Why do people hate politicians?
Well, of course, it’s because they speak with forked tongues.
It’s not news that politicians are hypocritical, that they say one thing and do another. That like used car salesmen they will say anything, virtually anything, to get us to sign on their bottom lines.
See Donald Trump and government health care for the best current example of that.
Why then, am I so bothered that Charlie Baker and Elizabeth Warren have spoken with forked tongues when it comes to caring about New Bedford and SouthCoast?
Four years ago, when he wasn’t an incumbent, Baker couldn’t get to SouthCoast fast enough to debate with Martha Coakley. He was a Republican in a Democrat-dominated state and he needed every bit of publicity he could get.
But fast forward four years, and Baker, for reasons that largely escape me, is the most popular incumbent governor in America. We invited him to SouthCoast to debate and there was no way, no how, he was going to do that.
Same thing for Liz Warren.
In her case, six years ago, Warren also couldn’t get to SouthCoast fast enough. Sure, she would debate incumbent Sen. Scott Brown, she said. Show me the time, date and the place. She made a big deal of it, saying she believes voters deserve to hear from the candidates close to home. It was Scott Brown in 2012 who was the incumbent. And of course like most incumbents he wanted no part of any SouthCoast debate he thought he could get away without doing.
This time, Baker and Warren have hung their dissing of SouthCoast on a Boston consortium that sponsored three debates in Greater Boston. Oh, we couldn’t possibly come to places like SouthCoast or Western Massachusetts. We gave our word, you know.
So this Wednesday night, the SouthCoast Alliance will sponsor a debate and a pre-debate forum that will be without two of the major party candidates for governor and U.S. Senate.
Charlie Baker and Liz Warren have bet they are far enough ahead in the polls that they can get re-elected without debating here. They have made their bet and they are not going to do it.
So the alliance — a group that includes your local media, chambers of commerce, nonprofit groups and UMass Dartmouth and BCC — will listen to what Democratic gubernatorial challenger Jay Gonzalez and Republican U.S. Senate challenger Geoff Diehl have to say. Their forum will start at 6 p.m.
Gonzalez and Diehl have been working hard this election campaign.
Gonzalez has made a point of acquainting himself in depth with the ins and outs of the commuter rail issue and Diehl has done the same on federal fisheries regulations. They are smart, capable individuals and New Bedford and SouthCoast should listen closely to what they have to say. Besides making their own statements, they’ll be answering some of the same questions that were meant for the debate that Baker and Warren are taking a pass on.
There is a bit of good news about the upcoming SouthCoast forum
In the very heated fight over the composition of the next Congress, SouthCoast will not be left on the sidelines. Our issues will get an airing.
Incumbent U.S. Rep. Bill Keating and Peter Tedeschi, the 9th District congressional candidates, easily agreed to come to New Bedford and you’ll be able to find them at the Whaling Museum’s Cook theater at 7 p.m. sharp on Wednesday.
Keating, the incumbent, is the favorite in the 9th, but it’s a district that is pretty closely balanced between Democrats and Republican residents, so he is coming. Good for him, he might have gotten away with taking a pass on an event in Democratic-leaning Greater New Bedford. But he’s not — he will be here to hear what we have to say.
Good also for Peter Tedeschi, the Republican challenger from Marshfield, who has pushed hard to be heard on the SouthCoast, and will now have his chance. With SouthCoast towns like Acushnet and Westport showing marked interest in GOP candidates in recent elections, it is more than worth Tedeschi’s time.
Should you hold it against Charlie Baker and Elizabeth Warren that they wouldn’t come to debate on SouthCoast? Should you not vote for them?
If you’re a true believer in their philosophies and their politics, probably not. But if you’re an independent voter who isn’t moved by ideology so much as by the character of the candidates, you would do well to take note.
Charlie Baker and Elizabeth Warren have showed us a little of their characters. Or lack thereof.
Jack Spillane is the Sunday and editorial page editor of The Standard-Times.