Mass. Republicans Split On Path Forward

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In his first press conference since losing his bid for re-election, Sen. Scott Brown said in Washington Tuesday that a lack of bipartisanship is causing gridlock in D.C.

"On both sides, there are extremes, as you all know, kind of pushing back against the middle," Brown said. "And I've always felt that group in the middle is, quite frankly, the most powerful group."

Closer to home, the Massachusetts Republican Party met in Plymouth Tuesday night and debated what direction it should go in after the 2012 election.

It was a frustrated group who gathered to review the devastating loss of the presidential election and of Brown's Senate seat. Bob Maginn, the chairman of the state Republican Party, compared last Tuesday's election with the New England Patriots' loss to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI.

"You know, when I left that game, I was very disappointed," Maginn said. "I was not happy. My emotions were very down, kind of like they are now. But I didn't go and say the Patriots are no good."

And so, Maginn told members of the state committee, they should not feel that their team is no good.

In 2012, the party opened 35 offices around the state, far more than ever, and contacted two million voters. Despite Brown's loss, they had a bigger turnout than they had expected.

Former Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey said there is at least one lesson that it's not too early to take away.

"And that is that we, as a party, need everyone under the tent. We need to bring in the libertarians," Healey said. "We need to bring in the moderates. We need to bring in everybody. They all need to be in the tent."

Healey pointed to the changing demographics of the country. She talked about the importance of reaching out to young people.

"I don't think we did that this time," Healey said to applause.

Healey said Republicans also need to figure out how to reach out to Latinos.

The state committee voted not to adopt the national GOP platform, and instead to adopt what it called Mitt Romney's platform. It differs in one significant way: it allows abortion in the case of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother.

After the vote, the committee agreed to hear from various voices in the party. They included some who disagree with Healey, including Dave Kopaz. He's president of a group of conservative rebels called the Massachusetts Republican Assembly.


"We cannot go wrong if we focus on a message of life, liberty and property," Kopaz said to applause.

And so the party found itself united in its disappointment, but disagreeing for now on what message would bring it back to victory.

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This program aired on November 14, 2012.

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Fred Thys Reporter
Fred Thys reported on politics and higher education for WBUR.



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