One Democratic Consultant’s Fee: Thirty Pieces of Silver

To quote the renowned Scottish philosopher Gerry Rafferty, I’m trying to make some sense of it all, but I see it makes no sense at all:

[Massachusetts] GOP U.S. Senate candidate John Kingston quietly hired Democratic consultant and former Gov. Deval Patrick adviser Ron Bell to woo voters in “urban areas” — even as the Winchester Republican seeks to bolster his right-wing credentials…

Kingston has paid Bell $10,000 a month since last October as his political consultant, according to Federal Election Commission records.

Bell, 55, has worked for progressive Democrats across the state since 2005, first as Patrick’s deputy campaign manager and most recently on former Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson’s mayoral campaign…

State Rep. Geoff Diehl (R-Whitman) and former political analyst Beth Lindstrom are also vying to challenge U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

Bell said he didn’t make the decision to oppose national Democratic superstar Warren lightly.

“John’s natural ability to break down racial barriers and open dialogue are the type of skill and qualities that Massachusetts needs right now in a senator. I believe John can win in November,” Bell said.

How naive can someone be to believe that any Republican in the age of Donald Trump is sincerely interested in “break[ing] down racial barriers and open dialogue”? Bell has apparently fallen for the fiction that there is such a thing as a “moderate Republican,” a profound shame.

It’s as though Bell views Trump as an anomaly in the Republican Party, and not the natural manifestation of 54 years of savage race-baiting. One wonders what Bell thinks of the Trump acolyte who’s running for Governor in the Bay State–and who has now managed to force a Republican primary challenge to incumbent Gov. Charlie Baker:

Governor Charlie Baker was given a strong endorsement for reelection Saturday from delegates to the Massachusetts Republican convention, but, in a major setback, fell short of avoiding a primary fight with a controversial antigay pastor from Springfield.

Baker won 69.8 percent of the 2,400 GOP delegates who showed up at the Worcester gathering.

His only rival, Scott Lively, a fringe candidate with hardly any staff or fund-raising, managed to win 27.7 percent of support from delegates, easily clearing the 15 percent threshold of delegate support to qualify for the primary ballot…

In his remarks, Lively went straight at the governor on issues that drew strong applause from the conservative delegations. He chided Baker for not speaking out against sanctuary cities, his relationship with such Democrats as Mayor Martin J. Walsh and Mayor Dan Rivera of Lawrence, and for his taking credit for a strong economy under Trump.

“We need real conservative policies in Massachusetts,’’ he said. “We [are] tired of going to the left.”

Lively did not mention what he is most known for — his controversial writings about gay people, including his claim that homosexuals controlled the German Nazi Party. Speaking to reporters later, he acknowledged he had “fences to mend” with the LGBT community.

If Lively’s name sounds familiar, it’s because you remember how Rachel Maddow exposed his efforts to make the case for horrific anti-LGBTQ legislation in Uganda a few years back. This is who Massachusetts Republicans feel comfortable enough to have on their gubernatorial primary ballot. This is the party Bell is aligning himself with. (Even if Kingston isn’t as anti-LGBTQ as Lively, he’s still a longtime ally of former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, whose loathing of the LGBTQ community is well-documented.)

Bell’s alliance with Kingston is obviously not as high-profile as Kanye West’s embrace of Trump, but it’s every bit as distasteful. If Kingston manages to win the Republican primary and defeats Warren, he will vote for Mitch McConnell as Senate Majority Leader and vote for Trump’s far-right federal judges and new Cabinet nominees, no matter how nice and friendly he seems now. Does Bell not understand that? Or did that $10,000 a month he’s getting from Kingston purchase his common sense?

D.R. Tucker

D. R. Tucker is a Massachusetts-based journalist who has served as the weekend contributor for the Washington Monthly since May 2014. He has also written for the Huffington Post, the Washington Spectator, the Metrowest Daily News, investigative journalist Brad Friedman's Brad Blog and environmental journalist Peter Sinclair's Climate Crocks.