A Shift in Massachusetts?

In advance of tomorrow’s special election in Massachusetts to fill the open U.S. Senate seat that was held by the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, I interviewed Dr. David Tuerck, executive director of The Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University in Boston. The institute supports limited government and is renowned for its rigorous analysis of economic policy issues.

WISHING: David, thank you for agreeing to do this interview. Can you provide some insight into Republican state Sen. Scott Brown’s economic views?

TUERCK: In general, I think his economic views are just what he says: lower taxes, less spending. He no doubt voted differently at times when he was in the legislature, but given his platform, I think he’d deliver for conservative policies if elected.

WISHING: Conservatives might be suspicious of a Massachusetts Republican. Are there any weaknesses conservatives would want to be aware of?

TUERCK: No doubt there are some. In particular, his support for Romney Care is a red flag. I don’t know of anything similar. He is ambiguous on abortion and gay rights, but who can blame him under the circumstances?

WISHING: I had not realized until this race that independents far outnumber Democrats and Republicans in Massachusetts. In light of this, why do Massachusetts voters consistently send liberals to Congress?

TUERCK: We have strong unions, elite/liberal academics and students who register here, as well as a strong Irish/Italian tradition of voting Democratic. But the state can fool you. Reagan carried the state both times. And the union rank-and-file will desert someone who comes across as an elitist moonbat. Regarding the current situation, Obama-Reid-Pelosi have gone farther to the left than many here can stand.

WISHING: I read something you said about tax-limitation legislation on the ballot in Massachusetts. I’m surprised. Is Massachusetts not the out-of-control liberal state that the rest of the country perceives it to be, or is there a shift taking place in Massachusetts politics?

TUERCK: I don’t think a shift is taking place. First, Attorney General Martha Coakley is a terrible campaigner and Brown is an attractive guy. Also, as I said, President Obama went farther to the left than the union rank-and-file would have liked. Keep in mind that Massachusetts approved Proposition 2½ over 25 years ago and that puts a strong limit on property taxes. We also voted to cut the income tax eight years ago. When we have a statewide issue—like this one—Massachusetts can go to the right.

WISHING: Thank you for your time, David. It will be interesting to see what happens on Tuesday.