What WAS big news is that it included a candidates forum and two sitting DEMOCRATIC members of the General Court attended.
Jennifer Flanagan (Sen 4th Worcester district) and Jen Benson (Rep 37th Middlesex District) along with their opponents Neal Heeren (4th Worcester Senate) and Kurt Hayes (37th Middlesex) showed up and took audience questions and stayed to talk to the people at intermission!
The significance of this can’t be overestimated. For over a year the media has been painting tea party members as wild eyed extremists. Congressmen and women have avoided town hall meetings in fear of encountering them and now sitting democratic members of the General Court attend events.
Both Jens deserve a lot of credit for doing so, it shows a respect for the people who will be voting in this election, but more importantly it shows that they are smart enough to realize that pretending a portion of the electorate must be ignored is a losing policy. Rather than giving the floor to their opponents they engaged the tea party members as voters to be persuaded.
Did they win any votes? I don’t know but I think both were impressive and helped themselves. Just as it is hard to stereotype the tea party when you actually interact with them it is hard to do the same with candidates who take the time to talk to you.
Incidentally I’ll have video uploaded and posted later in the day.
Is this an anomaly or is this the shape of things to come? Well as goes Massachusetts…
Update: Instalanche! Thanks Glenn, welcome all take a peek around. Find out why Foster Kamer is Vizzini, why the Iranians are just cowardly bullies, check out my cynical look at Church Closings and Dave Weigel and of course my Amazon reviews.
Update 2: This is actually the Second bi-partisian event held by the Twin City Tea Party. The First was on Flag Day and included the mayor of Leominster. The evidence of change in drawing local pols is evidenced by this video:
When local pols in the most liberal state in the nation feel comfortable being seen at tea party events the worm has turned. I think tea parties nationwide should take a good hard look at what the Twin City Tea Party group is doing and copy it.
Update 3: Here is the video of Flanagan and Heeren
Update 4: And here is the video of Benson and Hayes.