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Ray Flynn for President
By Charles A. Morse
If Raymond L. Flynn, the former Mayor of Boston and Ambassador to the Vatican during the Clinton Administration decides to toss his hat in the ring this year and run for the Presidency of the United States in 2004, he could very well emerge as the only significant Democrat in the field not running from the political left. In that sense, a Flynn candidacy could, in these critical times, potentially galvanize what Richard Nixon referred to as "the silent majority" the conservative wing of the Democratic Party. Flynn is one of the most well known conservative political figures in the Democratic Party today, virtually the only genuinely conservative Democrat presently on the scene.
While potentially attracting the traditional Democratic voter, many of whom feel abandoned by the leftward shift amongst the party elite in recent decades, a Flynn candidacy would also possess the unique quality of pointing the way to the party's future if the party is to have a future. Presently, the party apparatus, along with the eight or so Democratic candidates presently in the race, are to varying degrees mired in the old and discredited left-wing past, a past that is being increasingly rejected by American voters.
Ray Flynn, presently my colleague at Boston's Salem Radio affiliate WROL, is a pro-life, socially conservative devoutly religious Roman Catholic who harkens from working class South Boston. His father was a dockworker, his mother a maid. Flynn made his political bones after graduating from Providence College and a brief stint in professional basketball, by standing up for South Boston as a City Councilor during the bitter and contentious forced bussing crisis of the mid 1970's. Flynn courageously countered the blistering and vicious attacks against opponents of busing, mainly coming from elitist leftists, by accurately phrasing the issue as not one of race but of a dictatorial federal and judicial interference in an issue that should have been equitably addressed locally.
Flynn went on from this first scrape with the elite left to beat all the odds when he was elected Mayor of Boston. He would be elected to three consecutive terms attracting respectable pularities despite vigorous and constant opposition from Boston's elite liberal media and establishment. For Mayor, the liberals backed the slick and highly packaged Dave Finnegan who they thought would be a shoo-in before Flynn trounced him. The Flynn candidacy attracted working class urban Roman Catholics like himself. This same core constituency, presently without an effective national voice, could find resonance in a Flynn candidacy for President. As Mayor, he worked tirelessly and effectively to improve the business atmosphere in the city's many neighborhoods and to reduce crime and racial tensions.
The idea of a Flynn candidacy for President is intriguing in terms of what it could mean politically and socially. Flynn could attract both urban northern ethnic Catholics and conservative southern Protestant Dixicrats. Flynn could appeal to both socially conservative lunch bucket Democrats who don't relate to the social agenda of the left wing of the party and to suburbanites who are leery of government interference and social engineering. Flynn could resonate with rank and file union members as well as small businessmen tired of too much government regulation.
Ray Flynn is well known in New Hampshire where the nations first primary will be held in less than 2 years and where he's positioned to mount a substantial grass-roots campaign. With the Democratic Party fielding left-wing candidates such as Dennis Kuchinich, Carol Mosley-Braun, Dick Gephardt, Howard Dean and Al Sharpton, and mugwumps such as John Kerry and Joe Lieberman, Ray Flynn would stand out and be in a position to break from the pack. Flynn has always been an underestimated maverick. His candidacy could contribute greatly toward changing the face of the Democratic Party in the new century.
Chuck Morse hosts a
radio talk show on AM 950 WROL in Boston. Order his latest book,The Gramsci Factor:
59 Socialists in Congress, at his web site.
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