An Incident Today Sparked a Trip Down Our Political Memory Lane

Earlier today on Facebook I linked to a story about the conservative group “Club for Growth” sending out a “NO Vote Alert” urging all  Republican members of the U.S. House to vote “NO” on the bill to expand the National Flood Insurance Program’s borrowing authority by $9.7 billion. This is one of the bills to assist the victims of  “Sandy” that had New York Congressman Peter King and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie so irate last week. The flack sending out the alert was Barney Keller.  Keller appeared earlier tonight on MSNBC’s “Hardball” – opposite regular contributor Ron Reagan. Keller was further pushing the CFG philosophy and its warnings. It reminded me that this was the same Barney Keller who back in August 2007 felt compelled to protect 5th Congressional District GOP candidate Jim Ogonowski from this dangerous Democrat!

I was doing one of my occasional co-hosting stints on the WUML Sunrise radio show with Bob Ellis. Keller insisted that I vacate the studio before the scheduled Ogonowski interview! He actually physically screened Ogonowki from me as I waited in the “green” room so that we wouldn’t even have eye-contact! I thought then that he was beyond the pale in his handling of candidate Ogonowski! He’s obviously come up in the political world but I don’t think any better of him now in 2013.

This is my original blog post from back in August, 2007:

SUNRISE in the MA-05
By: Marie Sweeney 8/16/2007
As many may know I often cohost on WUML/SUNRISE and today I was scheduled with regular host Bob Ellis. I really enjoy the experience as we have known each other for years and appreciate each other’s “political junkie-ness”. When I received the guest line-up yesterday which listed  Jim Ogonowski, I shot-off an e-mail expressing concern and questioning whether I could or should participate. After all I’m Chair of Greater Lowell Area Democrats, a member of the State Committee and have a candidate in the MA-05 race – Barry Finegold. Bob felt that with my reputation for fairness and acting professionally and with full disclosure they’d be no problem. A late night e-mail let me know that the Ogonowski camp feared a sandbagging despite being assured that the interview was to be issue-based and that I wouldn’t participate. In fact, this morning I stepped out of the studio to sit in an anteroom but of course I listened and took notes. What floored me about the whole experience was the intent of Mr. Ogonowski’s young handlers to further “protect” him from this Democrat! The upshot is that despite having met and talked at length with the other Republican in the race – Tom Tierney – I have yet to meet Jim Ogonowski. Seasoned handlers like Bob LaRochelle, Steve Joncas or Paul Glavey with a neophyte candidate would have brought him right over instead of waiting “until the coast was clear” to bring him in-studio. Enough about me. I tell the tale to highlight the importance of experience, common sense, civility and political savy when at the reigns of an important race for Congress. Maybe later I’ll write about the actual interview.

The incident got a lead in the following Sunday’s “The Column” and caused a buzz on our local political scene. The 2007 race seems so long ago now – and it was one of the reasons that this blog got started. A lot of water over the political dam since then!

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