It’s almost time to feel a bit sorry for the Massachusetts Republican Party. Almost.
Once the home of people sane and credible enough to win statewide elections, even the occasional congressional race, it’s now home to Tom Mountain.
If you’ve never heard of Tom Mountain, you might want to count your blessings.
Mountain was — until recently — the vice chair of the Mass. GOP. He abruptly resigned Sunday night.
“Recently, many of you likely saw a blog post about me,” he wrote to the Republican State Committee in an e-mail obtained by my colleague Emma Platoff. “It is scurrilous and demeaning and I will refrain from elaborating on it here.” Without offering details, he said he planned to clear his name, and that the attacks on him had rendered him ineffective.
We will not inquire too deeply into when and in what capacity Mr. Mountain was effective. But let’s fill in the gaps here.
Mountain resigned in the wake of a string of posts on the website turtleboysports.com accusing him of leaving inappropriate and frankly idiotic posts on the Facebook pages of women he did not know.
The website has been having a field day with the purported Mountain posts.
How bad were the posts?
Here’s an actual Turtleboy headline: “Tom Mountain Got Catfished By Someone Pretending To Be A Hot Redeheaded (sic) Israeli Chick And Opened Up About All The Orgies He’s Been Having That He Wanted To Bring Her To.” The posting included screenshots of what it said were Mountain’s communications.
Not exactly what we have come to expect from the even-keeled party of Bill Weld, Paul Cellucci, Mitt Romney, and Charlie Baker — not to mention the stuffy old Massachusetts Republican leaders of yore.
Mountain has told the Boston Herald he was hacked, and says he has retained counsel. I had hoped he would elaborate Tuesday, but he didn’t return my call.
For a party that was already in the political wilderness, this has been an especially bad year for the Massachusetts GOP.
Just recently, the party was dealing with the fallout from a homophobic e-mail from state committeewoman Deborah Martell so disgusting that it was condemned by state and national Republican leaders (including Mountain.)
Meanwhile, the party has been gripped by constant internecine warfare around the leadership of party chair Jim Lyons — with whom Mountain also seemed to clash. The pro-Trumpers who have seized control of the party haven’t much affection for popular Republican Governor Baker, who is facing a primary challenge from Geoff Diehl.
If Diehl’s name sounds faintly familiar, you may be recalling his 2018 US Senate challenge to Elizabeth Warren, which he lost by a margin bordering on mathematically impossible.
This, my friends, is the party that routinely denounces what it calls “one-party rule” on Beacon Hill. Why doesn’t it occur to them that they are supposed to be the other party?
While state party pooh-bahs denounce Baker and (allegedly) post creepy messages, voters have simply tuned them out. Fewer than 10 percent of Massachusetts voters are registered Republicans, while fund-raising has dipped as well. Though the GOP keeps winning governor’s races — they have owned the corner office for all but eight years of this century — that seems to be despite the state party, not because of it. The Mass. GOP increasingly feels less like a political organization and more like a frat house on the verge of being kicked off-campus.
In his weirdly defiant resignation letter, Mountain said he didn’t want to be like those other politicians he’s been denouncing.
“It has been my honor to serve as MassGOP Vice Chair,” Mountain wrote. “I hope others follow this example by ALWAYS doing what’s right for our Party even when those decisions require personal sacrifice. We would certainly have a better MassGOP as a result.”
What a guy.
Truthfully, there is something vaguely discomfiting about the descent of a once-credible political party. Massachusetts could use two functioning political parties.
Instead, we have Deborah Martell, Tom Mountain, and a sinking ship of fools.