Columnist Gary Michael Tartakov: Difficulties of Goldstein-Rose’s independence

  • State Rep. Solomon Goldstein-Rose changes his voter registration from Democrat to unenrolled at Amherst Town Hall on Feb. 20. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

I applaud state Rep. Solomon Goldstein-Rose’s candor in explaining his reasons for leaving the Democratic Party, which he used for getting himself elected to the state Legislature (“Amherst representative quits party,” Feb. 21).

He sees the problems of the gridlock in Washington as being a result of the party system and he believes, with the wisdom of his year of work in the Massachusetts Legislature, that he can do more for the nation if he doesn’t have a “D” next to his name when speaking with legislators on the Republican side of the aisle.

I suppose he thinks that the Amherst, Granby and Pelham Democrats who voted him in didn’t care what party he wanted to belong to, and just admired his youth and his passion on climate issues.

And I suppose he thinks that the Democrats he has just ditched are not going to care about his leaving their party to go it alone on his record of achievement. And that the Republicans are going to be interested in listening to his ideas because he is without the baggage of legislators to support him, now that he represents no other caucus of colleagues who are interested in coordinating with him. He won’t have to trade horses to get votes, because he won’t have any horses to trade or logs to roll.

I don’t know if he’s considered how the Democrats he’s already solicited for funds for his re-election campaign will feel about his dropping out of their party.

I don’t disagree that our party system has definite drawbacks. And I do believe that if he can defeat the candidate that the Democratic Party puts up against him in the fall, he will be able to put forward his passionate beliefs.

But I think he’s not so much idealistic as naive to believe that he can do serious across-the-aisles bridging on the basis of his lack of any track record, or coordination with the structures that maintain the various institutions of the state Legislature or the legislative process there.

Bills that make it out of committee, much less bills that get passed by the Legislature, aren’t personal projects by bright young legislators. They are the products of multiple legislators working with each other in committees with professional staffs, convincing their colleagues that those particular proposals are not just efficient-looking on paper, but legislatively possible, and more important than the others lined up ahead of them by equally hard-working and intelligent legislators, who have comparably valuable proposals.

And then there is the issue of the Democratic Party’s need to reorient itself from the business roundtable model of the Clinton years and refocus on the working-class issues that Bernie Sanders represented.

I’ve got as many beefs as anyone else against the way the Democratic Party has slipped to the right across the nation. And I want someone representing me to work to orient the Massachusetts state party in a more progressive direction on both working-class issues and gender issues.

My say in the Democratic Party is based to an important degree on having my representative be an elected official.

I think the Democrats of Amherst, Granby and Pelham need someone to represent western Massachusetts effectively in the Democratic Party, as well as in the state Legislature.

Gary Michael Tartakov is a registered Democrat from Amherst.