try to be "flexible" and I understand the political need to prioritize and emphasize issues for electibilty but I absolutely reject their sheer abandonment.

I believe that the Republican Party IS, and SHOULD ALWAYS BE, the party of conservatism.  In the House of Conservatism there are many rooms and yes, social conservatives have a place.  As such, I respectfully reject your idea that a chairman, any chairman, should demand that any conservative - in this case social conservatives - to leave the party.  The Republican Party isn't perfect but it is the best home for all conservatives and social conservatives cannot be expected to sit down & shut up, far less to hit the bricks.  If we did have a chairman who made such demands then it's likely that I would leave with them.  Equally, it would be absolutely wrong for a socially conservative chairman to try some RINO purge or hunt.  I believe in Reagan's 80% rule & 11th Commandment.

Likewise, not only would I not support the undo of the endorsement of the Romney platform (which was passed overwhelmingly) but I voted for the 2012 Republican National Convention Platform in August in Tampa, Florida and I was proud to do so & I would do so again.  When the new Platform Committee begins its work I fully expect that it will take the 2010 MassGOP & 2012 RNC Platforms vital source materials.  The final produce, only God knows how that will turn out when it goes through the Platform, Committee, State Committee and is then adopted by the Convention delegates.

I also believe that when it comes down to the choice between the genuine article or a watered-down version that the voters will go for the Democrats over Democratic-lite, each & every time.  Again, I'm not advocating a ham-fisted approach but I'm convinced that voters want to vote for something rather than against something & as such our candidates must define themselves before they are defined by the Democrats and our party must redefine itself but that doesn't mean to recreate ourselves to a point that we don't recognize our core principles.

My approach isn't easy and I probably have plenty on both the Hatfields & the McCoys that disagree and even distrust me but at the end of the day, it's only by working together and stressing the commonalities, while honestly respecting the differences, are we going to build the party and elect our candidates.  Much, much easier said then ever done and I certainly admit that I don't have all - maybe only a very few - answers but I still keep trying.

[ Parent ]
Then the party will keep shrinking (0.00 / 0)
Brock -

But what does "conservative" mean? So I, like you, am a conservative Catholic Republican. Like you, I channel some of my religiously-inspired beliefs to institutions other than the Republican party. I think that's healthy. So we have a lot in common. (I was also once middle class, but I am doing much better now. Yet I won't forget growing up cleaning floors with my father.)

When I say the "social conservatives" have to be purged, I mean the ones that will not tolerate anyone being in the party who is not socially conservative. There are lots of those people, and if they are in the tent, others will not join the party.

Now, I think the party should be welcoming to traditional, tolerant social conservatives. They are an important part of the party. Also, there are people that are conservative about things that aren't social issues. Like capitalism. Or a view of America's important role in the world as a beacon of freedom.

What's gone wrong these past 15 years is that "conservative" to many Republican activists means an angry, uncompromising approach to politics where every primary is a heresy trial and winning is not as important as principles. We simply cannot have that in a party that must get 51% of the vote in a liberal state. It's toxic. So you think we can work with these people. I do not think we can and every moment trying to convince the MARA/Tea Party crowd to moderate their views is a moment when we could be doing something more productive. Yes, on paper, the RINO hunters and I have so much in common that it seems silly that we can't work together in electing Republicans. But recent history shows that they would rather lose than compromise.

Politics is about winning. The conservatives I am talking about don't know how to win. I want to win again. Don't you?

p.s. And just so you know, if Ms. Hughes is chosen, she will be on my side. There is no way in hell she gets registration to 15% (as promised) and no way she gets more women involved (as promised) or gets more Republicans into office by catering to MARA. She will do it by taking my approach - by a bigger tent that is not dominated by social conservatives. Or she will fail. Why don't you ask her about that? :-)

[ Parent ]
Winning for what sake? (0.00 / 0)
Ed, it's precisely this perpetual purge mentality that I reject on all sides, THAT is shrinking the party.  Let's be blunt, the very people you want purged certainly do not consider me a friend.  Indeed, I fully expect that in this faction wants me purged from the MassGOP State Committee.  As I don't agree with their "true social conservatives only in the Grand Old Party" mentality, I also do not agree with "Republicans who prioritize socially conservative issues first & foremost need not apply".  

Where you & I absolutely agree is:

Now, I think the party should be welcoming to traditional, tolerant social conservatives. They are an important part of the party. Also, there are people that are conservative about things that aren't social issues. Like capitalism. Or a view of America's important role in the world as a beacon of freedom.

Politics is indeed about winning, but winning for what sake?  I want to win in order to advance a conservative agenda on the economy, on the size & scope of government, on maximizing personal liberty, on ensuring a safety and security, and yes on passing on the traditional values of Americana that were passed down on to me over the generations.

The Republican Party won, and won big, in 1994.  We had the Republican Revolution.  After that, members of our party went native and acculturated themselves to the Washington DC climate.  After that we've won many elections & I'm certainly proud of those elections but to what end?  To have "big government conservatism"?  I can at least understand that argument but when political victories simply become wins to notch or gamesmanship to brag about, rather than an opportunity to implement an agenda and bring meaningful reform for the betterment of the American people then I want no party in the waste time and resources.

It is precisely because politics is about winning that I'm willing to be flexible and take a long-term investment in the state & national party.  It is why I do not get frustrated, pitch a temper tantrum, and shoot out press releases yelling, screaming, and demanding my instant political gratification.  Americans have a tradition of delayed gratification and as the saying goes, Rome wasn't built in a day.  It's why I've long maintained that my personal philosophy is the same as those conservatives who you would purge but that my temperament and strategy differ.

I believe that the Tea Party is a much needed blood transfusion in the Republican Party.  Despite my having been ejected from MARA last March, I believe that they play an important role in the Massachusetts Republican Party.  I also believe that there are plenty of other factions that enrich our party and it is through constant collaboration that perhaps we can organically put aside these RINO hunts and anti-conservative purges.  Both approaches are wrong and only serve to distract us from our common goal, defeating our common enemy, and lead to our mutual failure.  I'm not asking that anyone cater to MARA, or vice versa, but to mutually unite around long term common goals rather than be blinded by short term differences.  Maybe I've read one too many Marvel Comics with Professor X and his X-Men, but solution for the intra-party civil war isn't strong army any group into a silenced minority or pushed out entirely but rather engaged in honest, open, sincere dialogue so that every perspective is brought into the conversation (and perhaps no faction is entirely pleased with the result but that all have been a part of the process to develop the final product).

Having said that, I understand that's a little wishful thinking & perhaps wearing rose colored glasses - at least in the short term.  However, we do not reach the long term until we first labor and struggle past the short term obstacles.  I don't expect to get invited to certain Christmas parties hosted by certain groups & individuals this season but I'm not seeking to be best friends with them, or anyone else (although, it's nice when it happens) but rather reach an accord and understanding enough to be political allies, united by Reagan's 80% rule & 11th Commandment.

MTV once ran an "I Hate You" public service video many, many years ago about bigotry and I think it encapsulates my thoughts -

While this classic clip deals with racism - not ideology - the underlying message remains much the same.  Here's a bit from the famous Star Trek episode where Frank Gorshin plays two characters, virtually identical, from the same planet.  The characters are so very close but yet the mistrust and downright hatred is so far apart -

Finally, it does no Republican any good to constantly wallow in the slights, mistakes, and indignities of the past.  What we must do is acknowledge them, on all an by all, and move on constructively having learned from them and vowing not to  repeat them.  There's plenty of blame to go around and if we pursue a policy of eye for an eye then we'll all be blind.  Hence, I suggest a policy of reconciliation and ecumenicism.  

[ Parent ]
Brock - wise words...for Wisconsin, not Massachusetts (0.00 / 0)
First, thanks for engaging in a thoughtful debate with a fellow socially conservative Republican.

I think the principles you use: look for what people have in common, someone who is with you 80% of the time is  still a Republican, and the 11th commandment of not criticizing fellow Republicans - are a great way of doing business for a state party leader.

However I often find myself in this exact same debate endgame with thoughtful and intelligent people in the Republican party. And this is when I say that the problem with your approach is that you are trying to balance out two sets of interests that should not be balanced in this state. If we were in Wisconsin, or maybe Missouri, it would make sense to try to balance the die-hard social conservatives and the social moderates. It might even make sense for the party to officially adopt Governor Romney's socially conservative platform as the official platform of the party. (Yes, I know that isn't a technically accurate description - my SC rep explained it - but that's what happened in reality.)  

But this is Massachusetts. We have 11% registration. Maybe 20% (a guess, and generous one) of those registered Republicans are die-hard social conservatives. And we live in what is perhaps the most liberal state in America. So.. should the platform be loyal to what 2.5% of the state believes in when it will be offensive to the majority of the rest of the state? No, that is foolish. Not because I disagree with the views - I mostly don't - but because it is bad political strategy.

(Find me some neutral political observer who thinks it makes sense for the MassGOP to adopt a socially conservative platform. You won't find one.)

A few other points:

* This isn't about the past, but the present. When the MassGOP chairman race turns into another RINO hunt - I will remind you that this is happening now, not in the past. When Bill Weld is greeted by half the SC as a traitor, I will remind you that this is now, not in the past. When the activists refuse to work for the special senate election MassGOP candidate, I will again remind you that this is now, not in the past.

* The Republican party, nationally, has gotten more and more conservative since 1994 and isn't even the same party. The poor showing by a successful home-state governor for president in 2012 shows how far away we are from the Massachusetts voters. (He even lost his hometown!!!!)

* You say that Rome wasn't built in a day. But we are not building, Brock, we are deteriorating. Where is the building? We got crushed worse in 2012 than we ever have before. We didn't contest a majority of statewide elections. Our tech is still outdated (yes, that's my fault and I am still working on it) We have lost entire demographics to the Democrats. The state is getting more diverse and we are still an almost entirely white party. You will have to give me some proof that we are building Rome. I see only the ruins of what was once a strong party long ago.

Lastly, I hope you and I find ways to continue this discussion. As we share the same basic political beliefs about everything, it is easy for others to see that what we are arguing about is how to be Republican in the public square, and especially in Massachusetts, and what the strategy of the party should be. Everyone else is confused by ideology, but a discussion between two pro-life, Catholic, conservative Republicans on the future of the party is probably more valuable than all of the ideological battles going on now, and I appreciate it.

[ Parent ]
"Nobody has asked so I didn't find it necessary to take out a billboard." - Brock (0.00 / 0)
Come on dude be real.  You didn't say anything because no one asked you?  


Molon Labe

[ Parent ]
Maybe try moderate positions? (0.00 / 0)
"The party is riven between social conservatives and moderates. What is the answer? We cannot be the party of both Scott Brown and the RINO-hunters."

How about taking moderate positions, like those that the vast majority of people hold, instead of super extreme positions?

Don't let RSC members get away with publicly resolutely supporting federal Life-At-Conception acts and state Personhood Amendments that freak moderate people out, and opposing not just gay marriage but any sort of legal recognition for gay couples. Those are super extreme and radical positions, and the MassGOP should not hesitate to distance itself from them - it should explicitly reject the Life At Conception Act and Personhood laws as too extreme, and it should call for Civil Unions for committed gay couples that are not juridically equivalent to marriage, which it should continue to insist must be for a man and a woman. But it should show it is not full of extremists with no sense of reality.

It is possible to still be a pro-life party, as it always has been, without advocating for these strange new alarming embryos-are-people laws. Those are what make normal people think the party is going crazy.  

[ Parent ]
Kristen Hughes is a terrible choice ... I can't believe there is even 7 folks crazy enough to back her. (0.00 / 0)
The Party is in serious trouble ... and we need someone that can turn things around ... it's going to require a level of commitment that the last couple chairs were unable to provide.  

This girl in my opinion couldn't possibly put in the hours needed to turn this party around.  She's trying to pull off 2 careers, a city council seat, and now MA GOP Chair? ... Oh and BTW she just had her first child last week ... Guys sober up!

Pretend you work in the HR Department of a struggling business, you're looking for a new hire to head operations here in MA and turn things around ... you're going with this?  

Molon Labe

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