Gomez v. Markey a study in contrasts

It’s easy to think of ourselves as thoughtful deliberative voters with no single litmus issue for judging a candidate, but that theoretical criterion came up short last night in the final moments of the Senate debate between Gabriel Gomez and Ed Markey. The defining (litmus, if you will) issue for many became preserving or overturning Roe v. Wade.

Markey GomezGomez said he’s pro-life but that he wasn’t going to Washington to try to overturn that decision.  At the same time, he also said he would be comfortable with mandating a 24-hour waiting period for a woman between her seeking an abortion and being able to have the procedure.  Markey disagreed. He averred that should remain solely a decision for a woman and her doctor. He also noted what’s at stake when, as a Senator, he (or Gomez) would be called on to vote for a Supreme Court nominee.

Markey made it clear that he absolutely would not vote for a Justice who is pro-life and might vote to overturn Roe v. Wade.  Gomez said, “There should be no litmus test for any nominees.”  Given the split on the nation’s highest court, avoiding a litmus test on a woman’s right to choose whether to have an abortion could well turn into a decision to take away the option.  To me, that is unacceptable, and, in those last moments of last night’s debate, bright  light bulbs went off.

There are other areas in which the Senate race offers a clear choice.   Between an experienced legislator who, despite a long record of accomplishment, sometimes comes across as a reflexive partisan, too much a Beltway insider, and a younger, fresher face, a watered down Scott Brown with inadequate substantive knowledge and an abundance of naivete about what he could accomplish were he to make it to DC.

Between someone willing to take on the NRA lock, stock and barrel, including outlawing assault weapons and high-capacity clips and a narrowly focused supporter of universal background checks for gun purchasers (an easy position for Gomez given some 90 percent support among the public).  A choice between Markey’s wanting to fix the Affordable Care Act and Gomez’ saying health care should be left to the states while also saying Obamacare’s model, Romneycare, isn’t working for small businesses in Massachusetts.  And probably a choice between a longtime incumbent whose priority surely isn’t cutting taxes to a newcomer for whom that seems much more important and who feels the wealthy are already taxed enough.

Gomez scored some points as he repeatedly tried to portray Markey as a Washington resident out of touch with the people of Massachusetts, but he failed laughably when he asserted that for 20 years Markey hadn’t authored a single piece of legislation that became law. Markey simply provided a list of bills in high tech, clean energy, telecom, home health care and more.  Nor could the former Navy SEAL persuade listeners that Markey is weak on national security.  Again Markey talked about his role in airport security and seaport security.  Additionally, Gomez insists on pulling out a couple of isolated votes that purported to be against honoring victims of 9/11, but all that does is show Gomez’ lack of understanding of the nuances of the legislative process.

Gomez was constantly on the attack, sometimes snarky.  Markey parried with specifics but sometimes evaded direct questions.  Neither was particularly endearing.  While WBZ’s Jon Keller did his usual good job at controlling the time spent on different issues, the format didn’t allow for the reporters (Keller was joined by Globe political editor Cynthia Needham) to ask follow-up questions, so the debate didn’t go much beyond the candidates’ pat answers and already shop-worn messages.  Perhaps we’ll get more from debate #2, June 18th, for the Mass. Media Consortium with R.D. Sahl moderating. Amazingly, the election is only two and a half weeks away.

I welcome your comments in the section below.

4 thoughts on “Gomez v. Markey a study in contrasts

  1. It is clear that existing ATF laws are not being adequately enforced, but would those who oppose new gun safety regulations be willing to push for better funding/implementation of laws already on the books? I think they’re willing to change/do nothing.


    1. Dan

      As in the posting above by voting for the solution-based Grassley alternative amendment of the Manchin-Toomy bill would have increased funding to adequately enforce existing laws that would have helped stopped the violence in society where a gun is used.


  2. Dan

    With today’s scientific procedures and knowledge, a 24-hour waiting period for a woman between her seeking an abortion and being able to have the procedure is not unreasonable. Today’s, medicine has the capability to show a woman the baby that she will kill with an abortion procedure. Markey’s stand, like many, allows the killing of the baby inside of the woman with a needle punctured through the stomach with a killing solution, just as if the baby was an animal. For years Markey and democrats ask for a waiting period for the purchase of a firearm; so a 24-hour waiting period for a woman to legally kill a baby is not out of line.
    As for Markey stand against the 5-million members of the NRA I will include a comment that I sent to Lynch and Markey after a debate:
    Dear Congressman:
    After watching tonight’s debate, I have to conclude both Democratic Senate candidates did not read the Senate Bill and its amendments on the recent vote on the so called The Manchin-Toomy “ background check bill.”
    I telephoned many senator’s at their state offices from the central section of the country regarding the bill and explained to them that Massachusetts gun laws changed in 1998 and it brought licenses firearm ownership here from 2 ½ million to a little over 200,000. Such as the Vietnam veteran who lost his firearm license after 1998 because of a fight he got into with someone that landed him into the court system before he went to serve his country. 30 years later the chief of police took his firearm licenses away. Senator Jacques (now a IA “Judge”) said, “They can get their licenses back with a Governors Pardon.”
    The NRA supports the NICS system and non-invasive way to improve the system, including better mental health reporting (at which time MA does not participate).The Manchin-Toomy bill overreached; yet the solution-based Grassley alternative would have helped stopped the violence in society where a gun is used. Furthermore, the polling data was not quiet across the country. From information receive the polling included Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, Ohio, and Virginia. In essence, the poll is dominated by predominantly Democratic states with a few swing states sprinkled in with no import for the middle of the Country. So, when President Obama said there were 90% in favor of back ground checks the poll was flawed because of the wording of the question.
    It is too bad the solution bill was defeated also; it would have helped: Increases resources and tools for prosecuting criminals
    • National Project Exile Expansion would have provided $15 million per year for 3 years for more Assistants to U.S. Attorneys and Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms agents that Applies to fifteen jurisdictions with highest violent crime rates and three tribal jurisdictions with highest rates.
    • It would create a Task Force and proposes funding of $10 million per year for five years to prosecute felons and fugitives who fail National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) – funded through the Asset Forfeiture Fund.
    • It would have criminalizes straw purchasing in a targeted, responsible way that doesn’t sweep in innocent conduct.
    • It would have criminalizes trafficking in a responsible way that doesn’t turn minor gun offenses into arms trafficking offenses.
    • It would have increases resources for school safety because President Obama’s budget cuts school safety
    • It would have allowed for Secure Our Schools grants that would have Provided $30 million per year for 10 years under Title III funds.
    • It would have addresses mental health by increasing resources for mental health, such as, Reauthorizes Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act. This would have provided $40 million per year for five years for mental health courts, crisis intervention teams, veteran treatment courts, police academy curricula, and transitional services in prison.
    • It would have allowed Byrne and COPS grants to be used for mental health purposes.
    • It would give states incentives to provide mental health records to NICS federal database.
    • It would have reauthorizes NICS Improvement Amendments Act grants at $20 million per year for 5 years, so states can implement systems to report these records.
    • It would have increases Byrne grant penalties for states’ failure to provide mental health records.
    • It would clarify which records must be submitted NICS.
    • It would have codified Obama executive order requiring the Attorney General to issue guidance to federal agencies.
    • It would require federal court information to be made available to NICS.
    • It would fix the definition of adjudicated mentally incompetent so single doctors can’t infringe on 2nd Amendment rights.
    • It included pro-gun provisions.
    • It allowed interstate firearm sales.
    • It allows military members to buy guns in state of residence or where stationed.
    • It Allows firearms dealers to access NICS to do background checks on employees (with notice and their consent).
    • It allowed interstate transportation of firearms if certain conditions are met (e.g., in vehicle, unloaded, locked or in trunk), and preempts state law to the contrary.
    • It increases executive branch accountability.
    • Federal agencies must submit a report to Congress on how many records they submit to NICS.
    • It required that the Attorney General must report to Congress on gun prosecutions.
    • It required Top official at DOJ must personally approve any Fast and Furious programs (selling guns to criminals).
    • It clarified that ATF can’t collect information on purchases of certain rifles in southwest border states.
    • It required reports to Congress regarding ammunition purchases by federal agencies.
    • It initiates a study by National Institute of Justice and National Academy of Sciences to solve mass shootings.
    It shameful both Senators of Massachusetts voted the party line instead of voting for Children’s safety.
    It is time for a new and a younger, fresher face.


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