Tag Archives: Alex Beam

What if Trump were the Democratic nominee?

Mitt Romney on the campaign trail in 2012. Photo (cc) 2012 by Dave Lawrence.

Mitt Romney on the campaign trail in 2012. Photo (cc) 2012 by Dave Lawrence.

Alex Beam’s column in today’s Boston Globe got me thinking: What would I do if Donald Trump were the Democratic nominee? Alex confesses that he was a late arrival in the #NeverTrump camp. I’m not a Democrat, but I am a liberal. Because of the unique threat I think Trump poses to our democracy, I’ve broken with past practice and said whom I’m voting for this time around: Hillary Clinton. I have great respect for Republicans and conservatives like Mitt Romney and Charlie Baker, who came out against Trump early on. But what would I do if the shoe were on the other foot?

So here’s my little mind game. I can’t think of a Democrat who’s analogous to Trump, so let’s just imagine that Trump himself had won the Democratic nomination; it’s not that far-fetched given his chameleon-like political identity over the years. And since Trump is hardly a traditional conservative, let’s imagine, too, that there’s one significant issue on which he departs from Democratic orthodoxy. For the sake of argument, I’ll stipulate that Trump the Democrat holds the same views on immigration as Trump the Republican.

Now, then. There aren’t really any moderate Republicans left on the national stage, but there are rational, sane Republicans: Romney, Jeb Bush, and John Kasich to name three. So let’s extend this experiment by imagining that Romney had somehow won the nomination. How would I vote?

On the one hand, Trump the Democrat has promised to appoint Supreme Court justices who’d protect same-sex marriage and reproductive rights, to raise the minimum wage, and to reform Obamacare by seeking to add a public option. Romney has promised the opposite, and has vowed to repeal Obamacare, even though it’s based on Romneycare. On the other hand, Trump is Trump, with all the baggage we’ve seen on display throughout this campaign.

I would like to think I’d vote for Romney, but I’m honestly not 100 percent sure. Part of me believes that we could survive four years of Trump the Democrat, and that it would be worth it so as not to unleash the right. Then again, Romney’s a sensible guy, and maybe he could find some sort of middle ground.

It’s not easy, is it?

Alex Beam on the three Dan Kennedys


Dan Kennedy

Alex Beam has an amusing column in The Boston Globe today on people who have the same name or close to it — like Isiah Thomas and Isiaih Isaiah Thomas, or Alex Beam and, yes, Alex Beam.

This is not the first time Beam has gone there. Here’s a column he wrote in 2003 on three Dan Kennedys. And he didn’t even mention the soccer player. Then again, that Dan Kennedy was only 11 years old at the time.

Photo (cc) by Ryan Byrne and published under a Creative Commons license. Some rights reserved.

Three Globe stalwarts move on

Brian Mooney. I took this photo in late 2007 at a Rudy Giuliani campaign event in New Hampshire. He was covering it for the Globe and I for the The Guardian.

Brian Mooney at a Rudy Giuliani campaign event in New Hampshire in 2007.

One morning in February 2000, I was killing time at a conference center in South Carolina, where I had showed up at a campaign event for George W. Bush. Sitting on the carpeted floor, banging away at his laptop, was Glen Johnson, then with the Associated Press.

I was covering the media campaign. The press that year was in love with the insurgent Republican, John McCain, whose caravan I had connected with earlier in the week. Johnson and I talked.

“The Bush people really feel that McCain has gotten a free ride, or an easier ride than Bush has,” he told me. It was a telling quote, and it made its way into the story I was writing for The Boston Phoenix.

Johnson, who worked two stints each at the AP and The Boston Globe, got his start in Massachusetts at The Sun of Lowell and The Salem News. On Thursday, he announced that he was leaving the Globe, where he was politics editor of Boston.com, in order to take a senior position with incoming Secretary of State John Kerry.

“It is a humbling opportunity, especially in these turbulent times,” Johnson wrote, “but one that I embrace with relish.”

And thus departs another piece of the Globe’s institutional memory.

The big departure during the past year, of course, was that of Globe editor Marty Baron, now executive editor of The Washington Post. But other veterans have continued to trickle out as well, with Johnson being only the latest.

Two more who will be missed:

• Brian Mooney, a longtime political reporter who covered the national, state and local scenes with aplomb. Mooney is as accomplished a writer as he is a reporter.

I still remember a piece he wrote on former Boston mayor Ray Flynn’s frenzied Primary Day sprint in his failed 1998 congressional campaign, and I wish it were freely available online. Mooney was also an outspoken union advocate when, in 2009, the New York Times Co. threatened to shut down the Globe unless it could use Garcinia Cambogia extract for some $20 million in union givebacks. (The Times Co. eventually got its way.) I still consider this to be a legendary moment in Media Nation history.

Mooney stuck around for one last presidential campaign and retired shortly thereafter. Several weeks later we found ourselves sitting next to each other at a Harvard event honoring the late Globe columnist David Nyhan, and Mooney clearly seemed to be enjoying himself.

• Alex Beam, a veteran lifestyle columnist who was among the Globe’s very few writers who could make you laugh. Beam took a book leave last year and decided during a round of downsizing that he’d rather retire than go back.

In 2003 Beam wrote a column about three writers named Dan Kennedy. I’m DK1, and he describes the dilemma I faced launching a book alongside a get-rich-quick artist (DK3) and a humorist with a McSweeney’s connection (DK2).

“I planned to stay on the deck ’til the ship went down, but managers apparently wanted the budget cut more,” he recently told me via Facebook. “We were all ‘targeted’ for ‘voluntary’ buyouts, and many were happy to have them.”

• Finally, the paper’s terrific editorial cartoonist, Dan Wasserman, has sort of left, but not in a way that will affect readers. He has retired from the Globe, but continues to work out of 135 Morrissey Blvd. as a contract contributor.

“More freedom for me, less overhead for the paper,” Wasserman told me, also via Facebook. “I do a Sunday local cartoon and continue to draw syndicated cartoons that the Globe picks up several times a week.”

More: I’m a political junkie, not a movie buff. But I shouldn’t let pass the opportunity to note that Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic Wesley Morris departed for Grantland recently.

Photo (cc) by Dan Kennedy. Some rights reserved.

Beam and Kennedy, together at last

Boston Globe columnist Alex Beam and I both have book reviews in the new issue of Columbia Magazine. Me first. I wrote about “Bad News: How America’s Business Press Missed the Story of the Century,” edited by Anya Schiffrin, director of the International Media, Advocacy, and Communications program at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs.

The book is a collection of essays and articles that examine whether the media could have done a better job of reporting the disintegration of the American (and world) financial system in advance of the 2008 collapse. My conclusion, based on the evidence Schiffrin presents: yes, but it’s naive to think it would have made all that much difference in the age of “Squawk Box.” We believed what we wanted to believe.

Beam has the fun assignment: “An Accidental Sportswriter,” by Robert Lipsyte, who made his bones at the New York Times yet somehow found himself fending off both Rupert Murdoch and David “Son of Sam” Berkowitz in a later incarnation at the New York Post.

The highlight, at least for me, is Beam’s recounting of Lipsyte’s gently worded but devastating observation of how the sainted A.J. Liebling was so skilled at getting good quotes. I’ll be thinking about that all day.

The Chinese bureau checks in

Boston Globe columnist Alex Beam has a little fun with Media Nation (last item).

Alex Beam’s new alter ego

Never mind Mr. Fussy. Following his snarky take on citizen media today, Boston Globe columnist Alex Beam has been redubbed Mr. Grumpy by the redoubtable Jay Rosen.

Unlike the clueless Timothy Rutten, I suspect Beam is waiting for the hate to roll in like a 6-year-old waiting for Santa. This should be worth watching. Although is it possible that, so far, no comments have been posted to his column?

From the Eliot to J.J. Foley’s

The Boston Globe’s Alex Beam has a must-read column on the seedier side of Boston journalism history.