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Jewish World Review May 7, 2004 / 16 Iyar, 5764

Tom Purcell

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Letter from Beacon Hill: Missing common-sense, blue-collar tough folks | Boston, MA — Dear Ma,

I'm won't be back in Pittsburgh for Mother's Day because I'm up in Beacon Hill, just a few blocks from John Kerry's wife's $4.5 million row house, trying to figure out what makes these people tick.

I took a cab from the airport and my driver was raised in a blue-collar Irish family. He is working his way through law school and studies while waiting for fares. You'd think such a hard-working fellow would favor low taxes, so he could work fewer hours and so the economy would be booming when he graduates. But not in Boston.

"Bush is a liar," he told me as he drove. "He knew there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. He went in for political reasons and his tax cuts for the rich have ruined the economy."

I don't get it, Ma. This place is beautiful. Old red brick buildings line the streets. There are dozens of neighborhood pubs populated with friendly and colorful people. This city was the birthplace of the American Revolution — but that was long ago when they hated taxes and big government.

The other night I was talking with an intelligent, well-educated girl and the conversation was delightful until it turned to politics. When I asked her why folks here dislike President Bush, she said it's because he is a liar, he favors the rich on the backs of the poor, he's taking away women's rights and he's an elitist. She is convinced Kerry will crush Bush in the fall, despite the fact that Kerry consistently trails Bush in the polls.

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Yesterday, I spent the day writing at a fine neighborhood pub on Charles Street. True to Boston's high-tech reputation, the pub had a wireless Internet hookup, allowing me to stay connected while I worked.

Well, a fellow comes up to me and asks me what kind of work I do. We got into a grand chat about the nature of authentic pubs, the beauty of Boston, the friendliness of Beacon Hill residents, and so on. And then the subject turned to politics.

Now this fellow seemed to me to be very sensible and intelligent. He's the same fellow you'd find in any Pittsburgh pub, the kind of fellow you can knock back a few beers with while talking about sports or cars or a million other things. But when I asked him why people like Kerry here, the tone changed real fast.

"Yeah, we like Kerry. I'd be working on his campaign if I could afford to quit my job. But we've been having a nice conversation here, so I don't see any reason to bring politics into it."

I couldn't resist. I asked him, with a look of befuddlement, if people here liked Kennedy. He nodded, then glared at me. He said, "Nice talking to you, pal, but I got to go."

That's right, Ma, they even like Kennedy up here. This cartoonish national embarrassment — the same fellow who emboldens our enemies by making outlandish charges against Bush — is praised up here by people who otherwise appear to be sane, sober and sensible.

I've only been here a week or so, Ma, but it is clear to me these folks are adamant in their thoughts. There's no room for debate here. They strongly dislike Bush and appear to be eager to defend Kerry and Kennedy's honor with their fists.

It makes no sense to me, Ma. In Pittsburgh, common-sense, blue-collar tough folks vote for Republicans as often as they do Democrats. Bush lost Pennsylvania in the last election, but he has a shot at winning it this time.

But people here are unwavering in their support of liberal policies. It's no wander that the nonpartisan National Journal magazine puts Kerry among the top 10 most liberal senators in recent years.

I don't get this place, Ma. But I just want you to know I wish I was in Pittsburgh on Mother's Day. This place makes me want my mommy.

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04/30/04: Kerry really needs ‘Regular Guy ’ lessons
04/23/04: On Polio and pulling together
04/16/04: Misery
04/09/04: Bush's Secret Weapon: Bo Derek
04/02/04: On baseball and politics
03/26/04: Guy talk
03/22/04: Kerry meets his master
03/17/04: When Americans pretend to be 'Irish'
03/12/04: Didya hear the Anti PC Irish Joke about ?
03/05/04: I Wish I Was Russian
02/27/04: Vinny the Number Cruncher takes on Greenspan
02/20/04: The birds and the bees, updated
02/13/04: Dr. Laura plays Cupid
02/06/04: The Investigation
01/23/04: Weighty adjustment
01/16/04: Bucks for betrothals
01/09/04: Decisions, decisions
01/02/04: Making New Year's resolutions for others
12/27/03: Holiday Pork
12/19/03: FOUND! The captured-Saddam transcript
12/12/03: Peace, Man
12/05/03: Who are you, Miss Manners?
12/01/03: Joyless, selfish children
11/21/03: Thanksgiving, updated for our times
11/14/03: Hang in there, tubby America, your day in the sun will come
11/07/03: Morale at Veterans' Day
10/31/03: The Big Picture
10/24/03: A sorry bunch
10/17/03: Conversation with a typical poll respondent?
10/10/03: Men and women and brains
10/03/03: Iraqi Pork
09/26/03: They would not leave
09/19/03: A radical idea
09/12/03: Food Guide Pyramid has a "stupidity factor"?
09/05/03: Flag waving and football cheering
08/29/03: People who have it all, too often don't
08/25/03: Attack of the 'virus twits'
08/08/03: Why not have a whole slew of the world's dignitaries and leaders come by to visit you?
08/01/03: Do you really want to live until 500?
07/18/03: "Ain't-my-fault" lawsuits are becoming more creative
07/18/03: The real story never makes for good summertime drama in Washington
07/11/03: Government bureaucrats, not elected officials, are really the ones determining what people and organizations can and can't do
07/03/03: Overworked Americans
06/27/03: The Metrosexual Male
06/20/03: Crime Etiquette in Washington, D.C.
06/13/03: My Father, the Thief and the MGB
06/05/03: An Open Letter to Bill and Hillary
05/30/03: We are a busy people
05/23/03: Liar, Liar
05/16/03: Laffer all the way to the bank
05/09/03: My mother's house
05/02/03: Teaching the Iraqis how to protest
04/25/03: Iraqi TV
04/21/03: Explaining Democracy to the Iraqis
04/11/03: Major increases to the beer tax? That's a cheap shot right to the beer gut
04/04/03: War humor
03/31/03: Dolphins, PETA and the USA
03/21/03: Traffic Wars
03/14/03: Ronald Reagan's St. Patrick's Day
03/03/03: My Family's Tragic Secret: We're French
02/21/03: I'm worried about my people
02/14/03: George Washington Makeover
02/07/03: Making quiet sacrifices
01/24/03: "Gimme the, goo-goo, gah-gah, remote!"
01/21/03: "Misunderestimated"
01/10/03: Republican night life
01/06/03: Exercise pills
12/31/02: They provide unending joy to those who are wise enough to let them in
12/13/02: Hurried Man Syndrome
12/06/02: In DC, snowstorms have important ramifications --- or, at least, they should
11/26/02: Police advertising
11/15/02: An Interview with Osama
11/01/02: How to vote in America
10/25/02: On edge in Washington, D.C
10/11/02: Giving new meaning to "selling your body"
10/04/02: Bush's Angels
09/27/02: Conservatives, Liberals, Dick Armey and Barry Manilow
09/20/02: Are SUV drivers are the new GOPers?
09/13/02: Bubba is Dubya's man
09/06/02: The Freedom to Picnic
08/16/02: Ah, the $izzle of anti-terrorist pork
08/09/02: Vacationless prez and gutless Americans
07/26/02: Study gives women permission not to hide their emotions
07/15/02: Patriot food
06/28/02: Eavesdropping on a San Fran classroom
06/21/02: The crowded skies
06/14/02: Contemporary Father's Day: A conversation for the ages
06/07/02: Legal rights for animals?
05/19/02: Advice for prom goers this year: Hold onto your money
05/10/02: Don't take her for granted
05/03/02: Letter to the parents of a tubby teen
04/26/02: Zacarias Moussaoui gets expert legal advice

© 2003, Tom Purcell