NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

February 18, 2013

Troubles on a usually serene birthday week

This is usually my favorite week of the year: Valentine’s Day, my birthday; chocolate candy, chocolate cake. Preferably both of those events happen before Ash Wednesday, which, because of childhood Catholic habit, remains a good time to give up sweets and lose weight. Last year, even Presidents Day with its cherry pie came before Lent.

But, as with so many other things, this year isn’t going well. Only Lincoln’s birthday slipped in before Ash Wednesday on Feb. 13, and it has no goodies connected to it unless one attends a Republican Lincoln Day dinner, which I’ve done in the past as a guest speaker and won’t be doing this year.

Now that Earth has traveled around the sun 70 times since my birth, I’ve retired from public speaking, though not from political activism. I continue to work with Citizens for Limited Taxation to make sure nothing happens to Proposition 21/2, making my someday-retirement cottage unaffordable.

My mentor Howard Jarvis led the ballot battle for California’s property tax limit, Prop. 13, in 1978 when he was 76; his bust sits on my bookcase, reminding me that one is never too old to cause trouble for government, or at least enjoy the attempt.

This year’s Lincoln’s birthday may have featured Massachusetts Republicans assassinating their party’s chances in the coming U.S. Senate race. They should be getting behind the one candidate who has actually made up his mind to run, as of the writing of this column. Dan Winslow needs 10,000 signatures of Republicans and independents by the Feb. 27 deadline. Instead of helping with this difficult task, some Republican activists are trying to talk former U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan into running, too.

The special election, caused by Sen. John Kerry’s move to secretary of state, could leave time for a divisive primary for Democrats; Congressmen Lynch and Markey are already battling. But with Scott Brown waiting until he saw his February shadow to announce that he wouldn’t run for the seat, Republicans have no room for their traditionally unpleasant primary games.

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