Tuesday was something of a breakthrough for Gabriel Gomez in the Senate race in Massachusetts. He received laudatory reviews from the Boston press, not exactly a friendly audience for Republicans. Meanwhile, Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) is sending out the SOS signal. President Obama came in on Tuesday and former president Bill Clinton will come help out on Saturday.
The problem for Markey is two-fold. He is a bland, Washington insider. Even worse, the special election comes at a time when Dems are down in the dumps over scandals and Republicans are fired up.
However, Gomez has yet to attract third-party money. As one Republican operative put it, “What are they waiting for?” That leaves him with a disadvantage in the expensive Boston media market.
Even that seems to be falling into place. The Post reports: “A new conservative outside group is launching a big ad buy in Massachusetts on behalf of Republican Gabriel Gomez’s special election campaign. The group, called Americans for Progressive Action, is spending about $700,000 on ads over the next week, according to a person familiar with the buy.” If that triggers other donors Gomez could level the TV ad playing field.
Gomez will have one more debate to land some blows, but what may be missing is a single closer — a message that will drive Republicans to the polls while not stirring up the Democratic base.
Former Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.), representing the potential decisive vote in a filibuster, had Obamacare. For Gomez, it may be that the obvious is the best choice: He can say with full conviction that he will not simply be a rubber stamp for the administration or slough off the multiple scandals.
Instead, he’ll be a tough but fair committee member in oversight hearings and help get to the bottom of the IRS, Benghazi, HHS and DOJ scandals while determining if the Obama administration has overstepped its bounds on national security. In other words, if voters want to find out what the IRS is up to, Gomez is the only one in the race who will be tenacious.
What we have seen on a national level is the erosion of trust in the administration and in President Obama in particular. Libertarians are using it as an excuse to discredit government per se and to do away with anti-terrorism capabilities or to sing the praises of those divulging top-secret information. (Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) went so far on CNN as to declare, “I do know that committing civil disobedience is a — is a big step forward and history has treated people in various fashions. Some people who commit civil disobedience have been treated heroes, some have not.”)
By contrast, Gomez can credibly say he wants to root out corruption and punish those who have been untruthful in order to make government work properly. It is a compelling argument and consistent with his moderate political views.
Can he do it? Much rides on the last debate and whether more third-party groups get off their duffs and help even out the TV war.